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.