August 2017 Update

Author rendition of a Dasheel firebird.
The Dasheel Phoenix (The red firebird)

[Note: This will be one of my last detailed blasts as I will now be using my newsletter to share progress reports. Fear not, I’ll still post new book releases here after my newsletter receives them.]

Huzzah! Yesterday, I conquered a scene in a chapter of The Demon Lord of California. It was giving me fits for months. With that roadblock behind me, things are picking up speed.

Throwing a teaser out here, that problem chapter deals squarely with cementing the relationship between Calico and Agustin. While this fun urban fantasy novella is so close to being done, it will require some clean up before it’s ready. Hopefully not long!

But right now, I’m drained.  So I thought I would torment my dark fantasy readers and say The Phoenix Hatchling is still very much on the table.

As I’ve mentioned before, I’m writing Hatchling in tandem with The Phoenix Fledgling, because it’s pretty much a continuation of a larger sub-storyline. Both books already have solid foundations,  they just need some fleshing out.  That means, once Hatchling finally gets released, Fledgling won’t be too far behind.  Also, a good chunk of the fourth book is also done, but has been gathering dust. Click here to read more about that.

With the creation of my email newsletter, over the next few months, I just might drop a few teaser chapters of Demon Lord and Phoenix Hatchling. But the catch is you have to be signed up get them.

Also exclusive to my newsletter, and coming soon, are character bios, portraits, and listenable theme music. I may also be telling secrets from time to time.

Sign up now and get the dark fantasy ebook novel, Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs, for free. Don’t forget to leave a short review, and share with your friends.

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The Dark Fantasy Mailing List

Do you love a gritty dark fantasy that thinks outside the box? One not for the faint of heart? A tale that will twist your heartstrings and rage against injustice?

I’m offering the ebook Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs (TRAMM) for FREE when you subscribe to my mailing list.

TRAMM is about Pony, a bipedal half-breed centaur mail carrier with a mysterious and tragic past. Discovering the truth behind that painful past leads to an even more complicated future.

Click on the image to sign up and get your free ebook.

What else will you offer over time, you ask? Newsletters are all about you, the reader. Each gem sent should have something of value and excitement to YOU.

  • You’ll be informed of upcoming and new releases, special deals, and important updates before anyone else.
  • Cover art reveals.
  • Secret insider information.
  • Coming soon: Subscriber-only access to character profiles, portraits from professional artists, and playable theme music.
  • From time to time, there will be teaser chapters–again a subscriber-only treat.
  • Other pertinent offerings I’ll think of in the future.
  • Also, be sure to check your spam folder if you’re missing an email.
  • Enjoy!

Dividing Plots: The Phoenix Hatchling

Book 1 of The Seasons of the Phoenix

(Just a reminder: The Phoenix Hatchling is still a work in progress with no release date scheduled.)

Calico from Infinity 8 must have slipped out for donuts, but he could be back any minute. While he’s run off WITHOUT ME (huffs in offense), I’ve turned to The Phoenix Hatchling manuscript.

Over the last few days, I’ve realized how I can flesh out Hatchling since I made the decision to cleave it in half. A few weeks back, I split this story because Plot A and Plot B were:

1) seriously overpowering each other and butting heads
2) really had nothing to do with each other
3) was making the book into a uber doorstopper even longer than Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs
4) Plot A’s abrupt ending would not provide a sense of satisfaction or completion, especially since it slid like a home run into Plot B.
5) the ending of Plot B would have been rushed, crappy and unfulfilling.

Even as I do this, I am still disappointed that I had to sideline a character (Plot B) until book 3. But it works better this way.

Who is this sidelined character for book three? I can’t give away all the secrets just yet, but I’m sure you know if you’ve read The Phoenix Embryo.  As for the title of book 3, that I can tell you. Book 3 is called The Phoenix Fledgling. I also think this title matches Plot B much better.

So, you ask, what’s in store for Hatchling then? Well, I’ll just say Trose was down, but not out.

The Phoenix Embryo – Updated Cover

 The Phoenix Embryo book 1

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo | Smashwords

Here it is. The long awaited cover revision of The Phoenix Embryo. Book one tells the story of 13-year-old-goddess-devotees seeking redemption during a seven year exile, and the overall series begins with Acanthus Breese searching for his missing goddess. But that quest is far easier compared to the many lifetimes that await him, and what his phoenix heritage requires of him in the future.

The cover and book files should be updated across platforms by Monday or Tuesday, which is around the first of May. Print copies will take a little longer as I need to order proof copies, then approve them for publication.

I also want to give a special thank you and shout out to my new cover artist for this series, Nazanin Nemati, and to Deranged Doctor Design.

How to Conquer Writer’s Block

We all get stuck writing at one time or another. And it often returns to haunt us. So I made up a short list of things one can do in effort to get over this wall.

1. Switch up your medium. If your primary source is banging out words on the computer, move to pencil and paper. Preferably a notebook of some kind to keep it all neat and orderly. Or try a tape recorder. Smart phones have one built right in. Transcribe during your next session at the keyboard.

2. Change the font size and font face of your document. Having a new visual perspective can fool your brain into a reboot of sorts. It may also help with screen fatigue.

3. Reboot yourself. Leave the computer and go for a walk or putter around the house doing chores. It can really help to clear your head if you’re focusing on another task.

4. Explosions and kicking in the door. Another think to break the hold of writer’s block is to stir things up by having someone knock at the door or kick it in. Explosions or space ship crashes can do that as well. You don’t need to keep said scenes in your book if you don’t want to, but this exercise provides the chance to view your characters and scenes from a different angle.

5. Music or complete silence. Be it character theme songs or your old favorites. Listen to the beats, the themes, and the melodies to create the moods you’re searching for.  Some writers also need just quiet. And sometimes silence works best, depending upon one’s mood. 

5 ½.  Ambient stations can help you focus.  The internet is full of them. Free ones, and paid subscriptions. Check out my detailed blog post of them here.

6. Talk it out. If you don’t have support at home, turn to the internet. Find other writers who will support you and who are interested in your work. Sign up for Skype or use Facebook messenger. Yahoo messenger if they’re still around. Anything that will provide an instant conversation to examine what your blocks are.

6 ½. Find a moment and just close your eyes. Turn your thoughts inward. Hash it out with the characters who are giving you the big middle finger. What do they want? Listen to what they’re telling you. If they’re still giving you the cold shoulder, start offering them goodies to see what peaks their interest. Pancakes? A phone call? A new car? A date? A much needed vacation? Sometimes bribes work wonders. Just be certain to follow through with those bribes because if you don’t, they…will…remember and may cause more trouble for you in the future.

7.  When you do start writing, consider stopping right smack dab in the middle of a sentence or even character dialog.  That can provide the momentum needed to launch yourself in your next writing session. 

8. Know your ending and where you’re going in the story. If you’re a pantser, toy with writing a short synopsis or a “lead in” of sorts.  

9. Lastly, here’s a super simple one. Clean up your work space and dust off your keyboard. Physical clutter instills mental clutter and that can cause a frustration you’re not even aware of. A neat space often translates into a calm and focused mind which means more words! Now get out and write.

Coming soon: A New Phoenix Embryo Cover

April 2017 Newsletter

AcanthusbyMax
Acanthus Breese by M. Mercury

Just a heads up for any Seasons of the Phoenix fans. A brand new, all different cover for The Phoenix Embryo will be revealed by the end of April. It will knock your socks off!

I’ve also scheduled a June appointment for The Phoenix Hatchling’s cover to be painted. That means I’ll be unearthing the completed draft of book 2 in May and examining it with a magnifying glass.

While Hatchling does not have a release date, I can assure you I’m back on track with this series. It took me some time (years) to pick myself up and dust off after so many setbacks. Setbacks that involved realizing I needed to believe in myself, the stories I wanted to write, and to stop worrying about what other people thought of them.

I did feel that I compromised a lot on, and held back on both my dark fantasy novels: The Phoenix Embryo, and Through Rain and Missing Mantaurs. Such a shame. Because I was trying to fit into mainstream markets and be generally accepted. I realize now what a huge mistake that was. So here’s to the struggle of rising like the phoenix, and completely breaking out of the mold!

Dark fantasy updates March 2017

I’m having great fun working on my urban fantasy series of Infinity 8, even if the main character, Calico Winghorse, takes immense delight in keeping me on my toes. Again, if you’re interested in I8, please visit the Infinity 8 site.

However, this particular blog is set aside for my dark fantasy. So, sometime in late April or early May, I will start gearing up to work on my Seasons of the Phoenix saga. Book 2, called The Phoenix Hatchling, has already been written, but requires some in-depth restructuring. I will share more when the time comes.

You’ll be excited to know that a revised cover reveal is coming up in the next two months. Yes, it’s for book 1: The Phoenix Embryo. After a long search, I came across a fantastic artist who will be handling my Phoenix saga covers.  Teaser: phoenix birds will grace the covers. More on that later.

Lastly, is a report on my neglected Elemental Rain trilogy featuring Pony, a bipedal half breed centaur. The plot line, as well as many of the characters have run into some very tangled complications. I’m working on it when they have something to whisper in my ear. There is hope for it, but it’s not on the schedule just yet. Until next time!