Something to think on

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We are about to commision a rendition of the BlackSheep flag, with the bloody fanged and bloody clawed red-eyed black sheep that depicts members of Parno’s personal regiment.

 

My idea is to make the sheep into a patch, like a shoulder patch. Someone else suggested making them to sell. I admit I hadn’t considered that, but I’m not against it either. Admittedly I have no idea what it would cost to do something like that, and we haven’t yet even found the artist we want to create the image.

But, assuming we can, is something like that anything you guys would be interested in? I have considered having small flags made of Parno’s Regimental Flag, and maybe even tee shirts, since that seems to be pretty easy to do these days.

It’s also been suggested we make a ‘skull and bones’ image for the “Fire” series, either as a patch or flag or both, with the tee shirt also being an option.

 

The question is though, assuming all this doesn’t cost an arm and leg, is this something any of you are interested in? IF not, then cool, no problem. But if you are, I will try and make it happen. I admit I wouldn’t mind a Black Sheep tee myself 😀
Anyway, if you think that would interest you, let me know.

 

NCR

Home Fires

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The reviews for Home Fires are nothing short of amazing. I am rarely at a loss for words, (my wife would be glad to attest to that 😀 ) but truly, the comments for Home Fires are humbling to say the least.

I’d be remiss in my thanks not to say a huge “THANK YOU” to Creative Texts and the publisher, Dan Edwards, for the hard work they do editing and proofing my work. I’m not the best typist in the world, or even in my house for that matter, and it takes a lot of work to make me look good. Fortunately I have Dan and his team who work tirelessly on my behalf to make me look like a real author 😀

Thank you so much to those of you who have so thoughtfully left such glowing reviews. I am so glad you enjoyed the book and the series! Lord willing and the river don’t rise, there will be more of Clay and the Sanders outfit soon!

Thank you again a million times over!

 

NCR

AND JUST LIKE THAT

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half the year is way past gone. Two thirds of it in fact. What happened to all the time? I missed some of it somewhere, for real.

I’ve been very busy this year so far, so maybe that’s what happened, but whatever it was, I looked up today and ‘boom’ it’s nearly

 

FOOTBALL SEASON!!!!!!

 

By which of course I mean college football. I haven’t watched an NFL game in years and certainly won’t start now. College football on the other hand gives us all the chance to hate our friends and neighbors for reasons other than the election signs in their yards, 😀

I sometimes wonder what people in other nations think when they see one hundred thousand screaming Americans in a stadium like that. I imagine once in a while that they see us screaming at each other over a game and then try to imagine us at war, and then decide ‘you know, we ‘ll just leave them alone’, ROFL.

But seriously, this year has absolutely run away from me, screaming by like a banshee. It’s not that it’s been a bad year, it’s just gone by really quick.

Anyway, in just a few days we ‘ll be doing the only ‘teeing off’ that I’ve ever had an interest in; Kickoff!

 

NCR

A little bit about how I do things

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“Why so long?”

That is a frequent question I get about the wait between titles, particularly with my “Black Sheep” series.  Some note that I might have two or three other books between each Parno novel, and that is true.

To breakdown how that comes to be, first you have to realize the scope and size of the Black Sheep universe. To quote my nephew, “it has a lot of moving parts”. I like that analogy and have used it often since he said it, because it’s true. There are far more characters in Parno’s world than in say the “Fire” or “Stormcrow” worlds. I should say recurring characters rather than just blanket characters perhaps, but either way it is still accurate.

The truth is that it takes me a good while just to make sure that I haven’t written a character in Parno ‘out of character’, and to make sure that I don’t write something that invalidates something I wrote in an earlier novel. Another reason is that Parno novels tend to be anywhere from half-again larger to twice as large as most of my other works, word count wise. I think every Parno novel has weighed in at over 150k words, whereas most of my other works usually run about 90k, give or take.

Why is it that way? Mostly because it takes that many more words to tell the same amount of story. Because the scope is so much larger and there are so many more characters, it takes a lot more book to cover roughly the same amount of ground. The “Fire” series for instance is kept deliberately limited because it’s meant to be oriented only around the Sanders family and their struggle with the PAW world they live in. I don’t delve into anything else or try to show what may or may not be happening anywhere other than in their immediate area. They are isolated and trying to remain so.

Parno on the other hand is way more massive in size, encompassing almost all of what had once been the Southeastern United States as well as other areas of the eastern part of the country. It deals with governments as well as individuals and includes political realities of their world as well as military issues and personal lives of the characters. Many, many characters.

I tend to work on more than one project at the time as well. I might work half the day on a “Fire” novel, then stop and change to working on a Parno novel, or perhaps a Stormcrow novel, or one of a few other projects I’m trying to make work. If I get on a real roll with one project or another and things are starting to really fall into place, then I stay with that project for as long as that ‘roll’ lasts, which could be a day, two days, or a week. Sometimes I’m blocked on a project and just have to set it aside while I work through that block. Meanwhile I can work on something else.

Such was the case with “Parno’s Peril”. I knew how I wanted the first third or so to read, I knew how I wanted it to end, at least more or less, but connecting the two became an issue. I wrote no telling how many pages that were ultimately deleted because they just felt off. Clunky if you will. No flow, hard to read and uncomfortable. If they read that way for me and I’m the writer, then I have to believe they ‘ll read that way for the my readers as well, and I just don’t want that. Above all else I want people to enjoy reading my works. I’m not usually trying to highlight any particular social issue or political issue or anything else really. I’m just trying to tell a good story that is believable, readable, and above all else enjoyable. At the end of the day if I haven’t entertained the reader, then I failed at my job.

I try to attain realism in all things. I remember that some people felt like Billy Todd showed people having a little too much good luck finding things, but reminded them that over 96% of the world’s population had perished in “Odd Billy Todd”. Of course they’d have ‘luck’ finding things since there weren’t that many people left to compete with.

In Parno, it takes time for a rider on a horse to ride from say Jackson, Tennessee to Nashville. It takes more time to ride from Jackson, Mississippi to Atlanta Georgia. Weeks in fact. So, the story had to cover a lot of time as well as territory. And news travels at the speed of horse, too. What happens on the battlefield won’t be known in the Royal City for days, three at least usually.

It takes a good deal of study and research to write realistic scenarios, and I am an army of one so to speak, so when I’m researching, I’m not writing. Don’t ever let anyone tell you that writing isn’t work, because if you’re intending to tell a good, accurate and believable story then you’re going to have to put in some work, never doubt.

So yes, sometimes it takes me a while to get something done. I wish, sincerely, that I could do it faster, but if I work too fast, then it becomes sloppy, clunky and hard to read. The last thing I want, ever, in my work.

Finally, the truth is that writing a completed “Parno” novel is often exhausting. I slept over twelve hours the day after I delivered “Parno’s Peril” to the publisher, lol. You’d think that sitting in front of computer and writing wouldn’t tire you out, but you’d be wrong. It amazes me even now how tired I can get ‘working’ on a book, lol.

So, that’s a rather simplified look at how I try to work, as well as some of the reasons why writing a “Parno” novel takes longer than my other books. It’s honestly just much more difficult to do. But I enjoy it even so, thus I keep doing it. It doesn’t hurt that people who like what I do tell me that. I always enjoy hearing from people who have read my work and have something to say. Every few days I try to take the time to check here and on my FB page and reply to whatever messages I have been sent so if you want to ask me a question or make a comment, please don’t hesitate to do just that!

NCR

What I’m doing

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Well, Parno’s Peril has been sent off to the publishers. It will have to be sent through the editing process and cover art will have to finalized and all the other things that publishers must do with books, but hopefully I can announce it’s drop date soon. Creative Texts are very good at their work and also very efficient so it shouldn’t be long now.

Parno is an exhausting work as it has so many moving parts as it was once described, and that’s why it takes so long between novels. I find myself checking old works to make sure I’m staying with characters and plots and what not, and after 600k words it’s not as easy as you might think. Or as easy as I thought for that matter, 😀

Anyway, with Parno’s Peril off to the publisher, it’s time for the next “Fire” novel, tentatively entitled “Home Fires”. And (deep breath) I have also decided to try and novelize the story of Detective Bonespear, which so far has appeared nowhere else but on this blog. I have had numerous requests to do so and I have decided to give it a try. We will see what happens.

I am also working on a secret project of my own which I will reveal if it works out. If not then I ‘ll try and think of another secret project, lol, but seriously I do have what I hope will be a pleasant surprise for some, depending on whether or not I can make it work.

I know that I don’t update on this blog as frequently as I should, but as I mentioned once before, time literally escapes me. If I didn’t have a wonderful wife to remind me I needed to eat, I’d probably starve. I’d certainly not make it to doctor’s appointments or important social functions. I don’t mean to be that way, it’s just that my sense of time and my memory don’t work quite like they should. I suppose I spend too much time in the fantasy worlds I create.

At any rate, this is what’s going on in my world. I hope your worlds are turning like they should and wish good things for you all!

Thank you all for your support and encouragement !

 

NCR

Independence Day

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While we spend the week lighting off fireworks, grilling, enjoying time off and generally doing all thing American, take a minute to pause and remember the moral and physical courage demonstrated so long ago by our Founding Fathers as they gathered on this date to declare their independence from England and began the journey that we’re still traveling today.

It’s not always easy to do what must be done. It’s not always enough to play it safe. Sometimes we have to take the road that is not only less traveled by also the road that is most dangerous and entails more risk.

We have a great deal to live up to in America, and an ideal that is worth protecting from any enemy, whether foreign or domestic. We have to have the courage to do that, regardless of how difficult it might be at times. And sometimes it is difficult.

So enjoy the holiday. Enjoy time with family, eating, drinking, making merry, sleeping in, staying up late, all those things that we’ve come to associate with a week long celebration.

But don’t forget why we’re celebrating. Don’t forget the men and women who are this very day making it possible. And don’t forget the courage of men and women throughout history who have shaped this nation. Who had the moral and physical courage to stand and deliver when it counted.

Please have a safe and fun filled holiday!

 

NCR

MY SENSE OF TIME (or lack thereof)

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I exchanged messages with a reader earlier who had become worried about me when I didn’t update my blog. Possibly one of the nicest messages I’ve gotten since I started this whole thing so long ago.

I am horrible at that sometimes, just like I am at other things simply because I literally have no sense of passing time when I’m working. I will be willing to swear that I posted something a week ago, only to look and see that it was actually LAST MONTH.

And then I have to admit all over again that I had no idea how long it had been.

It’s not that I don’t try, because I do. But I swear I’d forget to eat if I didn’t have a wife who will eventually come and ask ‘have you eaten today?’.

At which point I will actually have to stop and think about it because I can’t remember. “Did I have that bowl of cereal this morning? Or was that yesterday morning?” 😛

I will do my best in the future to be more frequent with updates to this blog and maybe try and post some stuff on FaceBook. In the mean while, try to overlook and forgive an absent minded writer who usually can’t even find his phone. (In fact I’m now looking to see if my phone is here. . .it’s not.)

 

NCR