Month: March 2014

Three Guy Antibes Short Story Anthologies in Production

Old Guy is pleased to announce that in the next few months, THREE short story anthologies are in the hopper undergoing editing.  Titles and covers aren’t pinned down yet.

I took to writing short stories to hone my writing skills.  So these stories are, in a sense, all experimentsPanix-Hand in writing.  Some are good and some are goofy.  One thing that I’ve learned about short stories is that they are prime examples of ‘beauty is in the eyes of the beholder’.  One story may thrill one person and do nothing for another reader.   So you get what you get.  Hopefully among the stories, you will find one that appeals to you.

So I’ve separated my stories by genre, so here are the descriptions:

  1. Steampunk and Shockers – This has a lot of different kinds of stories.  There is a reject from a Magical Academy story,  a detective who works in a reservation in New Mexico, except the reservation is for ghouls, demons, ghosts, zombies, and the paranormal.  Another is a steampunk story about a woman whose mission in life is to destroy vampires that have infested the earth.  The story about Tommy Tonsil is a little grisly.  This anthology is definitely PG-13
  2. Science Fiction – You can read stories that contain action, romance, drama, thought provoking situations.  A glutton gladiator is in peril, a man searches for magic on a ruined planet, a boy yearns for a special toy,  a young man has invented a unique tool for espionage.
  3. Fantasy – This group is a bit more in my wheelhouse.  A wizard attempts to destroy a seven-hundred-year-old curse.  A boy is appalled by the truth of his parents’ midnight disappearances.  A Captain’s coat is much more than it seems.  A healer must decide if the maxim that he has held to his entire life is still valid.

I’ll get some titles figured out for these, but I do intend on publishing one in April, May and June.


Warstone Quartet Drafted!

ManscrptAfter some time, I’ve finally completed the first drafts of my Warstone Quartet.  The four novels total 387,000 words and approximately 1,200 pages.  That’s without any pictures.

I wrote Moonstone some time ago, thinking that I would write them sequentially, but after an idle summer last year, I had to amp up my production so I completed Sunstone in December, Bloodstone in February, and Darkstone in March.

Now I let them cool off a bit.  My April will be filled with getting Warrior Mage produced and I’ll be rewriting this summer.

I’m satisifed with the way the plot came together.  Lots of characters and settings.  I have romance in all of them to one extent or another.  An epic sword and sorcery adventure.  The Darkstone, in particular, is a little battle heavy, but that comes along with the ‘sword’ part.

I still intend on releasing at least Moonstone this year.

Tangential Outlining

brickpaversWhen I started writing, I thought I was a pantser.  Pantser is short for seat-of-your-pants.  That means you sit down to write and words flow.  I attended a short story-oriented online workshop in my early days and that worked.  Then the administrator had a summer of structured writing.  it ended up being the best workshop I’ve been in on line.  We started with the snowflake method and outlined the novel with all kinds of add-ons for characters, weather, setting, plot progression.  All great stuff.  I even conducted the workshop the next year.

Sounds great… but for me it was too much work.  That much structure seemed to overshadow the writing.  So I took what I liked best.  That was taking the overall idea and develop a scene outline.

What is a scene outline?  It’s a few sentence descriptor of all the scenes.  I took that approach and used it to write eight novels.  The scenes kept me on track, but I always found that I would deviate, but the scene outline… which was my version of an outline always kept me headed in the right direction.

In my last draft novel, something crazy happened.  (It’s happened before, but just not as drastically.)  I had my scenes all structured and as I wrote, my fingers rebelled and popped an entirely character in my book.  Now this is the last book of my Warstone Quartet, so I sat there wondering what direction to take.  I really liked the shocking development so I had to go off on a tangent and rewrote the rest of the scenes.  That was half of the book.  The ending’s flavor ended differently as well.

I’m pleased with the result.  What the experience taught me is that while I can be a ‘planner’ (a writer who outlines), I need to hear my creative side and when the opportunity hits become a pantser and let the scene outline go off on a tangent.  It’s okay to deviate.

Covers & Blurbs

I’ve got three major initiatives that will consume March and beyond.

  • Finish the last draft volume of Warstones.  I’m at 20K words.  that’s 20%
  • Publish Warrior Mage.  I redid the cover so I’m about ready to design the inside.
  • Redo Covers and Blurbs.

Covers & Blurbs

IDghtr-BereavedCvrMedf someone looks at the other two Sara Featherstone novels, something is happening that matches the tone of the books that readers are looking for – spying in Disinherited and a sword and a gun in Betrayed.  I’m happy with those, but I need a better cover for the entry book, Bereaved.  She’s got to be doing something in the book.  Perhaps holding a smoking firearm.  Those aren’t really developed until Disinherited, but I will see what I can pull out of the book.  More drama.

I like the Panix cover, but again, it doesn’t present the tone I need to show.  Panix rowing a boat twelve inches off of the ground is subtle, but I’m afraid PanixCvr3Medit’s lost on potential readers.  So he’s got to be doing something.  Maybe the explosion at the tractor factory or throwing a light globe in the cave.

Blurbs need more work… every one.  There’s not enough sell in them.  I’ve got to get more.  When Warrior Mage comes out, I should get a few more hits and everything has got to be just right, so more sell in the blurbs at Amazon and everywhere else.

In the Middle of a Four Volume Story

I’ve drafted three out of the four volumes of The Warstone Quartet and I’ve got a start on the last novel.  Why am I drafting all of these books at once… before I publish the first one?  I finished writing Sunstone, book two and found that I wanted to put the Sunstone character in Moonstone, my first volume.

Originally, these were going to be standalone books with the characters all showing up in the last owasmAuthnovel.  As I wrote, I realized I wanted them in all of the stories, even if it was a walk-on part.  So I decided to draft all of the books, since the times basically overlap, to align with each other.  It’s easier to shift things around in draft mode than it is after I’m about ready to publish or even after publishing one of the novels.  I’ve added a couple of new characters and changed the motivations for others.  I think this technique is working for me.

I did outline all of the novels after I drafted Moonstone.  The outlines act as guides to keep the plot firmly in my mind, but the muse sometimes takes hold and I depart from the script.  The end remains pretty much the same.

How is it going?  I think it’s going just fine, but perhaps I’m not the best judge, so I’ll write it that way and have an alpha reader tell me how much I have to modify.  I’ll have something around 400,000 words in the quartet.  That’s 1,200 pages, folks.

When I have this much invested in the entire sweep of the story, I get a bit anxious.  The last book, Darkstone, is more than a continuation of the three books.  The first half is a biographical story of the principal antagonist, who is just a name in the other books.  Then it folds (hopefully seamlessly) into the events leading up to the big conclusion.  Perhaps my alpha and beta readers will reject it all.

In any event, it’s quite an adventure.

What I Learned at IndieReCon

IndieReCon is an online writer’s conference for independent published authors.  There are three approaches to getting your novels published:  Traditional, Independent and Hybrid.  Hybrid, as you might imagine, is an author that does both traditional and independent publishing.

Independent publishing has two further classifications, Self and Independent.  In this case, IndieReconindependent encompasses using small publishing companies with an imprint.  I am a self publisher who has a close relationship with a small publisher so I use the CasiePress, but I do most of my own work, so I would probably be considered more of a self publisher.

The major takeaway from IndieReCon was that I need to do a better job at marketing my books.  Since I don’t write full time, I’ve neglected a number of promotional aspects of writing, so you’ll see a twitter presence (you can follow me at @guyantibes) and more facebook content… but not a lot.

My website was recently hacked, so I’ve redesigned it with all new content including links for visitors to buy my books.  I’ll be redoing some of my covers along with blurbs.   Lots of work.

One thing that was consistent throughout is write, write, write.  If you think you’d make better use of your time writing, then write rather than go off and do something else.

Last year was pretty much a disaster for my production.  No publications, but this year will be different.  More short stories in anthologies and at least two novels.  Warrior-Mage is written and I’m finalizing the cover.  Moonstone is in rewrites.  So I learned that I have to do things differently this year, including posting videos on my blog and setting up a YouTube channel.  I’m looking forward to that.

One thing that I will do is create a marketing plan.  What I need to do for each book and what I need to do to promote my writing career (not much of one to date.)  I consider the three days that I stuffed with articles, vlogs and online chats to have been worthwhile.