Greetings, longsuffering friends. I have some news! It’s not THE news, but it is A news. Actually, it’s TWO news. But it’s definitely GOOD news!
The first news: my friend and fellow brilliant authorial mastermind, Kaytalin Platt, was gracious enough to interview me on her website about my most recent short story, Reliquary, which debuted in last year’s Writing Bloc anthology, Passageways. We get deep into my creative process and worldbuilding approach, not just for Reliquary, but for the entire Calling Void series as a whole. It’s a great interview, and I’m very excited to share it with all of you. Check it out here, and while you’re there, check out some of her other interviews from authors in the Passageways anthology, including her own!
And now, the second news, which I think will be even more relevant to your interests.
I can FINALLY proudly announce that Tantalus Depths is officially out of the development editing stage of production.
Those of you who have been following my updates for a long time might be having a “Wait, didn’t we already do that?” moment right now, and you’d be right. We officially finished development edits more than two years ago and were cleared to move on to the copy editing stage. BUT, what we did not expect or plan on at the time was that Adam Gomolin, the CEO of my publishing company, would take direct personal interest in my book and want to go through an additional round of development edits one-on-one with me. While it was definitely a bit frustrating to jump right back into development edits right after I thought we were done, that frustration was hugely outweighed by the opportunities that additional round of edits provided. Adam and I worked tirelessly together to transform Tantalus Depths into an absolutely brilliant book that I’ve never been prouder of, and even though the work was exhausting and the wait has been long, I think it will absolutely have been worth it.
For those of you who are not familiar with the publishing industry’s inner workings, a “development edit” is a round of edits that focuses on story-related things like plot development, character consistency, tone, pacing, and so on. Basically, the meat of a story. Development edits tend to involve significant rewrites; in my case, I’ve rewritten several chapters, added a few new ones, and reworked dialogue and narration to make the story sleeker, deeper, with a stronger core identity. The story and the characters are still absolutely true to my original vision, and the book overall is still the story I always wanted to tell. In fact, even though I’ve rewritten probably 80% of the words in the story at this point, I’m really just telling the exact same story I always have with much better words.
And so, after approximately 8 different drafts, I have finally gotten Tantalus Depths to a point that both Adam and I agree is ready to move on to the next step. The story is locked in now, and will change very little from now to publication day, but there are still a few steps to go in the process. The next big step will be the copy editing stage, which is another full round of edits that will, thankfully, take much less time. Copy editing focuses on simpler, more mechanical aspects of writing, such as grammar and word usage. This stage will not involve significant rewrites and should not require more than one or two drafts to resolve. I’m not going to throw out any time estimations, because I’m very, very bad at predicting things like that well, but where a draft of development editing could take me months, a draft of copy editing should take days.
Before we slide into copy edits, however, I have one special bonus surprise! Adam is hooking me up with an actual, honest-to God physicist to do a special “scientific accuracy pass” on the book. Tantalus Depths has always been designed with scientific accuracy in mind, but for all the hours of research I’ve put into it, I’m still just a layperson with a Bachelors’s in education. This special bonus round of edits will give us the chance to improve the accuracy of the science presented in this science-fiction book, and I couldn’t be more stoked about it.
So yeah, really big stuff is happening with Tantalus Depths! I wish I had a release date to give you all, but we aren’t quite there yet. I have been given a tenuous one, but Inkshares’ release schedule is still pretty flexible, and depending on how long the next phase of production takes, our actual release date could move forward or backwards, so I don’t want to announce anything until it’s more definite. Stay tuned, though! We are really making progress now.
Hello friends. Exciting news today! My new short story, Reliquary, is available now as part of Writing Bloc’s Passageways anthology. This exciting new collection features short stories by nine brilliant authors, each one a brand new addition to a different, expertly crafted fictional universe. These nine stories are ambassadors and tour guides, here to introduce you to vast, intricate worlds, each delicately formed with the utmost care by its author. You’ll find an excellent selection of science fiction, fantasy, and horror tales here, and I could not be prouder to have Reliquary number among them.
What is Reliquary, you ask? Reliquary is the newest story from my own anthology series, The Calling Void. That’s right, my series has an official name, now! The Calling Void is the dark, hard sci-fi universe of my previous two short stories, Breach and Countermeasures, and my upcoming novels Tantalus Depths and Proteus.
Reliquary explores new locations and concepts in this universe, as we make our first visit to Showalter: the first and only planet yet discovered that can sustain human life. We are also introduced to the Aftothysian movement: a radical group of extremists who oppose interplanetary colonization of any kind, and are willing to go to grim and desperate extremes to stop humanity’s expansion into the stars. They have recently acquired their greatest and most terrifying asset yet: the Biscayne Relic. A unique piece of technology created by the near-omnipotent AI that almost destroyed the Earth during the apocalyptic Corsica Event most of a century ago, the terrible destructive potential of the Biscayne Relic cannot be underestimated. But the Aftothysians are not the only ones with an interest in the Biscayne Relic. Nor are they the greatest threat to humankind.
You can read Reliquary right now in Passageways right here on Kindle or right here on paperback. I look forward to sharing this exciting new adventure with you, and many more very soon!
Well folks, I am way overdue for an update, and I can’t really put off making one any longer. I was hoping the next update I’d send would be an announcement that Tantalus Depths has finally finished its edits and is moving on in its production, but unfortunately we’ve seen some delays to that end. Originally, this was supposed to be the year it was going to be released, but it shouldn’t really come as much surprise that covid-19 did a number on that idea. Releasing a major novel during a pandemic is a surefire way to make it a financial flop, considering the state of the economy, the fact that many bookstores were closed entirely for several months, and the fact that my publisher’s ability to physically print and distribute the books was crippled as well for much of this year. On top of that, I work in a hospital, so not only did quarantines, stay-at-home orders and social distancing not give me any extra time at home to work on side projects, but my stress levels have been through the roof on a constant basis since March, which is far from conducive to creative writing and editing efforts. Due to all of the above factors, development on Tantalus Depths really slowed to a crawl this year, but it is picking up again. I am on my absolute final set of development edits now (for real this time. I’ve told my publisher I have exactly one round of edits left in me, and that’s it). I’ve been getting back into a consistent writing regimen, and I’m currently on track to be 100% finished by the end of the year.We have other things to look forward to soon for Tantalus Depths as well. I’ve been told that after we wrap up these development edits, I’ll finally be able to start working with my cover designer on Tantalus Depths’ official cover art. I’ve seen some of this artist’s work already, and it is extremely impressive professional work. In addition to that, between the end of my development edit and the beginning of my copy edit, we are planning to have a special round of edits with a professional physicist to check the scientific accuracy of Tantalus Depths, which I could not be more excited for.I have many other things in the works right now, but most of them are still too up-in-the-air to talk about at this stage. I know the long delays between updates makes it seem like I’ve forgotten about my writing, but that’s far from the case. A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes, there just haven’t been many new exciting benchmarks in my progress worth making announcements about. I don’t like making promises I can’t keep, so I’ve been trying to avoid predicting what will happen when during this process. The world of professional publishing is still mostly unexplored for me, and everything I’m doing is a first. I certainly never thought it would take this long to publish my first book, and I’d like to think it won’t always be that way, but I am learning as I go. Thank you all for your patience during this process. I know most of you are as eager as I am to see what the end of this process looks like, and I’m really looking forward to celebrating with you all on the other side.Because there’s still no definite release date planned for Tantalus Depths, and because I need to keep my writing skills sharp while developing my editing ones, I do have one special side project I’ve been working on since the summer that you will be able to read very soon. I’ll give a bigger update specifically for that later with more details, but for now here’s just a quick rundown of what to expect.My new short story, "Reliquary," will be appearing in the upcoming "Passageways" anthology. This is my third published short story after "Breach" and "Countermeasures," and like them it is set in the same universe as Tantalus Depths (that universe has a name now, by the way, so look forward to a series title drop soon as well). Passageways is a special anthology that features nine short stories from different authors who each have their own literary universe of stories. Think of this anthology as a dimensional crossroads: a place where vast worlds filled with fascinating characters, complex storytelling, and carefully crafted settings can be easily accessed from one another. If you read this anthology and find a story you really like, good news! There are more stories where that came from, and you’ll like them too.I couldn’t be more excited for people to read Reliquary, and I’m deeply honored to have it collected with the works of so many other brilliant authors who I respect so much. Check it out! It’s available for pre-order now, and will be released on December 11.
Well friends, we’re overdue for an update. I was holding off on sending one out until Tantalus Depths had officially been put into the copy editing phase, since I really wanted that to be the next news I could deliver, but unfortunately we’re still not there yet. I do have good news, though, so stick with me to the end of this update for that.
At the moment, Tantalus Depths is in a sort of limbo between the end of the development editing process and the beginning of the copy editing process. This is because Adam Gomolin, the CEO of Inkshares, has personally given me a new set of notes for further recommended revisions. Adam knows his stuff, and has helped other authors achieve enormous success with their debut novels, including getting TV and film deals. As much as I want to finish this process, get the book into stores and the hands of my longsuffering supporters, I have to take Adam’s feedback seriously. He wants this book to succeed as much as I do, and I owe it to all of you to make this book as strong as possible before wrapping up the editing process. He and I have been going back and forth over how to make improvements to the book for the past couple of weeks, and I should be able to deal with this final edit over the next couple weeks, aiming for an absolute final development draft by the end of the year.
So that’s where the book itself is sitting right now. I know it feels like it’s not going anywhere (believe me, I am painfully, intimately aware of that feeling), but progress is happening. That leads me to my first piece of really exciting news:
Tantalus Depths is going to have an audiobook!
We’ve signed a deal with Audible to produce Tantalus Depths as an Audible-exclusive audiobook. Audible will produce this audiobook in-house, with a professional narrator and crew. We don’t know any details about the juicy stuff like who the narrator will be yet, and production can’t really begin until we’ve fully finished the final draft of the manuscript, but this is really exciting news nonetheless. I’m a huge fan of audiobooks and have listened to them religiously on Audible for years, so I couldn’t be more thrilled. I’ll keep you all updated on this as it unfolds!
Finally, I have one more piece of exciting news. I’ve been keeping this one under my hat as a special surprise to you all, but the time has come to finally let the cat out of the bag!
I, along with 19 other published and soon-to-be-published authors, participated in a short story anthology, which will be released on New Years Day and is now available for pre-order. My brand new original short story, Breach, is a standalone story set in the same universe as Tantalus Depths and Proteus.
Breach is a tense, thrilling tale of desperation and peril as two starship crewmen struggle for survival in open space, trapped in a piece of debris when their ship is destroyed by pirates. Death surrounds them on all sides; can they hold it together long enough to survive the deadly debris field, their own diminishing air supply, and bloodthirsty space pirates intent on leaving no survivors? You’ll have to check out Escape: A Writing Bloc Anthology to find out.
After all these delays with Tantalus Depths, I am so glad I can finally present you a tiny peek into this universe of mine with this new short story. Beyond that, though, I am beyond thrilled that my work gets to appear alongside so many other incredibly talented authors in this anthology. I’ve read most of the other stories, and let me tell you, you’re in for a treat here.
Well, I’ve dumped way more than enough info on you all for now. I’ll give news on the final draft of Tantalus Depths, the audiobook, and the Escape anthology as soon as I’m able. Stay tuned!
Ooh! I should make an update! That should happen!
A lot of you already know this, but in my excitement, I neglected to make an official update about it, so here I am, finally doing that.
WE MADE IT!
Proteus is now completely funded! We reached our goal of 750 pre-orders, and the whole project has shifted into production mode. I’ve already been congratulated by Inkshares staff, and they’ve sent me some of the paperwork I’ll need to do in order to launch the book into the production process. It’s really happening!
So what happens next, in terms of Proteus? Well, as any of you who have ordered Tantalus Depths are already painfully aware, the production process takes a very long time. Also, since Tantalus Depths was my first project and people have been waiting the longest for it, it is still going to take most of my attention from now until it launches, so Proteus is something I will have to be working on in the background as I prioritize Tantalus Depths.
My plan is to get Proteus into the editing process shortly before Tantalus Depths is released. The whole intent behind launching my Proteus campaign when I did was to ensure that my second published novel came out no more than a year or two after my first, and my goal is to try and release new books on a yearly or bi-yearly schedule, consistently. Inkshares has finally given me a tentative release date of winter 2019 for Tantalus Depths. It’s much later than I thought it would be, but the delay is necessary to accommodate some new ideas that Inkshares’ CEO has in mind for it. It should be a particularly strong release next year, and Inkshares is showing a lot of confidence in it, so the delay will be worth it.
In the meantime, I’m not going to be idle. I have a surprise project I’m working on that should come out later this fall, to tide everyone over as we wait for Tantalus Depths. I also plan on building myself a proper website, which I’ll be loading with all manner of content related to the universe I’ve created, the art of writing, and the community we’ve formed. Now that the burden of campaigning is over, hopefully for good, I finally feel free to devote more of my time and energy into the parts of this process I actually enjoy: the writing, the creativity, and sharing my work to the world.
For now, I’m taking a week off, ‘cause by golly, I’ve earned it. But after that, work starts anew. We’re going to do great things together.
Hello everyone! No news to speak of regarding Tantalus Depths since my last update, and none expected for the next month or two, but I figured I’d drop a line and let you all know that an interview I did for Writing Bloc is up now. I announced it earlier in a reader update for Proteus, but since not all of you are supporting both books, some of you may not have seen it yet (although, really, you should have all jumped on Proteus by now. No time like the present!)
So here’s the interview. I discuss a little bit of everything, from crowdfunding, to world-building, to my atrocious writing process. We talk about both Tantalus Depths and Proteus, so jump on in and take a behind-the-scenes look at how these worlds came alive!
Ladies and gentlemen, I have a huge announcement for Tantalus Depths!
Last week, my development editor, Matt Harry, sent me his notes on my last draft of Tantalus Depths. They were sparse this time and easy to address, so I made pretty short work of them. Last night I submitted my third full draft with the new changes added, and Matt gave this draft his seal of approval. We are officially done with the development edit stage!
So what does that mean? Well, for the moment it means we wait. In case you hadn’t gathered by now, the editing process is very much a “hurry up and wait” kind of deal. There is a queue for the copy editing stage, I’ve been told by the Inkshares staff that my copy edits probably won’t start for a month or so.
That might seem like a bummer, but it’s not. Once the copy editing begins, the gears start spinning a lot faster. I’ll be given a full production schedule, and we’ll finally be put on a set time table, with hard deadlines. We are almost at the top of the roller coaster now, and when we get over this hill, we’re going to seriously move.
I’m personally grateful for this downtime, for one very specific reason: Proteus.
I’ve had Proteus’s campaign extended one more time, and it now runs until the end of August. I didn’t want to, but we were down to just under two weeks to go and about 270 orders to go, so there’s just no way I was going to be able to hit that goal without driving myself insane. Fortunately, with the extension, I should absolutely be able to finish funding Proteus on time, and with this gap between Tantalus Depths’ editing phases, I should be able to finish the Proteus campaign before Tantalus Depths goes to the next stage of edits. I’ll finally be able to give Tantalus Depths my full attention during one of the craziest parts of the editing process.
The development editing process for Tantalus Depths was stressful, but absolutely worthwhile. I can’t wait to see what the next few steps in this process are like, or to see the finished product that is steadily creeping closer. Thank you all so much for supporting me this far. I know it’s often felt like nothing is moving anywhere, but fortunately I can say we’ve made major progress getting through this stage.
So, as most everyone was probably expecting, I did not manage to finish my second development draft of Tantalus Depths within one week, as I had hoped. BUT fortunately it didn’t take anywhere near as long as the first draft did. I have just finished my second development draft of Tantalus Depths and turned it into my editor. Only took two and a half weeks!
So once again, we’re all going to have to wait a little while before he’s able to read through it and give me feedback on this latest draft. Unless there are any significant problems left over after two thorough rounds of development edits, though, we should be able to move right from here to the copy editing stage. We’re really making headway!
Once we do officially enter the copy editing stage, the ball’s really going to start rolling. Shortly after that is when the interior page design and the new cover art will be approved (which I can’t wait for). We’ll also get an official release date around that time too, hopefully. We are well on our way to reaping the benefits of all this hard work and finally holding a real-life, fully-published print copy of Tantalus Depths!
One thing at a time, though. As you’ve undoubtedly noticed by now, no stage in this process moves quickly. I’d say we’re closer to the end than the beginning, but any number of things could happen to set us back, so I’m not going to jinx it. For now, we’re back to the waiting game, as my editor pours over this new draft. That means I’m going to be shifting my attention back to campaigning Proteus once again, and boy, I gotta tell you, missing that extra week and a half of campaign time really did not do my campaign any favors.
Proteus hasn’t had any new pre-orders in two weeks, so we have to make a lot of headway in not a lot of time. We can absolutely do it, but it’s going to take a lot of hard work. As always, please tell all your friends about Proteus and try and get as many of them to pre-order copies as you can. We still need to sell more than 400 copies to get that publishing deal, and we only have until the end of next month to get there. If you have it in your heart to order multiple copies and can afford to do so, that would be absolutely invaluable to the success of the campaign. I already owe you all a tremendous debt for the help you’ve offered in getting Tantalus Depths a publication deal, and for getting Proteus almost halfway to one of its own. I can never express my gratitude to you all for what you’ve done to get us this far.
As soon as I have news about this second draft, you’ll all be the first to know. Meanwhile, back to Proteus I go, and I hope to see you all there!
Friends, we have an update!
Two days ago, I received my editor’s notes for my second draft of Tantalus Depths. He was impressed! The story is making serious progress toward genuine greatness. He said it will likely only take one more round of development edits before it’s ready to go to the copy-editing stage.
The last round of development edits I made took way too long. It took me months to get things just the way I felt they needed to be, and by the end of it I kind of just wanted to swan dive into a woodchipper. Fortunately, though, this next round of development edits won’t take long at all. I’ve gone through all of Matt’s notes a couple times now. There are way fewer of them than last time, and most of them are very simple fixes. With this last draft I had to fully rewrite four or five chapters from the ground up and ended up adding about 20k words to the manuscript as a whole. This next round of edits should be little more than tweaking sentences here and there, trimming a few out or adding a few in. I anticipate no significant multi-page rewrites for this one, so it should go a whole lot faster.
In fact *knocks on wood with all the might of Mjolnir* my goal is to finish this round of edits by the end of this week. I’m hesitant to put definitive timers on things these days, since every single step of this editing process has taken me WAY longer to do than I thought it would, but now that I have a better handle on how long it takes me to do this kind of work and knowing that the overall workload for this draft is way lighter than the last, I think one week is quite attainable.
Of course, there’s another reason to try and get this done that fast. As most all of you should know by now, I’m still trying to get Proteus funded. We’ve made slow but steady progress with that campaign, and as of right now it’s hovering at just a bit over 340 orders. We’ve almost reached the halfway mark with two more months to fund it.
Tantalus Depths comes first, though. That’s the book I started first, that’s the book that the most people have supported, and it’s the book people have already waited altogether too long for. So I’m taking a break from campaigning Proteus until I finish this draft of Tantalus Depths and send it in. Obviously I don’t want to lose more campaign time than necessary for Proteus, so hopefully that deadline helps keep me focused on getting this draft done quickly.
It’s going to be a busy week! I’m honestly looking forward to working on this draft, since I’ve already got some interesting new ideas to implement. I’ll send another update as soon as I’ve finished this draft and sent it in, so hopefully you’ll hear from me again really soon!
By the way…since I’m not going to be actively campaigning Proteus much this week, I’d be extra-extra grateful if a few more of you could support that book by giving it a pre-order or two while I edit Tantalus Depths. We can double our productivity that way and I’ll be at least a little less stressed out!
But not that much less stressed out. My body consumes stress for nourishment at this point.
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.