A Free Necromancer

A very Merry Christmas to everyone!

It makes me weep that there are some out there who would take offense to that little bit of well-wishing.  Well to them I say PHOOEY!  It’s bloody Christmas time, so suck it up!


I now pause while some people collapse from apoplexy.


Ok, now that we’re through with that, a bit of news:


The Necromancer’s Lair is free on Amazon until midnight on Sunday, the 23rd.  So if you’ve got the hankering for zombies, an evil wizard, and a heroic duo of adventurers, go download a copy.  It’s great fun, and a bargain at the price!  🙂  Plus, it includes the first two chapters from Glimmer Vale, a nice little sample if ever I heard of one.

So go on over and take a look.  I think you’ll like it.

The Necromancer’s Lair

It’s been a long time since I announced a new publication.

But that’s what I’m doing today.


I wrote The Necromancer’s Tower as my 4th Quarter entry to this year’s Writers of the Future contest.  That is, in itself, a funny story.  Well, sort of funny.  The 4th quarter in the WotF contest ends 30 September, which coincides with the Federal government’s fiscal year.  I’m sure it’s just a coincidence.  Anyway, there I was, just 3 months ago, approaching the deadline.  It was September 30th, early morning.  And I had just crossed 16,000 words in the story.

And I knew I was screwed.

Because the WotF limit is 17,000 words, and I was going to go over, and I did not have the time to start and finish another story before the deadline.  Well well, what should I do?

I’m not sure what I should have done.  What I did is chop the story to the shortest ending I could manage and submit it.  Final word count came to just over 16,900 words.  It was within the limits, so what the hell?  Go for it!

Of course I knew I would not fare very well with the story, since the ending ended up being so abrupt.  So when the results from WotF came back last week with a flat-out rejection, I was neither surprised nor disappointed.  In fact, I was a bit elated.  Because I know this is a great story that just needed a proper ending to make it worthy.  So after getting some feedback from a friend about it, I re-wrote the ending.  Or rather, I added parts into the ending that I didn’t put in originally, because I had run out of room and time.  But now time and room is not a factor, so…

The Necromancer’s Lair is now complete.  And up for sale!

I have to say, not only is Necromancer a great story but it is, I think, the best cover I’ve ever made.  Of course I can’t claim all the credit for the cover.  This time, I solicited advice from friends, the Oregon Writer’s Network (if you don’t know OWN, it’s an email and yahoo group for writers who have participated in Dean and Kris‘ workshops in Oregon), and the Kindleboards.  They all gave some great feedback on my earlier iterations (no I don’t intend to show them), and pointed me toward better art and fonts.  Which led me to….this:


I think this cover kicks some serious arse.  But then, I could be deluded.  🙂

Anyway, The Necromancer’s Lair is now live on Amazon Kindle, for $2.99.

A vile Necromancer has been harassing the populace: raiding graves and accosting the living until they all live in fear. And so Lord Hadley posted a bounty – 500 crowns and a title to whomever can rid the land of the Necromancer’s blight.

Many have attempted to penetrate the Necromancer’s Lair.

None have returned.

Gareth intends to change that. Along with his sworn man, Hatherle, he takes up the Lord’s mission. But the Necromancer is master of the dead, and his servants are many and fearsome. It will take all of Gareth’s skill and courage to enter the Necromancer’s Lair, and even that may not be enough to bring victory.

Sounds great, right?

Yes, I said it’s just up on Amazon.  At least for now.  You see, I decided to try KDP Select out again.  You may recall I tried KDP-S out last December, with So You Want To Be A Dragon Slayer… .  I had limited success.  Well I’ve thought about it and realized I had a very limited backlist when I tried promoting with Dragon last year.  And I did not have Dragon linking to any other books, either.

Well this time, I included the first two chapters of Glimmer Vale at the back of Necromancer, with links to this site, my mailing list (and seriously why have you people not signed up for my mailing list yet?  Git ‘r done here, will ya?), and links to buy Glimmer Vale and my other books.  So maybe it will work out better.  At the least maybe it gets me a bit more visibility.  Even if it doesn’t, it’s only 90 days.  And no matter what, I’ll be taking Necromancer global at the end of the 90 day period.  So really, what can it hurt?

So yeah…go check out Necromancer.  I think you’ll like it.  🙂

And Merry Christmas!


A Look Ahead

So I’ve been thinking about the new year to come.  Can’t imagine why, right?  🙂  In doing so, I went back and read Dean‘s posts from way back in 2008 about setting goals for the new year.  In reading this post in particular, I realized how and where I went wrong with my goals this year.

This year, I set specific goals.  Sort of.  But I did not set myself up for success in the way I set them.  This year, I set out quarterly goals.  And then, of course, after the second quarter, I totally failed to asses them.  That’s a different matter owing partly to being busy doing things like moving and having children, but also owing to (here’s the brutal truth) embarrassment at not doing as well as I wanted to.

Dean’s post smacked me about the face, and for that matter the head and shoulders.  Because…duh!…he talks about setting realistic goals and then breaking them down into small pieces that you can easily make.  And by achieving those small sub-goals you suddenly find yourself achieving the big one, too.


I knew that already.

I just failed to apply that simple principle to myself.  So for 2013, I’m changing that.

I sat down the other day and thought about what I want to accomplish next year.  My first year of writing, 2011, I cranked out just south of 230,000 words.  I don’t have the final tally for this year, but it will be south of 200,000.  I really hate to have come in so low, but there it is.  I have 4.5 years until I can retire from the Navy, and I have NO intention of working for anyone else ever again.  Now, I could go and start some other business.  And who knows, I just may.  I have a few ideas.  But I also think it would be quite fun to just do this writing gig.  So that means I need to crank out a lot of stories – get a lot of practice – between now and June 2017.  They say there’s a million words of crap to go through before you really start to get good.  At the end of this year I’ll be somewhere between 300,000 and 400,000 words done.  That leaves 700,000-ish before I hit that mark, and finally stop sucking.  Or something.

So what does that mean for next year?

Well, how about 300,000 words.  That’s a nice round number.  And if I can do that consistently I’ll hit the million word mark in a bit less than 2.5 years.  Leaving two whole years of awesomeness before I retire to really get things rolling well.  Or something like that.  So 300,000 words it is.  🙂

Now, how to break that down.  I could just do like I did this year and say that’s about 25,000 words a month.  But that’s not granular enough.  A weekly goal is better.  So 300,000 words divided by 52 weeks is a bit under 6,000 words per week.  But geez that makes for no margin of error, no possibility of just taking some time off.  That’s simply a plan that’s ripe for failure.

So here’s the deal.  In 2013, I’m setting a goal of 7,500 words per week for 40 weeks, or 300,000 words on the year.  I’ve already developed a spreadsheet to track my progress on a weekly and annual basis, and I’m super-psyched to git ‘r done.

The beauty of that is I’ve built into the plan 12 weeks – 3 whole months, or an entire quarter of the year – with no writing whatsoever.  Now, that’s not going to happen.  But there will be many weeks where I don’t meet 7,500 words.  Or maybe not so many.  Really, that comes down to just over 3.5 days a week if I can crank out 2,000 words in a day.  And I totally can: at my normal writing speed, that’s about an hour and a half of actually cranking out words.  NOT hard to do in a given day, if I make it a priority.  So, tracking the goal on a weekly basis, I may just blow the entire thing out of the water.  If I do 7,500 words a week for 45 weeks, the total will be 337,500.  50 weeks, 375,000.  That would be pretty nice.  🙂

So that’s the main goal.

Of course, sheer word count alone is not necessarily going to cut the mustard.  So I’ve got a few more specific things I’d like to accomplish.

  1. First, I want to crank out 2 more Glimmer Vale books.  I’ve got the immediate sequel planned – it’ll be a murder mystery.  The next one I’ve no idea.  But I want them to be similar to Glimmer Vale: short fun reads of around 50,000 words.
  2. Next, I want to finally write the sequel to Masters of the Sun.  It’ll probably be around 80,000 words.
  3. And of course I need to finish up The Pericles Conspiracy, if I don’t get it one by the end of the year.  There’s another 40,000-ish words to go, so I probably won’t.  So it’ll carry over into next year.  But not much of next year.  It’s well past time to have this one done with.
  4. Next, Writers of the Future – an entry each quarter.  I’ve no idea exactly how many words those stories will be.  But that’s ok.
  5. And finally, other short stories.  And a lot of them.  But the longer works will have the priority, by and large.

There you have it.  I think this is a good plan for the year.  A reasonable goal set in a small enough timeline as to make it easy – relatively easy – to accomplish.  As I said before, I’m psyched to git ‘r done.  Should be fun.

Any thoughts from the internet peanut gallery?  I’d love to hear them.