Rules are meant to be broken … or at least bent

One of the unwritten rules for authors is to never, ever respond to a review on Amazon or Goodreads. Far be it for me to say that rules are made to be broken, but the other day I happened upon a multipart review across a couple of the Pax books that made me laugh, shake my head, and mutter under my breath in a matter of minutes. I’m perfectly happy to receive constructive criticism, but there are points and accusations made that range from outright falsehoods to … but I’m getting ahead of myself.

As boring as it is, I’ll be a good boy and follow the unwritten rule. While I’ll refrain from responding directly fisking is always a good alternative. If you’re unfamiliar with the term, Webster’s defines fisking as ‘the act of making an argument seem wrong or stupid by showing the mistakes in each of its points.’ That dry dictionary explanation fails to present just how fun they are to read and write.

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Midsummer Update

We can quibble about the midsummer part, but considering that summer vacation is now only two months long, it’s officially the halfway point for my kids. So I’ll go with it!

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A double-shot of Paxton Locke, headed your way

If you take a look to your right, you’ll see that The Dragon and His Wrath is complete! I’m stoked for you to get your hands on the next books in the series. These two really expand Paxton’s world and lay the foundation for everything yet to come.

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Happy New Year!

This probably should be two or three blog posts, but who’s got time for that?

Welcome to 2021. Let’s hope it’s a good one.

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On arrivals and departures

Tuesday, September 15 will see the release of “Bugged Out Babblings”, a collection of “flash fiction” stories–short titles envisioned between 500 and 1,000 words, with an introduction by yours truly.

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Let’s talk about Black Friday

The original version of A Place Outside the Wild was, believe it or not, much more massive than the doorstop I eventually put out.

Early on in the editing process, I realized that the core of the story that I wanted to tell was the time period well after the early days of the apocalypse. Stories of surviving the initial event are fun, but they can also be redundant. It’s one thing that the lion’s share of post-apocalyptic movies or books all do, and I was more interested in what happened after, because there weren’t many satisfactory examples that I’d run into.

That left a lot of the book on the chopping block, and while it was the right decision to do, the character of Sticks took the biggest brunt of that, because he didn’t make it to the “current” period of the Z-Day universe. I got an opportunity to resurrect one of Sticks’ stories for the Places Beyond the Wild anthology, and after some changes to the status quo (more to come soon), I’m happy to share it here for you now.

More stories down the road? I am a digital packrat, so it’s certainly possible. You’ll just have to wait and see.

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Update time!

Dove into Chapter 1 of The Dragon and His Wrath this evening after finishing up a Paxton short for an upcoming anthology. It’s a prequel of sorts, looking back to the time when Pax was on his own and stumbled into a haunted house with a not-so-friendly owner. I had a lot of fun picking up the references I made in Fade to fill out the backstory a bit and look forward to you reading it.

Beta feedback for The Sacred Radiance has been positive, and it’s in the hands of my very-capable editor now. As soon as I have a cover and release date, it’ll be up here.

Until then–read on, my friends.

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Recharging the batteries

I had a nice opportunity to get away for a week with the family recently. COVID made things a little weird – but half-empty airports and beaches aren’t all bad. It was nice to get a break, and it was my kids’ first time on a plane. Time seems to sneak up on you. The first time I flew, it was before the TSA, so my grandparents took me straight to the gate and put me on, and I had someone waiting for me at my connection and final destination. Doesn’t work that way anymore, and it was definitely an experience getting a teenager and pre-teenager through security. Herding cats comes to mind.

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Breaking radio silence

Unless you’ve been seriously out of the loop like these lucky folks, you don’t need me to tell you that 2020 has been a crazy year thus far.

In a lot of ways, my experience over the past few months has been more fortunate than most. In my day job I work in a hospital, and I thankfully haven’t had any concerns about furloughs or layoffs. Of course, essential work has been, needless to say, bonkers.

My kids never physically went back to school after Spring Break and did eLearning until school officially ended for the year last week. In a strange way, it was a good thing for my oldest — he struggled a bit adjusting to his first year of junior high, and school-from-home was an opportunity for him to focus purely on academics and not be stuck into group projects, which his school seems to be in love with for some reason.

My own experiences were far from enjoyable.

Between all that, and the accompanying lockdown and disruption of routine, my writing output cratered. Say what you will about the quality of Starbucks’ coffee (I’m an iced tea guy, myself), I didn’t realize just how much work I got done sitting in there. There’s more to a routine than I guessed, and I’ve struggled to adapt. As a result, I’m a bit behind schedule. On the bright side, we’re talking about a few months rather than a few years. I’ve been waiting for the next entry in a few series for a long time now, so I know the feeling.

Plans, at least, haven’t changed. I’m about 75% done with Pax book 4, The Sacred Radiance. As soon as I finish my first draft and passthrough, I’ll hand it off to the publisher and start work on Pax book 5, The Dragon and His Wrath. After that, it’s time for the next book in the Z-Day series.

Stay healthy, stay safe, and let’s hope that the second half of 2020 makes the first seem like a bad dream!

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Tags and tunes for the Paxtonverse

There were plenty of new visitors to the world of Paxton Locke today, courtesy of the eBook promotion site BookBub. If that’s what led you here, welcome! And thanks for the support, it means that nearly three years after release, Fade is now a bestseller.

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