• Archives for April 2013 (8)

First Professional Review of Fallen Spire!

Indiereader.com posted a professional review of Fallen Spire today! Not the stars I was hoping to receive, but the review is positive overall. I clipped a bit from it and pasted it below. You can read the full review here.

This is an enigmatic book, full of symbolism and meaning hidden just underneath the surface. The author is a fine descriptive writer, and manages to portray a dystopian future or alternate universe (it’s rather unclear which) with disturbing force. The world portrayed is complicated, intriguingly different from and yet similar to our own, and deserves even greater exploration than the author devotes to it. The characters, plot and context are multifaceted, mysterious, and revealed to us in passing glimpses, intriguing the reader and leading us to go on in hopes of learning more.

Writing about writing?

Every time I sit down to write this post I spin myself around in circles, and make myself dizzy with the task. I changed the title so many times that to count the versions would be ridiculous. To argue the merits of one title or another? Absurd.

The problem is that I don’t know how to write about writing. The request to write about writing seems reasonable at first glance, but a little more inspection reveals something odd about it. Consider the analogies; ask a sculptor to sculpt about sculpting. What does that mean? Ask a painter to paint how to paint. The request seems silly because that isn’t how we explain art to one another. Instead, we break down art and Wordsreframe it and reorganize it into language. Words for oils, words for materials, words for sounds. Writers, critics, and fans all share our experiences of art with words. My point is that the creation of music is different from the discussion of music; writing a story different from sharing its critical analysis. The skills are not the same. Still, I’m here and I want to share.

So, what can I write about writing? I can tell you that I am passionate about it. I can tell you that each day I return to a given page I discover something new in my reaction to it that drives me to make changes. I tether myself down to a keyboard and then I throw soft, new, sharp, jagged, and rusted words at the page until it looks the way I think it should. Then I read it and see how I react. I don’t stop re-writing and re-reading until the emotion I’m striving to express is conjured inside of me consistently. Inevitably, I fail because I change. But the hope is to find a combination that stays true the longest, or unfolds in new meaningful ways when I return to it. I want my audience to feel something, maybe not what I felt, but something strong. The hope is for connection. That’s the writing, that’s me.

What I’m really trying to say with this post is that I love discussing art. I want to share what various artists have done to me and for me in my life. But I’m not sure I can do better than sharing my own art… what have all of those amazing people done to me, how have the affected me? They made me an author. I’m eternally grateful for it. I strive to improve my writing as a a compliment to all of them. I want to show them what they’ve done for me.

Author’s Tips:)

So, I’m having some fun reading tips for writing. I’ve honestly never looked out into the world of authors for tips from them directly… it’s interesting. Of course, I have heard tips from time to time, and when I was first trying to find a publisher for Evening Breezes more than a decade ago, there were tips everywhere including a Writer’s Digest guide that I’d purchased at the time. Nevertheless, all I took from it was that every author had his or her own idea about how to write. The only rule that held true–and I feel still holds true–is that you have to write and keep writing. The rest is well, it’s up to you.

I guess that would be my tip to aspiring authors: Tips, like all writing, exist to provoke thought; read, think, assimilate, think, reject, think, experiment, think, discover.

Check out these tips from some of the greats! I enjoyed thinking about them.

Neil Gaiman’s 8
Kurt Vonnegut’s 8

More can be found at Brain Pickings–where I lifted them from in the first place.

Writing for a living

Until recently, I had an amazing job as a game designer at Cryptic Studios. Everyday, I went to work with some of the most talented and intelligent people I’ve ever met. I did my best to create unique and interesting content for the team, but when I went home I was writing.

I published my first novel, Spire, in 2011 and entered it into the indieReader.com Discovery contest. It received an Award for Science Fiction the following summer which completely blew my mind. Sure, I wanted to win but my expectation was only to have some professional feedback from the industry–the panel of judges consisted entirely of legit agents, publishers, and critics. Anyway–Spire flippin’ won!–and I doubled the effort on the sequel. But that extra push lasted only a short while… I felt I was spread too thin between design and writing.

By the end of 2012, working both as a writer and a game designer was too much. Design was great, but I was staying in it more for the people than anything else; I really liked my co-workers and the company, and I designed and implemented for them. But, I didn’t share the connection to the game anymore. Maybe I was burnt out? I don’t know. Cryptic provided the most family-oriented and personal-time-respecting environment that I’d had in the industry… if I was burnt out, it was my fault. Regardless of the reason, I was losing touch with design and more passionate than ever about my next novel.

I decided that I had an opportunity to make writing a career if I poured myself into it completely. So, with the blessings and support of my friends, I left to pursue it.

It’s been difficult. It’s been scary. Still, I made the right choice. I can’t imagine what it would be like to live without trying. I have to try, that’s just who I am. After all, what’s the alternative? Living with “the wonder” for the rest of my life? Or feeding myself the deception that I “could have been?” No way. It would be much harder to live with myself admitting that I was too scared to try. So, I gave up a few comforts and security for a chance at a dream. You don’t have to tell me the odds, it’s worth it for the experience.

In the time since I left design, I finished the sequel to Spire and published the novella I wrote fifteen years ago, Evening Breezes. Both are entered in the indieReader 2013 Discovery Awards. I’m working on my fourth novel and looking for work to support my efforts. And don’t get me wrong, I don’t want to be a poor and starving artist–the Donate button is there for a reason!–but, I’m going to see this through, I’m going to know.


I posted permanent links on the site for downloading PDFs of both Evening Breezes and Spire. Now you can download both the novella and the science-fiction novel for FREE!!

Please feel free to check them out and pass them on to friends. I don’t have a donation button [UPDATE: I have one now!], but if you enjoy either, you can always purchase them from Amazon or a variety of other e-retailers.

You can download either below, too:)

Download the Spire.pdf

Download the Evening Breezes.pdf

Added Short Stories!

Took some time today with my friends, and in particular, Kylie, to add and edit some of my short stories to this site. You can find all of them through the navigation menu at the top of this blog or by clicking here. I’ll continue to add short stories as often as I can! Enjoy the stories!

I’m a fan, what do I say?

It’s crazy to think it, but there might be so much information available on celebrities that when you meet one, you have nothing to say:).

Seriously, I recently had a brief back-and-forth with Hugh Howey over Twitter–he’s awesome–and I felt stifled by all the information I’d received through various internet channels. Interviews, websites, and blogs have a ton of information, and I haven’t viewed all of them. But that’s the thing, I don’t want to ask him interview questions, I just want to strike up a conversation. I don’t want to ask him about success or about how he became a writer even though all of that is very interesting. I don’t even want to ask about what he’s going to write next, or that I’m excited to read his latest book. (You can find the title yourself, you’re connected.)

What I want to do is shoot the shit with him. Based on my interpretation of some of his writing, writing-style, and one of his interviews, I think I like the way he, uh, thinks.

Anyway, I guess I’m opening up this post for the philosophical discussion about connecting with people when you know them only indirectly, or maybe not at all. My contention is that you just go for it. So, I’m just going to ask him what his favorite flavor of ice cream is or something, and see what happens:). <=Okay, maybe not. But you see my point.


Notes from the bag…

I recently received a bag of old notebooks and found some tasty little bits of writing.

I found some straight up academic stuff, essays from forever ago that I’ll post in the Shorts page, but also I found some rambling, meandering thoughts that appear in the margins and cryptic notes to my future self. I still write notes like that to myself today; little blurbs about how I believe that the way I’m changing will make me forget what is important.

Basically, the notebooks were per course at a couple of different universities and culinary school. For each class you can see easily as I looked through the notes there was a clear pattern in each; I start strong, clear lettering, healthy and copious notes and gradually deteriorate until there are random lines on the pages. Probably not unlike most people’s notes:). Some of the notes though, get pretty nutty and I thought it would be fun to share.

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