Progress Rapport

That title isn’t a typo. It’s clever…trust me.

“No, no. When you have to explain your jokes they’re not clever anymore. We’ve talked about this, Josh.”

This post is about how book 3 is coming along (spoiler: great!) and also some ideas I’ve been mulling to keep you folks up to date in fun and useful ways. A very cool lady at Facebook told me I should be updating my blog more often to build better communication with you awesome people, and…yeah, she’s totally right. I live so much in my own head that sometimes I forget to actually interact with reality. So here I am! In reality! …Virtually.

First, book 3 is so much fun right now. I wish I could tell you more but I don’t want to spoil any of the coolness. I will say that it’s shaping up to be a bit of a marriage between the styles of Hero Forged and Fate Lashed, and I really like it so far. The story is going exactly where I’d hoped, while also doing things I honestly never expected along the way. The whole thing goes in for various rounds of editing starting in October, so I’m still shooting for this Winter to release it in all formats. But some of the voices, you guys…I’m so excited to start recording this thing!

I’ll also say that I still have that short story coming soon. It went slightly over my goal of 5,000 words, (11,000…oops) and the events happen right near the end of Fate Lashed. James is the main man in this one, and I’m hoping to get some time to record it when elementary school starts back up in a week and my house gets quiet enough for it again. 🙂 There’s also another short(er) story on the way, but that’ll get finished and polished when book 3 goes in for edits. If you’re signed up for my newsletter or you clicked on the button to follow this blog you’ll get those stories, including audio, for free.

“Ooooooh! Something from Josh! I wonder what informative delights he has for me this month? Good thing I’m amazing and decided to follow his silly blog!”

And now the rapport part. See? It came around.

I’m trying to figure out the best way to keep everyone informed without bugging people too much…and while still maintaining a decent flow of information for folks who like that sort of thing. So I’m considering options like recording audio versions and even possibly doing videos. Though for the latter, I suppose I’ll have to shave and be presentable and not be constantly eating pie with my bare hands. I guess.

Is there anyone on earth that actually wants to see a video from me or hear me ramble without a script? Drop a comment below if you have any opinions (or good pie recipes) and I’ll try to work up a couple trial runs for the different formats in the next few weeks. And, as always, thanks for being cool!

Book 3 Progress and Short Stories!

You and I are both busy, so I’ll keep this short. Book 3 is shaping up nicely, with a crazy plot and some new and returning characters, and my plan is to get a solid draft done by mid-summer. The intention is to have the whole thing edited and recorded and released by early winter, which keeps me on track for something like eight or nine month between books. It’s an aggressive schedule for something I’m writing, narrating, and mastering myself, but I suppose I have to be aggressive about at least one thing in my life.

Pictured: Me

The reality is that my books are longish for the genre, and I probably make them more nuanced than they strictly need to be. And I definitely fuss over the audiobook narration way more than is recommended… But I just can’t do it any differently, you know? I like writing layers into the story, and I love letting the characters grow across the pages. And for me, that takes at least 130,000 words per book…if not way more. Could I make them shorter and faster? Sure. And they’d probably sell better for the quicker release times. But I wouldn’t be happy about it. And the stories wouldn’t be the same.

Less unsettling weird crap, for instance.

So to keep things rolling while you wait, I’m also working on a few short stories to fall between releases. And once those are done and polished, I’ll be recording audio versions to send to newsletter and website followers. (Like you, right?) The first one is about James, and it falls during the events of Fate Lashed to let you know what he’s been up to. And the second one goes back a bit to fall between books 1 and 2 to expand on the time Gabe and Heather spent in the cabin. There’s no firm release date on those yet, but keep an eye out in the coming months. I’ll try to get them recorded as soon as book 3 goes in for edits.

Oh! I should also let you know that Fate Lashed finally became available in Whispersync mode on Amazon a few weeks ago. So if you already picked up the kindle version, you can get the audio at a sweet discount.

As always, thank you for being around and being interested. I’m having a blast with this series, and it’s nice to know some of you are too!

Fate Lashed is Live on Audible!

There’s a longer version of this story I’ll share later, but for now, Fate Lashed is FINALLY live on Audible today!

Ultimately, it came down to me being slightly too optimistic about how fast I could edit the last tracks. Plus, I really wanted it to be as perfect as I could make it. I did way more than I expected to, and still never enough. But now it’s out and I hope you have a good time with it! I had a blast writing and recording it, and I’m so thankful I get to do it all again for the future installments.

Thank you so much, as always. And I’d love to hear what you think when you’re done! With any luck, I didn’t mess this up too badly. 🙂

Fate Lashed is out today!

I’ve got so much to do yet, so I’ll be quick with this one. Fate Lashed is out today in ebook and print!

This cover still makes me so happy.

This is the next book in the Ethereal Earth series after Hero Forged, and I should warn you right away that it has a bit of a different feel. This is going to be a long series if I have my way, so I want each book to be a little different from the last to keep things fun. This is where that starts. While we began in Hero Forged with introductions and hints and laying out the map, Fate Lashed is like hitting the gas to get on the open road. It’s more action/adventure this time, and the next book will be different too. Maybe an intricate mystery? Maybe a deeper dive into horror with all that snark to keep it fun? Or maybe we’ll go really crazy and do a prim Victorian Romance… Who am I kidding? There’s no way I’d get Heather into a corset.

And as for the audiobook…it’s soooo close! Everything is recorded, and it’s about 75% edited as of today. And as soon as I’m done writing this, I’m going back to it. My hope is that I’ll be back here in less than three weeks to give you that beautiful Audible link. Audio is my favorite though, so I have to make sure it’s as close to perfect as I can make it!

As always, thank you so much for reading and listening! I absolutely couldn’t do this without you.

Josh

Fate Lashed!

That’s it. That’s the title of the sequel to Hero Forged…minus the exclamation point.

Fate Lashed. I kinda dig it. And here’s another cool thing:

Fate Lashed will be released on Amazon in ebook and print on 2/7/19! (Audiobook info below.)

There’s even a preorder link.

And a goodreads link if you want to add it to your lists…

Look out world, Josh is getting organized.

And finally, the cover. For Hero Forged, I hired a Graphic Designer to reach into my swirling vat of design ideas and pull out something good. And I was really happy with what he gave me. But this time I wanted to carry that aesthetic further and commission a piece of completely original art. Something I could point to among the countless other covers out there and say is totally mine. So I joined forces with a friend, the incomparable Tyler J. Rinne, and tossed a bunch of vague nonsense at him until he ripped this cover straight from the Ether:

fate lashed cover 1

I just…LOVE this. I actually catch quite a bit of flack over the first cover–for being a little plain, or for not matching the Urban Fantasy genre, or for not telegraphing the story enough, or for not having pretty colors. There are also no beautiful people in leather jackets holding glowing swords on the gritty, gritty streets… But all those reasons are why I like that cover. It’s weird and different and pulls you in to read the blurb so you can speculate on what the crap this ridiculous book is even about. That’s the whole point. And I think this cover cranks those knobs up another notch in all the best ways. Plus, it’s totally original and from a fellow professional artist. I got to pay a talented friend real money to do art for my art because you want our art. Awesome.

As for the audiobook, that’s happening fast, friends. It’s still me as the narrator (for better or worse) and I’ll be finishing the recording this week. Then it’s on to editing, which should take another two weeks or so. If I’m really lucky, I’ll submit it to Audible and they’ll race it through processing to get it out with the other formats. But I can’t count on that, so I really shouldn’t promise it. My best guess is that it’ll take up to two more weeks to get into the Audible store. But believe me when I say that I will let you know the MINUTE it’s ready to go. Audio is my favorite format, so I’ll be ushering this thing with velvet gloves all the way to the finish line. Thanks for being cool and waiting a little longer. In the meantime, here’s a prologue to check out.

And the preorder link one more time. (I wish I could do one for Audible. Someday they’ll build that function)

You should also go check out Tyler J. Rinne’s stuff!

And if you want a little more fun, there’s this post over at the Weatherwax Report!

Know New News Now

Yikes, things have been quiet here for a while… Sorry about that! I’ve been frantically working on the latest draft of the sequel to Hero Forged, and I wanted to have something really juicy to tell you about when I kicked out a new blog post. Fortunately, I have several things!

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“Thank you for agreeing to listen while I drone on incoherently and pretend to be funny. It’s my only skill set.”

First, I wanted to thank you for being here at all. I’ve had a bunch of new people sign up for updates since the audiobook came out, (woo hoo!) and I can’t tell you how cool that feels. I tried to do the professional author thing and get links and ads and stuff synergized to direct everyone to the right places, but I’m still not convinced I did any of it correctly. That means you probably had to make an extra effort to sidestep my clumsy directions to get here…which is so awesome of you.

Second, I wanted to thank everyone that’s gone the extra mile to leave comments, ratings and reviews. As I write this, Hero Forged has something like a thousand ratings and reviews across Audible, Amazon, and Goodreads combined, and that absolutely blows my mind. I’ve read them all multiple times, and I’ve loved getting that feedback and motivation as I tweak the next book. I wish I could respond to all of them personally, but most of the platforms don’t let me. Or maybe I just haven’t figured out how yet.

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“Dearest RadGirl173, Thank you ever so much for favorably comparing me to Neil Gaiman…even if it was while you were fairly intoxicated.”

Next, I have Book Two news! The latest draft is finished and off to the editor, who will then hopefully help me find where I’ve gone wrong or stupid. I personally think it’s a really fun story, and it definitely kicks off quite a bit faster than the first book. The artist is also working on the cover design now, so I hope to have some news about that and the official title in the next month or two.

Which brings me to the release date for Book Two… I don’t quite have it yet. I mean, I’m 90% sure it’s going to be in January 2019, which is really not so far away, but there are a few too many moving parts to nail down an exact date. The book itself will probably be done and ready in another month or two, but I REALLY want to release in all formats at the same time. That means getting the recording and audio mastering done and submitted to Audible, which might not go perfectly to plan. So it will likely be November or December when I post a release date, and that’ll be followed with a flurry of news about preorders, cover reveals, contests, and other fun stuff. I promise it will be worth the wait.

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I… I promise!

Finally, Hero Forged is in a few contests. The first one is SPFBO (Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off) run by Mark Lawrence of Broken Empire and Red Queen’s War fame. He and ten big book bloggers run this year-long event to whittle 300 entrants down to 60(ish) semi-finalists, then 10 finalists who’ll compete for the lauded selfie stick trophy. It’s a really cool community with a bunch of amazing indie authors and bloggers, and Hero Forged moved on to semi-finalist status in the first round of reviews! It’s unlikely I’ll make it any farther than that based on the competition, but I’m thrilled to be where I am. You should definitely check out the other books in this thing. There are some real gems in there, not to mention some great bloggers reviewing great stuff you might be interested in.

And finally, I just found out today that Hero Forged has been shortlisted for Best Self-Published Novel in the Booknest Fantasy Awards! I’m not sure how it happened, but I’m thrilled all the same. And there’s a public vote going on right now for that and a few other categories until Oct. 31st. If you find yourself with an extra second or two, and you want to saunter over there to drop in a vote for me, that would be mighty nice of you! Again, I don’t really expect to win based on the quality of the competition, but it would be pretty cool if I did. The trophy is an engraved sword, you guys…

For real. My wife HAS to let me hang this up if it’s technically an award…

Thanks again for everything. If you want smaller, more regular updates, check out my Facebook page. Otherwise, I promise to get these blog posts out a little more often while still keeping them relevant to the books. I suppose I could pad out my posts with my random day-to-day thoughts, but I like you way too much to inflict that on you.

Audios Amigos!

Yes, that blog title is supposed to be spelled that way. The audiobook version of Hero Forged finally released today!

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This is a big deal for me, because…man it was hard to do. I’m not a professional voice artist or an audio engineer, but I LOVE audiobooks and knew I wanted to do one for this release. But it’s extremely expensive to get one produced by professionals if you’re just starting out like me. Totally worth it, I’m sure, but tough to justify at this point in my career.

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“Yes ma’am, your voice is amazing. But you’re going to bankrupt me if you can’t dial it back below incendiary.”

So I rolled up my sleeves and learned how to do it myself. First, my friend Geoff figured out what I’d need to get the best results in a home studio. Then my friends and family pitched in and got me the stuff for Christmas last year. It was a fun couple of months learning how to use everything and finding out EXACTLY why it costs so much to produce an audiobook, but I think the end result turned out fairly well. I was able to parlay some years of acting and singing experience into something like competence in this, so I hope everyone really enjoys it.

 

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Though, maybe slightly less than…whatever’s happening here.

You can find the audiobook on:

Amazon

or

Audible

And if you’re not a member yet, you can get a free 30-day trial and download my book for the low cost of nothing. Everyone wins!

If you do check it out, please consider leaving a review on Amazon or Goodreads afterward to let me know how you liked it. The same goes for the e-book version if you’ve read that. Every positive review helps me out quite a bit, and I really appreciate them! Thanks!

Josh

Release Day!

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It’s finally here! I’m not going to make this post super long because we’ve all got better things to do. But I’m pleased to announce that HERO FORGED has officially been released! It’s out in the wild and there’s nothing I can do to make it any better than it is. As an eternal tinkerer that’s a tough reality for me, believe me, but I sincerely hope you like it.

I owe quite a few people thanks for helping me get to this point, but most notably my family and friends. I can’t tell you how much I appreciate your support and interest and likes and shares and overall general lack of making fun of me for giving this a shot. It’s a powerful thing to be believed in by even one person; it’s even more so when it comes en masse and without reservation. Thank you.

Here’s the Amazon Link.

Or if you’re outside the US, try this one. It’s a Universal Book link that will redirect you to the right page no matter where you are in the world.

I’m really looking forward to hearing what you think. Even if the book doesn’t sound like something you’d be interested in and you’re just checking out the page for fun, I’d still like to hear from you. Every ounce of feedback helps me get better at this, and that’s valuable in its own right.

Now I’m off to pace a hole in my floor…