Category Archives: Update

I’m Back! An Update and Announcement

I’ll be celebrating my fifth wedding anniversary next month. That’s really wild to say “out loud”. In some respects time has flown by. In others, so much has happened it feels like it’s been a lot longer than that. In that time while I’ve played around with various side projects and posted a post here and there I’ve largely just been focusing on family and personal stuff. Now, I feel like I’m finally in a place where I can go back to focusing on writing “full time”. I have a new book series, the foundation/notes for which I’ve been working on for several years now, that I’m about the start writing in earnest; but before I do that I wanted to do something that I’ve been wanting to do for almost a decade now. I wrote my first novel, The Chosen: Rebirthing, with my best friend Mark Ruelius. We worked on that book for close to ten years, but tragically Mark died just before we finished the final draft. I’d made him a promise that I’d get it published, and I wanted to preserve as much of what Mark wrote as I could without any interference, so I self published the novel in two parts (because it was just too expensive to publish otherwise). I’d gone through more edits than I can count, and I tried to make it as professional as I could, but it was our first novel and it showed. I went back and re-read it recently and I was honestly ashamed that I allowed myself to publish it in the state it was in. There were an embarrassing amount of problems I missed because at the time I was too inexperienced and too close to the project to see them, and quite a few places that needed to be outright cut or rewritten that at the time I just couldn’t emotionally bring myself to do without Mark. That said, I still love the story. I love what Mark and I made together. I want to do that story justice, and put the ten years or so of experience I now have into making a version that Mark would be proud of.

That said, I’ve spent the last month going back through and re-editing the entire book with the intention of re-publishing it sometime this year, whenever it’s ready. I currently have several people doing beta-reads for me now, and I’ll be doing another edit pass shortly. The story has been cleaned up quite a bit, expanded in some places, trimmed in others. A lot of grammatical issues that were missed last time are being addressed. The two parts will be put back together into a single novel, as was originally intended. Shawn Skvarna, a professional artist and good friend of Mark’s and mine who did the original cover, will be doing a new cover. My good friend, and professional voice actress, Joi Holloway will be narrating an unabridged audiobook version that’ll be available on Audible along side the Kindle edition. Both versions will also include a never before seen short story that will fill in some backstory on a very important character. As of now I don’t have plans to publish hard copy versions because it’s just too expensive to do given it’s length. I hope to have for you soon the novel that we always intended to deliver, and I hope that you all will give it a chance and enjoy it. I intend to post more regular updates here, along with other posts, maybe some short stories. You know, fun stuff, as I get back into the swing of writing again. I hope you’ll come along with me on the ride.

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Release the Counter Monkeys!

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Our own Shawn Skvarna is with Jesse Arnold at the Baltimore Comic Con to launch Counter Monkey Comics! Jesse is unveiling the first two issues of his new comic Sock Drawer, while Shawn will be signing prints and copies of our books. The first print is the “Authentic Print” and it’s a tribute to our friend Mark Ruelius. Part of the proceeds from the print will be donated to the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation in Mark’s name.

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If you cant make it to the con you can purchase a copy of the print here. The second print is a Con exclusive character poster for Failsafe, which is the comic that Shawn and I are working on.

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Prints will be available for sale in our online store after the con. If you’re in the Baltimore area and are planning on going to the con, be sure to drop in on Shawn and Jesse!

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Quick Update: What We’ve Been Up To

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything and I apologize for that. Shawn and I have both been busy in our respective wheelhouses. Shawn has been gearing up for the Baltimore Comic Con next weekend, where he’ll be selling the print featured above as well as the first character print for our upcoming comic Failsafe. Since that print is a con exclusive I won’t be able to share it with you just yet. I’ve been working hard on a new novel, and I think I’m far enough along in it that I can share a little about it. I’ve written 4 books at this point. (5 if you count both Chosen books). I’ve learned a lot over the process of writing each of those books, and I’ve very proud of what I’ve accomplished. I think they’re all decent stories, and they’ve allowed me to play in different genres and try out different storytelling approaches. I decided that it was time to try my luck with traditional publishing- which means not only writing a 70,000 word novel but also trying to snag an agent and go through the whole fun rejection process.

I have a mystery novel that I’ve got planned out and have about 1/3rd written. I love the idea and I enjoy the story, but it’s not the kind of book I want to write on a regular basis, so I decided to shelve it for now. My favorite genre is urban fantasy. The Dresden Files by Jim Butcher is my favorite series of all time. I really love Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter and Grimnoir novels, Richard Kadrey’s Sandman Slim series, and Kevin Hearne’s Iron Druid novels as well. I’ve really wanted to do something in this genre, and You Only Die Twice was my attempt at testing the waters in a sci-fi setting. This new novel is my take on a more “traditional” urban fantasy series. The protagonist is female, which I felt was important because there aren’t a ton of kick-ass female protagonists in the genre. Most of the books that do feature a female protagonist as the main character tend to degenerate into borderline romance novels with an urban fantasy garnish. That’s not something I’m interested in writing. I wanted to write a legitimately kick ass female main character that people, regardless of gender, would love, but particularly that female readers could be inspired by. I have what I think is a pretty cool magical system in place based around the manipulation of the 5 elements: Earth, Air, Water, Fire, & Spirit, & inspired partially by Avatar: The Last Airbender (the quality cartoon series, not the crappy movie) because they did some really cool, creative things with how those elements (not counting spirit) could be used. I’m also a history buff, and I love it when sci-fi or fantasy stories try to tie history in with their world building and offer alternate explanations for things (Like Stargate, where the Egyptians gods were actually aliens for example), so I try to do that in this series as well. Basically I’m trying to write the kind of book I love to read, and hopefully people will agree with me. My goal is to have the rough draft finished in the next few months with a final draft ready to shop around to agents by the end of the year. I’ll be looking for test readers soon, so if you’re interested shoot me a message and let me know.

Anyway, that’s pretty much where we’re at right now. Once Shawn gets back from the Con and has some much-deserved down time we’ll be starting on getting Failsafe into gear. Our goal is to have the first storyline done in time for the con next year. We’ll have the con print, test sketches, previews, etc. here as we’ve got stuff to share for those who are interested in following the progress.

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