nzkhmgt Evan Graham · Author · added 8 days ago · 13 likes

Well, it’s been a long time coming, but finally I have a progress update for Tantalus Depths.

I’ve finally finished my first full reworking of the manuscript based on my editor’s feedback, and sent it in. I had intended to get this step of the process finished by the end of last year, but clearly these kinds of edits are a lot more challenging than I had assumed they’d be.

All told, though, I’m happy with these edits. I’ve extensively rewritten several chapters at the beginning and end of the book, but the book very much remains the same story I wanted to tell initially. These changes have helped me make Tantalus Depths a more effective piece of storytelling in the areas that really mattered to me.

At the end of my edits, my manuscript is now about 20,000 words longer than it used to be. Most of that added content was devoted to more fleshed-out worldbuilding, better character development, and better prose in my descriptive imagery. It’s longer now, but I believe the added content improves the pacing and flow of the story to such a degree that it will feel like it’s become shorter.

I originally wrote Tantalus Depths between 2012 and 2014. Since then, I’ve honed my writing skills, and I feel confident that this new draft showcases that improvement in my literary abilities. I’m prouder of this book than I’ve ever been, and I’m thrilled to carry it forward to the next steps.

So, what’s next for Tantalus Depths?

Well, now that I’ve turned it in to my editor, the ball’s in his court. It’ll be a few weeks before he gets the opportunity to read through my changes and send me back any new feedback he has for me. When that’s done, I’ll take a look at whatever other changes he feels I still need to make and then make use of that feedback in another draft. We’ll keep going back and forth like this until we’re both satisfied that the manuscript is as good as it can be. The biggest and most complicated round of edits is done, though, and each step in the development edit process should move faster than the one before it.

Think of the editing process like carving a sculpture out of a wooden log: first you go at it with a chainsaw and remove all the bulky bits you don’t want. Then you go at it with a chisel to get it to the precise shape you want it. Then, finally, you go over it with sandpaper to smooth out all the tiniest imperfections. I’ve just finished my “chainsaw edit.”

So what am I doing now that I’m free of Tantalus Depths for the next few weeks?

Well, until my editor finishes reading through it and sends me his notes, there’s nothing I can do for Tantalus Depths. I won’t be idle while I wait, though. I’m going to jump back into Proteus. My plan had always been to jump back into Proteus as soon as I was done with my Tantalus Depths edits, but I really didn’t think it would take me this long to get through with them, and my campaign for Proteus is almost over. So I intend to ask for one more 90-day extension for Proteus. I still need close to 500 orders to hit my full publication goal, so it’s going to be a lot of work, but during the time that I am waiting for feedback on Tantalus, I plan to devote myself fully to campaigning for Proteus. I’m determined to get both books the publication treatment they deserve, and to firmly establish myself as an up-and-comer in the writing industry.

So, stay tuned. As soon as I have more news for Tantalus Depths, I’ll be sure to let you all know. Meanwhile, I’ve prepared some exciting resources for my new Proteus campaign, and I think you’ll find them pretty interesting.

Hello friends and supporters.

Well, NaNoWriMo has come and gone. It was not an altogether unprofitable month, though it was not as profitable as it should have been. I’m not sure who got the idea that the national novel writing month should be smack in the middle of the holiday season, but it’s not the most conducive of times for reaching lofty goals.

As I said, though, it was not unprofitable. I managed to write two full, reasonably sizeable chapters in Proteus, for one. As far as Tantalus Depths goes, I’d say I’m approximately 50% done with the current draft’s revisions. By that, I mean about 50% done with the changes I plan to make before turning the whole thing back over to my editor to see what he thinks of it. It’s possible he’ll want me to make additional changes at that point before we move to the next stage in the production process, but this draft is the one where the biggest changes will happen.

My current goal is to have this draft 100% finished by the end of the year. I doubt my editor will want to work on it during the holidays, but if I have work left to do at that point, I’m going to do it anyway. I am so ready to move ahead in this process it’s not funny. I really want to get through the monotony and frustration of editing so I can get back to the excitement of actual writing, but one thing at a time.

Hopefully my next update will signal the triumphant wrapping-up of my current draft and the next phase of the process. Stay tuned!

One third of the way through NaNoWriMo and I’ve come to a revelation about myself: I don’t like editing.

It’s a whole different world from writing, and trying to pick apart a story you’ve written already and piece it back together in a way that works better is a phenomenally headache-inducing process. It’s necessary, and the results of the process will speak for themselves in the end, but gosh is it exhausting.

I wish I could say I’ve made a lot of progress on Tantalus Depths already, but it’s been very slow going. Most of the editing I’ve done so far has been in the form of outlining rewrites on problem scenes and trying to boil the entire story down to specific thematic elements so I can increase the consistency in theme and tone throughout. It’s slow but crucial work, and hopefully it’ll make the remainder of the process move much more smoothly.

To keep myself creatively inspired while working through the frustrating and tiresome work of editing, I’ve been doing a decent amount of work writing Proteus as well. Since the beginning of NaNoWriMo, I’ve managed to work through about a bit over a dozen pages in Proteus, and about two full chapters. I’m definitely not up to the recommended word count for NaNoWriMo, but since I’m dividing my attention between writing and editing, I feel like it’s a fair bit of progress.

My plan is to try and get the first half of Tantalus Depths edited by the 20th of the month, finishing it by the end of November. Somewhere in there I’d like to knock out another half-dozen chapters of Proteus if possible, but that remains a secondary priority.

Hopefully my next update will be an encouraging one. Back to work I go!

Happy Halloween everyone!

In honor of the scariest of holidays, I’ve prepared a special gift for you that I hope you’ll enjoy.

I’ve felt bad about the fact that, just over a year after the end of my Tantalus Depths campaign, my many incredibly loyal supporters haven’t yet seen any return on their investments. The editing process moves much more slowly than I’d realized it would, and although I think taking the extra time will make for a much better book, I easily empathize with those of you who are growing impatient waiting for the book you paid for to materialize.

So, to tide you over while the development edits continue, I’m releasing a special treat: a new horror short story, written by yours truly, now available for you to read in its entirety for free right here. I first wrote The House of Chaos in 2012, and after a bit of polishing I feel it’s finally worth reading. As a traditional horror story, it’s very different from Tantalus Depths and Proteus in style and setting, but I’m confident some of you will enjoy it nonetheless.


This is NOT the Tantalus Depths prologue that I promised I’d write last year. That is still coming (believe it or not), it’s simply taken a back seat to the editing process for Tantalus Depths.

And in other news, as most of you know, next month is National Novel Writer’s Month! Many Inkshares authors will be working on different projects for NaNoWriMo, and I’ll be among them. For my purposes, though, I’m only working on existing projects this time. My first priority will be editing Tantalus Depths, and I plan to have the full development draft finished by the end of the month. Any time I have left after that’s done will be spent on Proteus.

I plan to send updates once a week during NaNoWriMo to keep you up to date on my progress. I hope to get a great deal accomplished next month, so prepare to be impressed.

Also, best of luck to my fellow authors who are working on their own projects next month. You can do it! We’re all in the same boat, so let’s do it together!

It almost snuck past me entirely, but today marks the one year anniversary of hitting my full funding goal for Tantalus Depths! Things have moved a lot more slowly since then than I’d thought they would, but this remains one of the proudest achievements in my life, and I am still so far beyond grateful for the huge outpouring of help from all my friends and family that made this thing possible. 

No particular news on the editing process to speak of at the moment; I am continuing to work on integrating the feedback from my editor into the development draft and hope to have a new and improved draft for the next step of the process in the next week or two. I just wanted to take a moment and reflect on this landmark that got us to where we are today. I can’t wait until this editing stage is complete and you all have physical copies of the book in your hands. It’s been such a privilege being given this rare opportunity to share the passion of my heart with so many supportive people. Here’s to Tantalus Depths, Proteus, and many more such successes in the future!  

My friends, today is a very special day for a very special book.
But not one of mine this time.

Today is the official publication day for The Last Faoii. Some of you may recall I’ve been championing this book from the very beginning, and today, at long last, it is out and available for purchase.

I’d like to ask you all to consider supporting this new book, for a couple of reasons. For one, I helped design that kick-butt cover, so I have to brag about that at least a little. It’s also a really fine fantasy novel, so it deserves to be read for its own merits.

But beyond any of that, I’d like you to support the author. Tahani Nelson has been as big of a supporter for both Tantalus Depths and Proteus as I’ve been for her book, also from the very beginning. She’s been through some of the worst struggles imaginable during the process of campaigning her book and getting it through the production process, and the absolute tenacity with which she has tackled those obstacles deserves every reward. She’s inspired me tremendously on a personal level and has helped keep my spirits up during the various obstacles I’ve faced during my own campaigns and production processes. Heck, she inspired me enough to name a planet after her, so that should tell you all you need to know about how much I respect her.

It’d also just be nice for me to plug a book you can actually hold in your hands shortly after buying it, for a change. Tantalus Depths is coming, but still not any time especially soon. The Last Faoii is out right now (I have a copy on the desk in front of me). So yay for semi-instant gratification!

Anyway, I’d just like to make this the best Publication Day possible for The Last Faoii. The book is great, the author is even better, and they both deserve as much support as we can send their way.

It’s been far too long since I’ve been able to deliver news of any significant amount of progress with Tantalus Depths. I’ve had quite a few people approach me asking when the book is coming out, and I’ve regrettably had nothing to offer in the way of a satisfactory answer. I’m not sure I made it clear enough during my campaign last year just how long it takes to get a book through this kind of production process, but it can take a very long time.

Fortunately, today I finally have some good news. Progress has at last been made! Last night I finally received my development letter from Matt Harry, my development editor. Matt is the Head of Story Development at Inkshares, and his work has helped books like the amazing Punch Escrow succeed brilliantly during their production processes.

For those unfamiliar with how the publishing process works, all Inkshares books receiving the full editing treatment (such as Tantalus Depths) go through several waves of editing, each one focusing on improving a separate aspect of the manuscript. The development edit is the first, and it focuses on big picture stuff, such as focusing the story’s overall tone, message, and style. Basically figuring out exactly what kind of story Tantalus Depths is and how to make it the best example of that kind of story it can be.

Tantalus Depths has been read by quite a few beta readers and has gone through at least four rounds of edits, but this is the first time it’s been seen by a professional editor. Matt sent me eleven pages of advice on what sort of things I should consider changing to improve the book, on top of dozens of margin notes in my original manuscript for specific lines and sections I should change.

There’s a lot to work on here. The overall story isn’t going to change from the one I set out to tell; in fact, Matt was very clear that they want to make sure I get to tell the story the way I want it. The primary point of these notes is to focus the story properly, to trim out anything that doesn’t work so I can make the stuff that does work even better. Most of the notes he gave me deal with things such as keeping a consistent tone, improving character development, and getting more into the worldbuilding. I was actually surprised by that last one, since I’ve done a tremendous amount of worldbuilding but was intentionally holding back on including a lot of it, lest I get too carried away. Now that I’ve been given a green light to add more, I’m going to be having a lot of fun with these edits.

So, long update short, the wheels are rolling on Tantalus Depths once more! There is still no release date nailed down (I’m afraid there’s still going to be a decent wait ahead), but finally we’re fully into production mode now. I have a lot of writing and re-writing to be doing in the next couple weeks, but I am looking forward to it. We’ve finally gotten to the point where Tantalus Depths is making the transition from a simple manuscript to a proper Novel.

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!


Oh, by the way, my campaign for Proteus is still running, and I’m going to go back into campaigning mode as well within the next month or so. Stay tuned for that as well, and if you haven’t ordered a copy yet (or would like to help the campaign out even more by ordering a second one), please do so!

Guys...this is it.

There’s only one day left in the Nerdist contest, and we are STILL in fourth place, despite seeing some absolutely remarkable support the past few days. Our competition is simply seeing as much success as we are, if not more. We were able to close the gap between our position and third place down to just twelve pre-orders...right now it’s climbed back up to 17 and still rising.

Remember: third place is as good as first for this contest. All three get the same prize: that coveted full publication deal. If we place in fourth, though...nothing. I could campaign the hard way and gather 750 pre-orders like I did for Tantalus Depths. But I won’t. I can’t. The last campaign was the hardest thing I’ve ever tried to do by far, and I do not have the energy, stamina, or resources to do it again. My physical and mental health probably would not allow for it. Not any time soon. I knew that from the start when I entered the contest: I either make it, or I don’t.

It’s all or nothing, folks. I want to tell this story, but if we can’t place in the top three, it’s going back on the shelf indefinitely. You’ll get refunded, but the book won’t see the light of day for who knows how long.

So I’m appealing to you all one more time: if anything in Proteus seems interesting to you, please support it with a pre-order. If you already have, please get a friend or loved one to do the same. Remember, referrals will get you a commissioned art piece if you want it! Win or lose, I’ll honor that promise.

Thank you all, for everything you’ve done for this campaign so far.

Now cry havoc, and let slip the dogs of war.


My friends, we’ve made another strong push for progress today. We’ve narrowed the gap between us and third place down to only 18, and I’m still pushing to reduce that further. As much progress as we’ve made today, though, a lot more remains. Our competition is still moving forward relentlessly, and I fully anticipate a last-minute surge. We are down to the last two days, so if anyone’s been holding out to the end, now is the time for reinforcements.

No long update today, because I’m honestly too busy trying to drag in pre-orders to write one, so here’s this instead. Share it with your friends! This is not a story about heroes. Nobody comes out of this one with clean hands. This is a story that deals in shades of monstrosity. If you’re ready to see some deeply messed-up characters deal with some even more messed-up situations, hop on board and pre-order this thing.


Hello once again my friends.

This has been a very, very long week. This time last week we were in the top three, Now we’re trailing behind in fourth by 22 pre-orders. But it was 29 pre-orders this morning! We gained a lot of ground today, and that’s something I think all of us should be proud of. We can’t stop yet, though. We can’t even pause.

Less than three days remain in this contest. The victors will be decided on Tuesday, and I aim to be among them. 22 pre-orders is both so little and so much. So little because it is definitely, absolutely possible for us to get them and catch up to where we were; at the beginning of this contest, we were able to get that many in just a single day, and a few days ago we were able to get 18 all in one day. But...it’s so much because that was then and this is now. That was before I called upon everyone I know for help. That was back when I had enough money to run a couple ads, that was before most of the people I knew I could count on had placed their orders. Right now...I don’t know where those 22 orders are going to come from.

So once again, I’m calling out to you all for your support. If you haven’t yet, talk to your spouse about this. Talk to your parents. Talk to your siblings. Your best friends. Your coworker who’s always reading during lunch breaks. Talk to anyone you can think of; if there’s one thing I’ve learned from this campaign and the one for Tantalus Depths, it’s that you absolutely never know who might be willing to help you when you need it.

The odds are not quite in our favor right now, but I insist on optimism. I must proceed as if victory is a forgone conclusion. If I try as hard as I can and fail, I will be content. If I give up when I could have won, I’ll never forgive myself. So I take the path of positivity, just like our final highlighted character, Katie Salvador.

Katie Salvador

When civil war divided the crew of The Somnambule, it was the first true conflict ever witnessed by the third and fourth generation crewmen. To the naive and isolated descendants of The Somnambule’s original crew, the terrors of battle and mutiny were an awakening, a loss of innocence. For most noncombatants, the mere notion that their fellow crew members were killing one another in the mid-decks was enough to crush the youthful optimism fostered by a lifetime of security. Not so for Katie Salvador.

A fourth generation member of The Somnambule’s crew, Katie was a constant source of positivity and optimism, sharing her excess of cheer with every member of the ship’s crew she encountered. Like everyone else born on the ship, Katie was selected from a young age to fulfill a set of specific roles within the ship’s hierarchy. Katie was selected to join the ship’s medical staff, and while she took to her assigned job with the same zeal she applied to the rest of her life, her natural desire to help others led her to voluntarily pick up additional responsibilities in the ship.

By the age of twelve, she was already spending much of her free time in the hydroponic farms on the ship’s inner decks, taking great pleasure in tending to the various crop plants and helping them grow. She continued with this side work into her teens, even while she began to work full shifts in the ship’s infirmaries.

When Marion Krieg led her rebellion in an attempt to seize control of the ship, Katie pulled double shifts in the infirmary to treat the wounded, and continued to do so until the conflict resolved to a tense stalemate when Krieg’s rebels retreated to the lower decks.

Though the loyalist members of the crew had successfully thwarted Krieg’s initial rebellion, it had come at great cost. Many members of The Somnambule’s security force were killed in the battle, and with the conflict remaining unresolved, new recruits had to be drafted from the ship’s civilian population to replace them. Seeing a new opportunity to serve, Katie volunteered to take up arms and join the security force.

Training under her father, the head of the security force, Katie quickly learned the basics of combat. Her extensive medical training saw her fit well into a support role as a combat medic. Though still only 16 years old, Katie served as a vital member of the loyalists’ makeshift militia, not only for her skills as a healer, but for the warmth of her personality. Katie provided her brothers and sisters in arms with an endless supply of positivity in a time when morale could not have sunk lower...

Notable Readers

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