Coming Soon – The Powers That Be

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Earlier this year, I was in an anthology entitled WOOL Gathering. I am lucky enough to be in a writer’s group called LOOW. We have all published stories set in Hugh Howey’s WOOL Universe and have stayed connected even as most of us have moved on to writing our own brand of fiction. WOOL Gathering served as a nice collection of short stories set in (and around) the silos and all the proceeds went towards the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program.

Cover3We wanted to keep writing together, so we planned another anthology — this time with the theme of superpowers, which will be called The Powers That Be. There are nine fantastic stories inside with most of the same authors who wrote for our first collection and a few new faces as well. On the right is the cover, designed by LOOW member David Adams.

Here is a list of the stories to be included in the collection:

  • Cassie Dreams of Flying by Carol Davis
  • Lucky Chance by Wes Davies
  • Repose by Thomas Robins
  • Who Will Save Supergirl? by David Adams
  • Yankari by Ann Christy
  • Hotbox Runner by Paul K. Swardstrom & Will Swardstrom
  • We’re Coming For You by Logan Thomas Snyder
  • Faster by Samuel Peralta
  • To Sacrifice A King by Will Swardstrom

In addition to a great line-up of stories, Ernie Lindsey (author of the amazing book Super) agreed to write the foreword. If you like stories about superheroes and those gifted with powers, this is the collection for you.

But, by far the best thing about this book is where the money is going. Just like with WOOL Gathering, we’ve agreed to send the proceeds to someplace else besides our pockets. After recently adopting our son, my wife and I have spent more than enough time at the hospital to see what amazing work the doctors, nurses, and support staff do on a daily basis. Even more than that, the children who visit the or even live at the hospital are heroes in my book for their courage and will to fight on.

With that in mind, we’ve agreed to donate the proceeds to Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis, Indiana, specifically the Sickle Cell Clinic to help the patients and families cope and live with this disease.

The book is currently out for formatting, but once it is back from that, we should have a release date soon. I’m really excited for people to read this book and for the hospital to see some much needed money to help people cope with Sickle Cell Anemia.

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A Few Items…

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Just a few things to let you know about today: 

— The audiobook of Ant Apocalypse is done! My narrator, Sean Lenhart, did a fantastic job evoking the comedic horror of my short story. I really enjoyed listening to it (when I wasn’t utterly creeped out by the words I, myself, wrote). It is on sale at Amazon.com with a link for iTunes coming later. To celebrate, I’ve marked the Kindle version of the story down to FREE today only. That’s right — FREEEEEE!! ANTS!!! Then download the audiobook and enjoy it together!

— My book Dead Sleep has been a Countdown Deal this week. Still just 99 cents through the weekend for U.S. Amazon customers. (I’ll take care of the UK readers later — I promise!) If you never picked this up, now would be a great time. A total of 19 reviews on Amazon and 16 of those are 5-star. 

— The next book in the trilogy, Dead Sight, is now a Countdown Deal, beginning today! You can pick up both full-length novels for less than 2 bucks for a couple days! I wrote the bulk of this book in November, 2013 (NaNoWriMo) and it has 10 reviews — all with a five-star rating. People are loving it and you can get it super-cheap right now!

— I’m done bragging on myself, but I can’t leave this without mentioning my buddy Logan Thomas Snyder also has a Countdown Deal of his WOOL series The Disappeared right now for just 99 cents. Great stuff. 

 

Silo Charity Anthology Announcement!

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I haven’t released anything new for your Kindle in a little while and the next thing with my name on it will also have a bunch of other names as well – and it’s all for charity!

Back last summer, after I’d written The Veil, I joined a group of writers who had also written WOOL fan-fiction stories. This has been one of the best things for me – a group that I can talk to about my writing, voicing frustrations, and bouncing ideas off of. The group itself has changed a little since I first became a member, but we’ve done a great job of supporting each other and pushing each other.

All of us can directly tie our success to Hugh Howey and his WOOL universe. As a tribute to Hugh and a way to give back, we’ve decided to team up to release an anthology of WOOL short stories. All of the profits will go towards the NaNoWriMo Young Writer’s Program as we try to help the younger versions of ourselves to get writing before they get to our age and wonder what happened to their dreams. Just kidding…sort of.

Between us, we have 20 separate titles set in one or another of Hugh Howey’s silos (including a few omnibus titles) and I am ridiculously honored to share pages with them. In fact, I have just two Silo stories out – a pittance compared to a few of my comrades.

Joining me in this anthology will be: Ann Christy, Carol Davis, W.J. Davies, Thomas Robins, and Fredric Shernoff.

In case you aren’t familiar with all of them, here are their Silo works:

ImageAnn Christy’s Silo 49 series has garnered a lot of attention. Again, finding a nod to a silo from WOOL, Ann took Silo 49 and ran with it, creating a rich world full of memorable characters. She recently released the third book called Silo 49: Dark Til Dawn.

ImageCarol Davis has six books set in the silos –two silo horror stories – They Kill and They Feed and four other (including the omnibus) in the Rebel State series. The Rebel State books are fairly unique among WOOL stories in that they begin at the beginning – right after humanity was forced underground. The omnibus takes the first three books and puts them together and the title also hints at more on the way: Silo Saga: Rebel State: The Year One Trilogy.

ImageW.J. Davies is really the WOOL fanfiction pioneer among our group. While he wasn’t the first to use Hugh Howey’s silos for himself, his books really were the first to gain popularity and probably helped inspire Kindle Worlds in the first place. His books The Runner, The Diver, and The Watcher are all combined into the Silo Submerged Trilogy. A fantastic look into Silo 35 and into the outside world, Davies crafted a fine story.

ImageThomas Robins is the author of a collection of Silo poetry and three separate Silo stories – The Pawn, The Bishop, and The Rook, his latest, published in December.

ImageFredric Shernoff holds the distinction of having the first Silo story included in Kindle Worlds with his book Angels of the Earth. You can find the great little detective story here.

ImageAnd then, of course, I’ve written two Silo stories – The Veil and the follow-up Behind The Veil, that I published in November.

Almost all of us have also written outside of the Silo as well…and some pretty fine work as well. I’m totally stoked to be included in an anthology with such a great set of authors. The as-of-yet unnamed anthology is scheduled for mid-February. Once we have a title, a cover, and the particulars on each of the stories, I’ll write up another blog post, letting everyone know where and when they can get it.

NaNoWri-Whoa

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This has been an interesting month. 
November is National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) and I endeavored to participate this year. Only really hearing about it for the first time last year, I decided I might as well give it a go with the sequel to my debut novel Dead Sleep, that will be titled Dead Sight

When I wrote Dead Sleep, I started in January and went through June. Some days I wrote a lot and with a flurry, but other days went by without anything being written. In fact, there was a 3-4 week time period in March and April that I just put the book aside completely. My work as a teacher required my focus at the time, so I put it on a shelf. When I got back to it, I was determined to finish, but I had forgotten so much. I had forgotten a bit of the tone of the novel, certain attributes of characters that I had set up on a whim, and other random aspects of the book. A huge portion of my time in April, May, and June was simply going back over what I’d already written and figuring out how not to drop my characters into a gigantic plot hole. 

For that purpose, NaNoWriMo has been an amazing success. I’ve been able to juggle more and multiple characters with various locations and I haven’t lost my sanity! My own personal memory can go back 30 days, so I am quite able to recall what I wrote not only yesterday but also two weeks ago. 

Those that argue that this month teaches poor writing habits may think they have a point, but for me, I’ve learned I need to write a little everyday. I did miss one day this month, but I’ve written at least a few hundred words each day besides that with some days going upwards of 3,000 words. 

I have enjoyed the month and learning about myself and about my writing ability over the course of the month. I’m not as prolific as some other authors (cough, cough Hugh Howey) but I still am impressed with myself. 

Right now, I’ve got about 2,000 words a day to finish up by Saturday. I don’t know if the story itself will be finished, but I should hit the 50,000 word count goal set forth my NaNoWriMo. If all goes well, I’ll have a new novel out by spring. 

Down below is my current NaNo chart — right short of 42K. 

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Sneak peak at DEAD SIGHT

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For NaNoWriMo, I’ve been working on Dead Sight, my sequel to Dead Sleep. I just passed 20,000 words. I decided to reward my readers with a sneak peek of the novel. If you’ve read Dead Sleep, this will make a little more sense, but you may get a sense of how this novel will operate. I’ve had fun writing this one so far and I’m hoping to continue my NaNoWriMomentum and pound out a lot more this week. 

Well, without further ado, the Prologue to Dead Sight. (Bear in mind this is very rough and NO ONE has seen this yet except myself. I hold every right to change or discard anything you see before the book is finished). 

 

PROLOGUE

Thomas Hendrikson braced himself against the door frame between the dining room and kitchen of his home knowing his time was limited.

Within a few years, he would be sent off to war. War hadn’t yet been declared by the United States government, but it was only a matter of time. The signs were on the wall each time the newspaper came and with every radio broadcast. If that wasn’t enough, Hendrikson knew that once the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor in five months, the U.S. would be thrust into the war it had tried to avoid since Hitler began rampaging all over Europe.

For Thomas, death was almost certainty to meet him head-on in late December 1944. On a muddy battlefield with a gun in one hand and a letter to his wife in the other, he would breathe his last. When that moment came, the epiphany he felt while in his Midwestern kitchen wouldn’t matter at all.  There was almost nothing he could do to avoid his fate. The fear – not of the unknown, but of what was certain – controlled Thomas. It had entered through the backdoor and drifted through the house until it found him, about to enter the kitchen after a long day in the fields. It was fear that kept him rooted to the dark-stained oak floors as sweat stained his white, button-down, cotton shirt in the July heat.

Thomas’ wife, Julia, had left that morning to see her mother in Hurdsfield. Julia and Sue Ellen, their two year old daughter, packed for a week away from home. His mother-in-law was just 10 miles away, but he didn’t expect them back for seven days – possibly more. He didn’t mind Eleanor White, his mother-in-law, but he had other things to do. As a farmer in the middle of North Dakota, there was always work to be done. Even with rain on the horizon, there was plenty for Thomas to keep himself busy at the farm.

Taking a step back, Thomas found the desk in the adjoining room. Julia had always wanted the dining room to be just that – a dining room, with the clean formal table, lacy tablecloth and china cabinet. She’d put all that in the room, but Thomas insisted on keeping a desk in the corner for his personal space. Their home was spacious for a North Dakota farmhouse, but he liked to be near the kitchen while Julia was cooking. She didn’t like it, but she allowed it.

Rummaging through a few bills and invoices stacked together on top of the desk, Thomas found some blank sheets of precious white paper. Nearby, a half-sharpened pencil was ready for his use. He grabbed it while the thoughts that were tormenting his mind were still at the surface, ready to boil over. He needed to get these memories – his memories…or is it his future?… on paper before he forgot it all for good. Some of the images he saw were clear, recognizable – understandable, but most of the thoughts swimming around in his brain were beyond any comprehension he could muster. Thomas had always strived to be a progressive farmer, including the latest technology and techniques on the farm, but what he saw – what he knew to be true – was so unbelievable that the city folk of the 1940’s wouldn’t even understand his visions.

Without Julia on hand to nag him about cleaning up before sitting down to the table, Thomas straddled a chair at the solid cherry table in the dining room. He and Julia had purchased the immense table the year before in Fargo on a trip to see her sister. If Julia had been in the kitchen, she would have yelled at him to sit at the desk. That’s what he’d put it in there for after all. Somehow he knew that he’d need more space than the surface area the desk could provide. 

Thomas Hendrikson collected his thoughts. He was used to farming. The consistency of the annual plantings and harvests. The daily grind of milking the cows, feeding the livestock, and checking on his fields. Wheat, corn, barley and sunflowers. He tried out some oats last year, but it didn’t go as well as the salesman promised, so he went back to the basics and was determined to stay with them as long as they worked for him. He knew what worked in the fields of North Dakota and what didn’t.

This? The words and images that flashed through his head were foreign to him. He had no concept of how to handle this. He didn’t plant these seeds. He didn’t know how to harvest this crop.

All he could do – all he could even think to do – was to put pencil to paper and hope to rid himself of the confusion rattling around in his head.

But, when he finally had the pencil at the top left corner of the paper, he was at a loss. How would he start? What would he say? He knew the words he would write tonight and the next few days would affect his great-grandson and hopefully any great-great-grandchildren he might have. To ensure the continuation of the family, he began to write:

 

Dear Jackson Ellis,

At some point in time, you will be lost. You will not know what to do. The future will be blocked from you and the contents of this letter and the subsequent writings will be vitally important to your survival. As I write to you, the date on my calendar is July 14, 1941.

My name is Thomas Jackson Hendrikson and I am your great-grandfather. I already know that I will be long dead by the time you read this. You see, I share the same ability as you – I can see the future. I’ve known about my ability for some time, but only tonight was my destiny revealed to me. 

My future is destined to end on a battlefield in Europe in a few years, but your destiny is still wide open. I don’t want these letters to end up in the wrong hands, so after receiving this, there will be some tasks required to find the others. I believe in you, after all, you are my great-grandson. You are the only hope of keeping the family legacy.

Here is what you need to know right now…

 

Thomas Hendrikson wrote deep into the night, stopping only when the radio in the living room stopped playing its nightly variety of music. Waking up the next morning, he paused to eat breakfast and then continued, a man on a mission, possessed of the need to protect the child of his own grand-daughter. He continued writing, using up all of the plain white paper in the house. When that supply was exhausted, he used the scraps of paper left on the desk – old invoices, receipts and bills. Somehow his penchant for saving anything and everything over the years came in handy when the future most depended on it.

After that, he sealed the envelopes and made the arrangements that would need to be carried out over 70 years in the future. He couldn’t control the future – it was out of his hands – but the farmer knew he’d done what he could for Jackson Ellis, his great-grandson. 

NaNoWriMo — Five Days In

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I’d never heard of NaNoWriMo until probably about this time last year. I remember reading how Hugh Howey was writing Third Shift during November, but I couldn’t figure out why he would cram all that writing into just one month. I kept seeing this nonsense phrase over and over — “NaNoWriMo.” It took me a little while, but once I figured it out, I was intrigued. 

Writing a novel had always been a lifetime goal and now I find out that thousands of people write one in A MONTH?! Unfathomable. Incomprehensible. Impossible for me, I thought. 

Well, fast forward a few months and I end up starting my first novel. The process took from January to May to finish, but in retrospect, I certainly took a lot of time just putting it off and obsessing over details. The more I wrote over the summer, finishing a few short stories and novellas, I realized I am certainly capable of writing a novel in a month. With November looming, I decided I would write the follow-up to my debut novel this month. I’d written a short synopsis and a bit of a prologue back in July, but completely re-wrote it and started over on November 1. 

As of this writing, I have 9,882 words in the bank. I will go over 10K later today. So far, so good. 

My first novel was 67,000 words and I anticipate this one will be about the same size — perhaps a little shorter. Since NaNoWriMo has a 50K goal, I am shooting for that right now. 

ImageThe book is called DEAD SIGHT and will be a direct sequel to DEAD SLEEP. The story continues the fight of Jack and Kristina against her former employers/controllers simply called The Company. Jack has the ability to see into his future and Kristina can die and come back to life thanks to nanobots coursing through her veins. I’m really liking how this one has started and look forward each day to my time to write and add to it. 

I got nearly 9,000 written in the first three days knowing there would be some days this week where writing would be a challenge. I suppose that is part of it — writing when you can. 

I no longer doubt my ability to finish a novel in a month and instead savor the challenge to do so. 

What about you? Anyone else doing NaNoWriMo and want to share?