Category Archives: Writing
Here we are at the end of 2017. Looking back, it’s been a long and strange journey, and while that is true of most years, this one had some transcendent moments and a lot of challenges.
When I started the year, I hoped to publish Freedom Squad, because way back in 1990, when I ran Champions adventures at American University, I set the world of Freedom Squad in the near future, 2017, to be exact. My friends and I had a wonderful year of superheroic gaming, and it seemed appropriate that Freedom Squad would enter the world of literature this year, but it wasn’t meant to be. That’s okay, because when the three and a half plus Freedom Squad novels are ready, I want to make sure they release the right way. Read the rest of this entry
My Favorite Song from Kindergarten
I don’t remember as much about kindergarten as I’d like, but for the most part, what I do remember is good. My teacher was phenomenal. She made me feel like I could do anything, and nicely explained when I asked why I couldn’t call her Jane. Mister M with the munching mouth was also a highlight, along with the rest of the letter people. I had a few embarrassing moments that I’ll leave off the internet, but one thing I do remember is my favorite song – Rhinestone Cowboy by Glen Campbell. (It beat out Up, Up and Away by the 5th Dimension and Top of the World by the Carpenters.) Read the rest of this entry
Sitting down to write
I’ve been doing a lot of writing lately, working on The Darker Lord along with some freelance projects, and I have due dates in May and June. It’s been a crazy few months, and there are still other obligations, like my day job, being a Dad and obstacles like allergy season.
Still, one of the biggest obstacles I face is that feeling I get when I sit down and have to write. It’s a little like the picture to the left. I’m staring at my equivalent to the Death Star, a blank page.
It’s a terrifying experience which I think every writer has. Sometimes, you wonder who you are and where these ideas come from and are they any good? You do things even when you start writing and ask, “Should I have put a question mark at the end of the last sentence or a period?” You could even go through this entire sequence of events in your head where everyone wakes up, realizes that your writing is terrible, and you are laughed at ceaselessly.
I want you to know that it’s okay. Just write. It’s simple advice and you can find it all over, but it works. As soon as that blank page is filled with something, it gets easier. You can add to it or subtract from it or rewrite it a dozen times. In the Service of the King (A Crimson Hawks Adventure), started with a simple idea and became a two page short story that I wrote when I was twenty. I wrote the novel nineteen years later, so you never know what might happen.
All writers are afraid or nervous, but get started typing or writing with a pen and fill the page. It helps.
If you have the chance this weekend, April 28-30, please come see me at RavenCon in Williamsburg, VA. It should be a great time.
I’ll be be getting back to The Darker Lord now. All the best!
Happy New Year a bit late plus lots of updates
First, I want to apologize to everyone who checks this blog. I have done a terrible job of blogging over the last two and a half months. Part of it was my day job, part of it was a nasty cold that lingered forever, and a lot of it was writing. Oh and there were some holidays…
So, the biggest news is that The Dark Lord is out in paperback! When John Peck and I wrote The Dark Lord, it was a shift for us from the fractured fairy-tales of The Charming Tales to a parody of epic fantasy. Probably our smartest decision was to put in as many references to geek culture as we felt the story could take, from Star Wars and Star Trek to World of Warcraft, Wizard of Oz, Lord of the Rings and a plethora of Dungeons & Dragons to boot. In addition, there’s what we believe is a pretty good fantasy story with some strong arcane mechanics behind it.
I’m hoping to do a launch party in February or March, though I need to remember to contact my favorite independent bookseller, Fountain Bookstore and coordinate efforts. We decided not to do a launch celebration in December due to the holidays.
Currently, John and I are working on the next two books in the series…The Darker Lord and The Darkest Lord, and we will let the world know release dates when we do. If they are half as much fun to read as they have been to write, we’ll be doing well.
I’ve got two big events in April. First, there’s the Hanover Book Festival on April 22, 2017 where I will join about 50 authors selling my books, doing signings, and meeting with readers at the Richmond Times-Dispatch building off 301 near Richmond, Virginia. I will also have a short story in the Hanover Writer’s Club anthology which should be on sale there. If possible, I may have the release of one of my Blue Oranda titles as well.
The following weekend, I’ll be in Williamsburg as a guest at RavenCon for the third year in a row. Mercedes Lackey, one of my favorite authors, is the guest of honor, and we should have a fantastic time. I’ll be doing a number of panels, although I’m not sure I’ll have a table. As we get closer, I’ll come up with something fun if you find me there.
Anyway, my apologies for going dark on social media. It’s been a bit overwhelming juggling the writing and life, but I think I’m back on the right track (no pun intended). I did complete Nanowrimo again, although it was a bit of a train wreck due to a freelance commitment, which I also completed. I definitely need to edit those 50,000 words before I share too much.
Thank you for visiting my blog!
All the best,
Trapped by The Dark Lord
“Hello, my name is Avery, and I am the Dark Lord.”
Since the end of January, I’ve been working on my next Jack Heckel novel with John Peck, The Dark Lord. It’s a new series, separate from The Charming Tales, focusing on a grad student at an otherworldly mystical university and what happens when his experiment to unite the heroes of a magical world goes terribly wrong. Like the other Jack Heckel novels, it’s a comedic fantasy, though this one is about university life and epic fantasy. In other words, my college experience.
The process of writing consumes a great deal of mental energy. I come home from my day job and after spending time with my family, I shift gears in my head and enter my novel. If things go well, the words flow from my fingertips. If not, I end up forcing myself to write sentence after sentence or worse, I just play some version of Civ or stare into space, becoming more exhausted and hoping inspiration will strike.
This book in particular kept running into real world obstacles. In order to finish the edits, I had to lock myself away at night. As a result, I’ve done a terrible job of keeping up with emails. I know that I currently owe one of my wonderful cousins an email, as well as one of my best friends from high school, and any number of other authors, fans and friends. I haven’t even gone to many baseball games this year, and I love the Richmond Flying Squirrels. I even managed to let my SFWA membership lapse, but it’s back now. In any event, I apologize to everyone awaiting responses from me. It has felt a little like I’ve been walking through a long, dark tunnel.
Fortunately, I’ve escaped. And please don’t get the wrong impression – I really like The Dark Lord and it’s always fun to write with John Peck. It’s just nice to not be writing on a deadline at the moment. Of course, this means I should be working on the next book in The Charming Tales or the sequel to The Dark Lord. Or maybe something else entirely.
Anyway, thank you all for bearing with me and continuing to check this blog. I hope to have some new posts coming, including one on my thoughts about some recent comic book events and one about Doctor Strange.
All the best!
Writing Updates – July
Once again, it’s been a little while since my last blog post. It’s a tough juggling act between writing, real life and marketing my writing (by doing appearances and writing blog posts).
The biggest writing news for me has been the release of The Pitchfork of Destiny by Jack Heckel in paperback. I’ve been really pleased with the initial sales, and I’m happy about the appearances I’ve made with it. In particular, I had a great time at RavenCon in Richmond, VA (thank you, Fountain Bookstore!) and my co-author, John, had a fantastic experience at the Phoenix Comic-Con.
On the Jack Heckel front, John and I finished the first book in a new series, entitled The Dark Lord. The first draft came in at 107,000 words, but I’m sure we’ll cut some material and it will probably come in around 90,000 ish when all is done. It’s an interesting tale of a graduate student at a mystical university who is forced to experience the tropes of an epic fantasy story while traveling to another world. Oh, and he’s got to save his thesis as well, which involves saving that world, which would be easy, except he happens to have been “The Dark Lord.” Like The Charming Tales, it should be amusing, however, it’s more for a teenage audience than The Charming Tales. Read the rest of this entry
Virginia Voice Charity Event
On Sunday, April 10 from 1:30 until 4:00 pm, I have the honor of being a guest at the Writer’s Voice benefit, a fundraiser for Virginia Voice. I’m very thankful to the Hanover Writers Club for this opportunity.
The mission of Virginia Voice is “To connect individuals with disabilities to information using technology and the human voice” with “Eyes for those who cannot see… hands for those who cannot turn pages.” They read newspapers, magazines and books and broadcast them over select radio frequencies. By giving out pre-tuned radios set to receive those frequencies, they enable people who have lost their sight recapture their enjoyment of the printed word. Founded in 1978, Virginia Voice serves about 3,000 listeners in Central Virginia and 1,000 in the Norfolk area thanks to the generosity of many dedicated donors and volunteers.
The Writer’s Voice benefit is open to the public and will include local authors with books available for purchase as well as aspiring writers and Hanover Writers Club members who simply wish to support this effort. There will be speakers from Virginia Voice as well as two notable authors, along with refreshments and door prizes. It’s a great chance to meet local authors, ask questions, do some networking, have fun and support a good cause – all at the same time. Tickets are $25 and all proceeds beyond reimbursement for expenditures will go to Virginia Voice.
If anyone is in the Richmond area and would like to attend, please go to www.virginiavoice.org for tickets. I will have some copies of A Fairy-tale Ending to give away, as well as several Harry Heckel books (such as the Crimson Hawks and Krueger series) for sale.
I also want to mention that in an effort to maximize the donations to Virginia Voice, The Hanover Writers Club and Virginia Voice welcome any businesses or individuals who would like to sponsor this event through monetary or food donations.
Wow… it’s been since November??
It’s obviously been a long few months since I last posted in November. I have a lot to catch everyone up on. So, here’s how Nanowrimo went:
I decided against all possible reason not to quit and keep writing. By a major miracle, I managed to write 39,000 words in ten days and won. You can see the graph on the right.
Never give up.
I’ve very pleased with myself, but also horrified slightly about how stubborn I can be. Nonetheless, mission accomplished, and I have a new Krueger novel to edit this year. I don’t recommend this approach to Nanowrimo. Read the rest of this entry
Spotlight on Michelle Hauck’s Grudging (and a tiny Nano update)
I’m over 10,000 words in Nanowrimo with an update to come, however, one of my fellow Harper authors, Michelle Hauck, has her book, Grudging, release today. I’m a big believer that authors should stick together, so I thought I’d share some information about her. In addition to everything said below, she’s a great human being to boot.