End of April 2019 Report

As like the post for the end of January, this is the post of the end of April. I am still putting my money where my mouth is.

RECAP OF 2019 GOALS

  1. Write 500,000 words in personal, non-school related projects.
  2. Complete and publish Felix #2, Felix #3, Des O’Neal #1, Des O’Neal #2, Des O’Neal #3, Jovian Marines #1, Jovian Marines #2, Jovian Marines #3, Mech Warrior #1, Mech Warrior #2, Mech Warrior #3.
  3. Correct cover for Felix #1.
  4. Write four blog posts per month
  5. Give Felix #1 and Tokyo Tempest #1 a proofread.
  6. Complete and submit to market Terran Marine Raider short #1, Terran Marine Raider short #2, and RPG Death short.
    1. Added goal: complete and submit to market, JSS Leda, secret short #2 and secret short #3.
  7. Earn $1000.00 a month from novels.
  8. Relaunch publishing company with a new, stronger name.
  9. Get 1 client for editing services.
  10. NEW GOAL: Lose 90 lbs and get healthier.

APRIL ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. I wrote 40,667 words.
  2. I have written for 120 days in a row, which is also at the approx one-third mark in the days of the year.
  3. The O’Neal Kidnapped has been first drafted.
  4. I have passed the one-third mark in total yearly words at 167k.
  5. Editing the short story with a working title called the JSS Leda.
  6. Working with a local cover artist for a bunch of covers for books.
  7. Edited Terran Marine Raider #1, it is ready to be submitted to a market.
  8. Still worked on editing Jovian Marines #1.
  9. Wrote 4 blog posts during April.
  10. Relaunched with a new, stronger name. Atomic Slingshot Press
  11. Starting weight 286lbs, weight today, 278lbs.

EXAMINATION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. I wrote just over 40k words in April. It is the lowest monthly total in both the total quantities of words as well as a daily average. With final exams and final papers in the mix, it was hard to get the amount of time to get the words done. I do have a week before the summer semester starts. It is time to do some catch-up.
  2. I have first drafted the second O’Neal book, The O’Neal Kidnapped. It turned out better than I expected. It clocked in at 61k words.
  3. I am working on editing my secret project.
  4. A local cover artist, not my wife is working on what I am calling “art assets.” These are so my wife can turn them into beautiful covers. They will be works of art on there own but will have no titling, which is why I need my wife.
  5. The edits of Jovian Marines #1 are ongoing. I have decided to give it a full draft rewrite. It is a delay that throws things off. However, it is two-thirds complete. I expect to get the draft done soon so I can get it to the proofreader.
  6. My blog posts are still happening. Even if I get distracted at times. I do thank my wife for carrying the ball when I stumbled. It is very appreciated.
  7. New branding for the site and company. I’m much happier with this than the name before.
  8. I have been on this new diet for only a few days now. My energy is up, I feel healthier, and I have lost a few pounds. I know it is too early to call that weight a success, but it’s helpful.

PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

This month was more laborious than March by far. The schoolwork has built up and piled on. I did get a lot of other stuff done. However, nothing published.

The second O’Neal book, The O’Neal Kidnapped, has been done. I am working on a cover for it, as well as it is in the long editing pile.

I will get Missed Drop Zone finished edited this month. This time I swear it. I know that it has turned into a bit of a joke. It will get done, then published.

I have many plans for other stories. I have at least three different series and one standalone not included on my list that I want to write. I need to push past the current projects to move onto other things.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Dealing with Hours of Inactivity

Like most creatives, I spend hours sitting at the keyboard. The muscle that works the most for me is my brain and my fingers; the rest of me has gotten a tad flabby.

In my twenties, this wasn’t much of a problem. My weight sat around 220 lbs. I wasn’t (for the lack of a better term) fat per se. However, I wasn’t muscular either. I considered myself fit. Today, I am approaching 34 years old, and my body has changed.

It is a natural thing that happens to most men. When they hit thirty, their metabolism slows down, and it becomes harder to keep the weight off. In their twenties, a man can eat like a horse and not have too many problems. In their thirties, that gluttony turns against them.

I now weigh 286 lbs, and the health effects are becoming apparent. I won’t go into details, but least to say access weight is not a healthy thing. I know from experience.

As a Creative, How is this a Bad Thing?

It is simple really. Being overweight in general is a bad thing. No matter what some people say to the contrary. I trust my doctor in that regard. When he tells me that I have gotten “a tad flabby around the middle,” (he is British) and that fact is responsible for some of my ill health, I believe him.

I intend to write my novels until I am 90 and too old. I understand this. If I am to make it there, I need to look after my health. Which means that I have to listen to my Doctor and put the extra three helpings down. And stop eating fast food, candy, and cola.

To do this, I have forced myself on a diet. It’s a simple diet, which I call the Stop-Bloody-Eating-all-of-the-Sugar-Filled-Food Diet. It is excellent to go with the Stop-Eating-Seconds-and-Thirds-as-you-are-not-a-Hobbit Diet.

All jest aside, I’m a glutton. I enjoy eating food, and I enjoy cooking it. I have been joking with my wife that I should stop cooking good tasting food. Maybe then I will stop eating so much.

In the spirit of transparency, in my monthly reports, I will put in a paragraph about the status of my weight. It will give me someone to be accountable to.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Dealing with Runaway Ideas

As a novelist and a creative, I deal with ideas. They are my creative lifeblood. I live on new ideas and new stories.

One of the projects that I’m working on are a few short stories for some anthologies that I heard about through the grapevine. So I’ve been writing the short stories in between my other larger novels.

The problem that has shown its face is that the story I’m writing was designed to be a 10k word story. However, I’m 4k into it, and I am nowhere near where the story needs to be for the word count.

Judging by where the story is and basing its length based on that, it wants to be a 50k to 60k novel. I’m sure the editor in charge of the anthology would be more than willing to stamp ‘rejected’ on my application. I may even get a rejected letter back.

This is not a problem only faced by novelists. It is felt by painters, illustrators, graphic artists, podcasters and more. When a simple project was the intent, yet as the project ticks by on its way to completion, the project snowballs.

It grows and expands, takes a life on its own. The image becomes more substantial, more detailed, and takes more time.

With my short story, it is intended for a specific anthology which is looking for a particular style of short story within a specific genre. I’m attempting to write it based on his guidelines. The story wanting to be 60k words isn’t in the guidelines.

What to do about it?

The simple solution, if I didn’t have a full writing dock, is to write the 60k words. Come up with a new short story for the anthology. Maybe using the same story world, and the same characters.

If I can justify squeezing it into my schedule, maybe I will. If not, I may push it to next year.

For the other creatives, what do they do? It comes along the lines of either buckling down and finishing the project or tossing it aside.

Each creative must decide what to do about each Runaway project on their own. Their decision will take into account their own circumstances.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

End of March 2019 Report

As like the post for the end of January, this is the post of the end of March. I am still putting my money where my mouth is.

RECAP OF 2019 GOALS

  1. Write 500,000 words in personal, non-school related projects.
  2. Complete and publish Felix #2, Felix #3, Des O’Neal #1, Des O’Neal #2, Des O’Neal #3, Jovian Marines #1, Jovian Marines #2, Jovian Marines #3, Mech Warrior #1, Mech Warrior #2, Mech Warrior #3.
  3. Correct cover for Felix #1.
  4. Write four blog posts per month
  5. Give Felix #1 and Tokyo Tempest #1 a proofread.
  6. Complete and submit to market Terran Marine Raider short #1, Terran Marine Raider short #2, and RPG Death short.
    1. Added goal: complete and submit to market, JSS Leda, secret short #2 and secret short #3.
  7. Earn $1000.00 a month from novels.
  8. Relaunch publishing company with a new, stronger name.
  9. Get 1 client for editing services.

MARCH ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. I wrote 42,240 words.
  2. I have reached my 90 day-in-a-row point, which is also at the approx one-quarter mark in the days of the year.
  3. I have passed the one-quarter mark in total yearly words at 127k.
  4. I hit the publish button on Des O’Neal #1, retitled as The O’Neal Saboteur. For those that haven’t, the book can be found here.
  5. Wrote a short story with a working title called the JSS Leda.
  6. Working with a local cover artist for a bunch of covers for books.
  7. Edited Terran Marine Raider #1.
  8. Still worked on editing Jovian Marines #1.
  9. Wrote 5 blog posts during March (Extra week.)

EXAMINATION OF ACCOMPLISHMENTS

  1. I wrote just over 42k words in March. While it is larger than my monthly total for February, there are more days in March and, as such, my daily count has taken a beating. I wrote 100 words a day on average in February than in March. Being on track for total words is good, especially with my semester ending and a bit of free time to write more words and gain a bit of a buffer for the next summer semester.
  2. No books have been first drafted this month. However, I finally hit the button on The O’Neal Saboteur. It is out now.
  3. I have a secret. It involves my short story JSS Leda (working title), and once I can announce more information, then I shall announce.
  4. A local cover artist, not my wife is working on what I am calling “art assets.” These are so my wife can turn them into beautiful covers. They will be works of art on there own but will have no titling, which is why I need my wife.
  5. The edits of Jovian Marines #1 are ongoing. The title of which will be The Missed Drop Zone. It will be in the Odinite Campaign Saga. It was put on hold while I worked on the super secret project. I expect to pick it up soon.
  6. As you can see from my previous posts, I have written five blog posts with them going live on Sundays. This month I wrote about my mishmash ideas and concepts stemming from the stress of going to school full time and doing something crazy like writing 500k words and publishing the work.

PLAN FOR THE FUTURE

This by far was the hardest month for me. Despite publishing one work, it has been hard to keep going. The changing of projects make things hard as well. I suffer from a slowdown of words as I change and start up the next project.

I’m currently working on the second O’Neal book, it is going to have the title, The O’Neal Kidnapped. I am 30k into it, not including the words in my first go that I did last year. This is another of my incompletes. However, it has the issue of me having to weave new words with old instead of only taking words onto the end like the previous books.

I will get Missed Drop Zone finished edited this month. It has become a joke of being put off. It will happen and soon. I hope to have it published by the end of April. However, I am not setting a date on it until it is ready. It’s not ready.

As you may have noticed, I have added a subgoal of some short stories that I need to write. They are secret, and I will talk about them soon. I have also crossed off the RPG Death Short. It is being used in a school project, and as such, I can’t write that story. Maybe later I will post the story.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Being a Creative and Giving up the Ghost

Once I finish my writing for the day, I will have written for over 90 days in a row. To me, this is a fantastic accomplishment. I have never lasted this long before giving up and washing my hands of it all. Before, depression, exhaustion, and real distractions would have caused me to give up.

Yet I feel tired, exhausted from all of the work I have done so far. I want to call it good, do nothing and play video games. Part of me wants to give it up. 90 days in a row is good, right?

However, this isn’t the time to give up. This is the time to push and get it done. Why not double the number? Why not write for 180 days?

I can name a dozen different reasons why that idea is a bad idea. It took hours per day to get the work done, it was taxing to the brain, the sun is in my eyes, and the wind in my face.

In other words, they are excuses. When times get tough, it is not time to give up. It is time to buckle down and get the work done. The work isn’t going to do itself, and there is the end goal. The prize at the end of the tunnel. There is no way you are going to get the rewards if you don’t try.

Burn Out

There is always a risk of burn out, of doing so much so quickly that you shut down. I do have a theory about burn out. It is when you do too much too soon over too long a stretch, and you aren’t used to it. Like someone going from a couch potato to working out two hours a day. There are bound to be consequences.

I may be wrong. However, the way to stop burn out from happening is to work yourself up in terms of productivity and to make sure you give yourself time to play.

If your work is taking so long that you have no time for yourself, then you are headed for burn out.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavors, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Leave a review, or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Putting Money where your Mouth is.

At some point words become nothing. At some point, the spoken word is nothing more than a meaningless squawk from the human lips.

I am referring to the endless babble that people do in regards to their hopes, their dreams, and their plans. I hear it all the time. People talking about what they want to do in the future. Either a job, a vacation, or finishing a task.

Yet, that’s all it is. Endless talk and babble without any real substance. However, what is the reason why its nothing more than talk?

People have dreams.

My nine year old has dreams. He wants to make video games and programs when he grows up. It is a worthy dream to do something that he enjoys. In fact, I encourage it.

I have a friend that has dreams. He talks about it all the time. His goal is to move to a tropical island in the Caribbean. He wants to live in an endless summer without having to deal with cold winter weather.

However, there is a difference between the nine-year-old and the thirty-something.

The nine-year-old has little ability to follow his dream. He is nine. My friend is in their thirties. He is an adult and as such, he has the freedom to follow his dream and his passion. He just needs to figure out how, but he doesn’t.

In fact, the nine-year-old is currently doing more to accomplish his goals than the thirty-something-year-old. My son is studying all types of coding on his own, in school, and on a few web sites like Khan Academy. The programs and coding which he learns are rudimentary and very basic, but it is a start. I have told him that if he keeps up the hard work, then he will get to build a real game in no time.

My Caribbean friend, however, I am not sure what he is doing to accomplish his goals and dreams. He talks as if he is, however, the status of where he is in accomplishing his dream hasn’t changed.

He routinely deviates from his goal. If he wants to live on a tropical island, he has many different problems to address. One is figuring out the immigration system, the second is some source of income. For that, he needs a skill that he can use. Diving is one; if he earns some diving credentials and is able to teach tourists how to dive, he could use that as a way to earn money. He has done none of that.

The Fragile Dream

In a discussion made over drinks about my dreams and his dreams, I asked him how far along he had gotten. The answer was not very far. He is dragging his heels, scared. His dream is this crystal object in the future. In his head, it is pure, beautiful, and pristine. He is afraid the dream isn’t going to be as he imagined in his head. Achieving his dream may prove that it isn’t as he thinks.

It’s a good point. How many times do we want something so badly, but see it with rose coloured glasses? The image in our head is formed through media and our imagination. When we finally get it, the reality doesn’t match the dream. It is a very real problem.

Not an Excuse

All of that is an excuse. Like the sun in his face or fingers cold. Poor excuses for things that don’t matter. In my mind, it is more important to stop making excuses and put your money where your mouth is. If you want something, then go do it. Stop dragging your heels and go. Make a list and start checking things off. Eventually, you will achieve your goal.

Secret

And here is a final secret before I sign off. As you move towards your goal, there will be many chances for reality to bust the rose coloured glasses. Things never work out the way you expect. It is the nature of things. You just need to adapt and roll with the flow. If your dream is something worth pursuing, then it will hold up when the glasses shatter.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Leave a review, or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

Being a Creative and Going to University

Many people consider me an artist; however, I don’t. I can’t draw a stickman. I can’t play any instrument. I can’t act. And no one wants to hear me sing.

My wife calls me a wordsmith, and I’m not sure the term applies to me. I may write novels, but I write science-fiction and fantasy. Nothing literary in any way. I still get peers and teachers looking down their nose at me for writing genre fiction, besides the scoff I get when I tell them I’m an indie author and publisher.

So what am I? People categorize themselves by what they do. Police officers, carpenters, mail carriers, etc. Am I an author? A novelist? A publisher? A crazy man who writes a small boatload of words each and every month in the hopes of earning it big?

Perhaps…

Perhaps the point of calling myself anything is to belong to a group of like-minded people. The sense of belonging is strong with most people. Am I an author? Perhaps. A Novelist? Perhaps? What I definitely am, is a Creative. I consider myself ultimately a creative whose medium is the written word, not the paintbrush or the graphics pen. However, this is not the point of this weeks blog post.

As I stated last week, I am going to University with the intended purpose of getting a degree in Creative Writing. My end goal is to use the knowledge I gain in earning my degree to start up an editing service or maybe a publishing house where I take other peoples novels and not just my own. At the moment I don’t have the knowledge or skills to be able to produce someone else’s book with the expertise required.

Going to University, I have noticed one thing which seems to stretch across the different types of artistry. All creatives, no matter if the student paints, draws, sculpts, graphic designs, sings, acts or writes, they seem to run into an after-school slump.

This is not only for after earning the degree but with the degree itself. The student spends four or more years of their life having someone else give parameters for what they have to produce. When they get an assignment with no parameters or especially when they want to do something for themselves, they have little ability to decide what to do. In fact, they struggle with it.

I have seen the struggle, the putting off the assignment until the last minute, sometimes for the sole reason that they don’t want to deal with making a decision. The only reason the student gets anything done is the deadline and the threat of a failing grade.

To this end, I have come to the determination that the act of working on my own projects first, then the schoolwork, is NOT a problem with my priorities. It will help within the long term with the ability to work independently without any outside force telling me what to work on or how to do it. I need to decide those on my own, give my own deadlines and stick to them.

In fact, it is something which all creatives going to school, going to work, and/or living complicated, busy lives need to do. Getting things done, despite the crazy in our lives, will lead to some type of success.

More on that next week. Until then, if you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Leave a review, or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

 

Interlude: My Day Job

My life tends to revolve around two things; my writing and my family. I tend to talk about writing as I try not to talk too much about my personal life. Today, I am going into something different, I am going to talk about what is going on with my personal life and my day job.

In short, my day job doesn’t exist. As of June of last year, I was laid off from my job as an Estimator in a restoration firm. They had eliminated my position. I then discovered that most other companies in the area had done the same thing. In short, my job was farmed out to a third-party company that operates across the country.

So where does that leave me?

Unemployed with a wife, who is going to university, and two adventurist kids, who won’t understand why piano lessons have ended. Any job that I take will be a substantial pay cut as I have no skills outside of that industry, which is not hiring. I am back to square one.

For seven years of my life, I spent working in the restoration field. I was good at it. It wasn’t a glamorous job, at first I cleaned up shit for a living. Now, I looked at the prospect of having to start in a labourer position to earn my strips in another industry, but what?

So I took a sizeable step. I went back to school.

Fifteen years ago, right after high school, I went to film school. I graduated with a certificate. However, the industry wasn’t for me. It was the only post-secondary schooling that I had, which was apart of my problems.

With me unemployed from the restoration job, no trade to fall back on, and no degree either, it left me with the choice of minimum wage or slightly above the minimum as a labourer digging ditches.

My wife, however, knew that would be losing my soul. With her encouragement, I am now a university student. I have been going since September. I am taking a Major in Creative Writing.

The question is why. Why take an art degree when there are no jobs in the field? And don’t I already have novels published, why take schooling if I already know what to do?

The answers to those questions are simple. I know that there are no jobs that use an art degree. I completely understand. I have created my own job by being an indie author. It is about what a person makes of the situation more than the situation itself.

And yes, I do know how to write a novel and to tell a story. Writing a manuscript isn’t hard for me. I have three completed manuscripts sitting in the ‘to edit’ pile right now. However, I want to become an editor and maybe someday open my own publishing house. To do that, getting a degree is necessary.

But there are other benefits. My writing has been challenged to become tighter, cleaner. I am having an easier time articulating what I want to say. This is all necessary for growth as a writer. Before I went to school, I felt that my writing had stagnated as I wasn’t getting any better. In my honest opinion, my writing was sliding back into the abbess of shite.

So that is what has been going on with one part of my personal life. I am a university student who writes novels.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Leave a review, or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

The Writing Process: The Routine

I have been writing every day for over sixty days now. Currently, I’m averaging just over 1400 words a day. I’m also editing for an hour every day. This is on top of anything that I have to do in my life. Kids, wife, daily tasks, etc.

As I have said before, writing a novel is not a sprint. It is an endurance race. Writing a book is like trying to get into shape. You can’t go to the gym for one day and expect to be in shape the next day. Same thing with writing a novel. It is not something that is done in a day.

Getting into a healthy shape is not a simple task but a lifestyle to be adopted. If you see someone that is actively working on staying healthy, it is not a task that they do for a few hours. They change their sleep habits, their eating habits, they start to walk places instead of driving.

What is similar in both a novelist and a workout guru is a routine. The guru will get up at 5am every day to go for a run. She will use some sort of calendar to check off to encourage the habit. In short, a routine is essential to getting the new habit going. Without a routine to rely upon at the start, the good habits don’t form, and the bad ones stay. A routine will keep you going when you want to quit. Clicking on a video game or Netflix after all is easy.

As I have stated before, my routine is that I write up little cards of the things that I need to do the next day the night before. The next day, I cross things off as I complete them. Due to my 500,000 word goal, I also have a spreadsheet that I keep track of. I also make sure that I finish my personal tasks first in the day before I work on other things.

For you, however, you may need to come up with different methods. The key is not to be afraid to think outside of the box and to try a new approach. Then dump whatever is not working for you. Use the method that works, discard anything that doesn’t.

Remember, a routine is your friend, but only when it works. When it fails to work, you need to drop it like fifth period french. I will go into more detail on that next week.

If you like what you are reading and wish to support me in my endeavours, please sign up to my newsletter, visit my Amazon Author Page and purchase one of my books. Leave a review, or buy me a coffee. Your help and support are much appreciated.

 

The O’Neal Saboteur: The O’Neal Trilogy Book 1

I have done it. My latest book has been published.

On a Colony orbiting Jupiter, a saboteur is bent on destruction. One young man might be the only person able to save them all. 

Sixteen-year-old Des O’Neal lives with his uncle and older brother in the Colonial Station Jovian 1-H. The threat of constant attacks and the destruction of his home becomes a daily occurrence. Threats he must endure and overcome.

Des finds himself ejected from his normal life and thrust into a world filled with spies and turmoil. In order to save himself and those closest to him, he must excel in a new world of espionage. He must overcome an unknown enemy lurking in the shadows, intent on sabotage and destruction. An enemy that may know who he and who his friends are.

In times of war, it is often the youth that must step up and fill adult roles. Will Des defeat the traitorous saboteur? Or will the station fall victim to his vicious plot?

If you like science fiction stories about espionage, overcoming obstacles, and mysteries. Then you will enjoy the action-packed, race against time novel written by Nathan Pedde.

Grab a copy of “The O’Neal Saboteur” today and get in on the action.