First Day of Fall Book Blast

Release Day

Now available for fans of Thor: Ragnarok, Masters of the Universe, and Napoleon Dynamite, a new sword & sorcery saga with chuckles guaranteed... 

eBook        Paperback

Long ago, before the days of recorded history, during the Hyperbolean Age of a much younger Earth, AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian roamed the ancient volcanic lands in search of fame and fortune. These are his somewhat heroic tales, sure to enthrall the most adventurous of readers! 

When AGROTHARN learns that his long-lost witch-mother is still alive, he sets off on a perilous journey with his loyal triceratops to find her. Along the way, they meet a conniving trickster, a vengeful T-Rex, and a bunch of bloodthirsty aliens from a distant planet. Nonstop adventures take AGROTHARN deep into space and back through time as he unravels new truths about the reality he's always taken for granted. What he discovers will forever change his life, setting him on a new path to rewrite the past and forge a glorious future for one and all!

August/September Update

How'd it get to be September already? August was a bit of a blur, but I managed to finish edits on the second AGROTHARN novel, and both books are ready for pre-order. I also started drafting Book 3, but now that the school year's in full swing, it could be a little while before I complete it. Tentative goal: December 1. Even more tentative goal: have it ready for pre-order by Christmas.

I'm writing a chapter a day, which is doable since the chapters are only about 800 words. As with the first two books, I'll be aiming for 100 chapters in total, ~80,000 words. What's it about? So glad you asked. I'm planning to have that figured out by December 1.

Of course I have a general idea of the major plot points, but finding my way from one to the next is where the real fun happens. I get to surprise myself and eventually (hopefully) the reader as well. I want to enjoy each step of this process, and so far, that's what I'm doing.

Box Sets

I've got a couple of new collections available this week. Some might call them box sets or boxed sets, but since there aren't any real boxes involved, maybe they're bundles? No idea. But I had fun assembling the 3D covers, which didn't turn out half bad:

First up were The Inspector Broekstein Mysteries, which include all three of the novels I released earlier this summer. Starting with a free template I found online, I used GIMP to layer the background art from the first book onto the front cover and the spines from the three paperbacks onto the side. It's not fancy, but neither is it an eyesore, so that's a win.

Then I moved on to Charlie Madison, P.I. - The Complete Case Files. This one was a little more work, since I had to start by creating the first book, The Unusual Clients, which collects three prequel novellas. I put together the paperback version, and I updated The Suprahuman Secret and The Gifted Ones so I could use their spines as well. And, like the Broekstein set, I used art from the first book for the front cover.

650 pages of humorous whodunnits, and 900 pages of future-noir detective stories. Perfect for binge-reading on a lazy summer afternoon, don't you think?

Novel #21

The first draft is done! Took me forty-six days to write a little over 80K, trouncing my previous record of 54K in sixty days. Not that it's a competition or anything; I just like to set goals as a way to motivate myself, and I'm always looking for opportunities to beat my own personal bests.

Unlike the first book, this one wasn't smooth sailing all the way through. Sure, there were plenty of enjoyable moments along the way, but I had a lot of days when I couldn't see the value in what I'd written until twenty-four hours later. Am I my own worst critic? Yup. But sequels are challenging, regardless. You've got to keep things fresh while remaining consistent with the original, and you've got to amp things up large-scale while maintaining those subtle character arcs that really make or break the story.

For now, I'm happy with how it turned out, and I know it'll be even better after edits.

Home Stretch

It's been thirty-five days since I started drafting the AGROTHARN sequel, so time for an update. Averaging ~1,700 words a day, I've made it to the 60K mark with about 20K left to go. I've got the next six chapters mapped out and a general idea of what the finish line will look like. Can't ask for more than that. I mean I could, but part of the fun of flying by the seat of my pants is connecting the dots as I go. And then cleaning up any messy inconsistencies during the editing phase.

In other news, I'm working on combining the Inspector Broekstein Mysteries into a box set now that all three books are available. I've downloaded GIMP to help with the 3D cover (since I can't skew images on Canva), and I'll start compiling the manuscripts into one file tomorrow. Hoping to have it published by Monday.

As far as the paperback updates go, I'm planning to work on Those Who Wait next and have it ready by the end of the month. And paint the laundry room. But not at the same time.

A Third of the Way

Last month ended up being fairly productive on the AGROTHARN front, and I managed to draft an average of two chapters a day. So now I'm a little over a third of the way through the sequel, and if I can write two to three chapters every day this month, I should have it finished by August 1. Considering the momentum I'm riding at the moment, that seems like an achievable goal. 

I don't usually think of my novels in terms of acts, but if this book were to have three acts, I'd be well into the second act at this point. That feels about right, since the characters and conflict have been established, and now the protagonists have to figure out what the heck they're going to do about it all—while I make their lives more and more difficult along the way. 

And to keep things interesting, I'm using the same random story cubes for each chapter that I did in the first book. For example, I had to use the words sword, spoon, ship, and direction in Chapter 35 of Book 1, and today I'll have to somehow use the same four words in Chapter 35 of Book 2. Good thing one of the characters is a crazy T-Rex who speaks nonsense half the time.

June Update

So far so good this month. Final edits are done on the first AGROTHARN book, and the new, improved paperback version of BackTracker turned out well. Now all I've got on my writing plate is the AGROTHARN sequel. Three chapters in, and things have been...interesting.

I started out with a pretty good idea how the story would open, picking up right after the end of Book 1 with all of our characters reunited, but once I sat down to do the actual writing, I found that I needed to make some major changes. I'd already planned to bring in a bigger bad guy, and I was going to start with that, but the story needed even more conflict. 

I had to break up the band. But without them knowing why they were broken up. And without a clue as to how they've ended up where they are, lost and alone. Evil sorcery is at work, of course, courtesy of the aforementioned big baddie, but nobody knows that yet. (Just me. Mwahaha...)

So now the goal is for the characters to find each other, identify the evil sorcerer who so cruelly divided them and cursed them with memory lapses, then unite against this horrible villain and bring his demise. All in a day's work for AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian & Company. But what if the villain turns out to be a long-lost relative with justifiable reasons for his actions? Hmmm...

Feels Like Summer

We've had four days in a row of 90-degree warmth here in West Michigan, and while it may not officially be summer until the 21st, our current weather begs to differ. 

Ever since I started teaching, way back at the turn of the century, summers have meant a change of pace. I ran an eight-week day camp for a few summers, then switched gears to teach guitar lessons, and then I made a habit of writing full-time from June through August. 

But now that we own a house, certain projects are vying for my attention. So I'll need to carve out writing time in between all the painting and yard work and whatever else rears its head. Good thing subbing for the past three years has trained me to be flexible and write on command. I've learned to write whenever I have the opportunity, not just when inspiration strikes.

This month I'm reading through the first AGROTHARN novel, making final edits as I go along, and getting reacquainted with the style and pace. I'm planning to start the sequel by mid-June and hopefully have it drafted by the end of the summer. That seems doable for an 80K manuscript.

In other news, I've joined Bookfunnel to participate in some multi-author promotions, and I'm hoping they'll help spread the word about my new mystery series. We'll see how it goes. I've also decided to pull half of my wide-selling books and distribute them through KDP Select, giving Kindle Unlimited another shot. And, last but not least, I'll be revamping the paperback version of BackTracker.

June goals recorded? Check. Now to make them happen—without getting too distracted by that zero-gravity lounge chair on the back deck calling my name...

New Release(s)

This month has been all about those edits—and eBook formatting, and paperback formatting, and cover assembly for the paperbacks. But the hard work has paid off, and now, at long last, the Inspector Broekstein trilogy is ready to greet the masses. 

Book 1, Murders at the Manor, will be available tomorrow; Book 2, Lives on the Line, will be released on June 20; and Book 3, Whispers in the Woods, will be out July 18. This is my first time rapid-releasing a series without a publisher's help, and it's my first venture into the cozy mystery / amateur sleuth genre. So, we'll see how it goes. 

I like to think of this series as a post-WWII homage to Agatha Christie with a quirky protagonist and plenty of situational humor. I hope you enjoy these peculiar murder mysteries!
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