New book: A Riddle of Scars

I am very happy to announce the availability of my fourth novel, A Riddle of Scars. It is sold exclusively through Amazon in paperback, and coming soon, Kindle format. This is book one of a new trilogy, The Pillars of Taesia. I hope to write books two and three in the next two years, respectively.

A Riddle of Scars
A Riddle of Scars, book one in The Pillars of Taesia trilogy.

Work began on this story almost three years ago, but I didn’t actually start writing it until January of this year (2019). Prior to composition, I came up with the story idea over a period of about a month, jotting notes into my paper notebook as I went. After another few months went by, I play-tested several key elements of the plot with my D&D group.

This is the first book I’ve written where I tested out the plot through role-playing. Some things worked better for the RPG format, while others work better in prose form. I synthesized that experience and adjusted the book’s plot accordingly.

It took me about a month to generate my plot event list. This is my version of outlining my plot. I write a single sentence or two to describe each scene and then arrange them in the order they will appear in the book. This gives me a chance to eliminate plot holes and make sure foreshadowing occurs where needed. I also spend some time profiling my characters. I make detailed notes about their physical and emotional characteristics as well as their emotional development, trials, and troubles that will occur throughout the book.

For this project I worked with my editor, Alison, and cover designer Steven Novak. These two brilliant folks have been with me since Ohlen’s Bane, my second novel. Novak actually helped me revamp the cover to my first book, Ohlen’s Arrow, so technically speaking he’s been with me almost since the beginning of my writing career.

Alison played a key role on this project, not only by providing proofreading and editing services par excellence, but also by helping me flesh out the characters and giving them even more life than I had hoped. When I was close to beginning work on the project, I decided that if she wasn’t on board, I wouldn’t write the book at all.

A Riddle of Scars is available at Amazon.com.

Coming soon: A Riddle of Scars

As mentioned previously, I’ve been working on my fourth novel, A Riddle of Scars, since the first of the year. I’m nearing the end of primary composition and hope to have it completed within the next 10 days or so.

My goal is to have the book published and ready for sale by the middle of June, 2019, and so far that goal is very realistic.

In other news, I’m participating in a book signing at Goin’ Gaming in Troutdale. The owners and my friends, Becky and Allen, are hosting the event. It is Saturday May 4th, 2019, beginning at 1 PM. I hope to see you there!

A Riddle of Scars

And so it begins … again.

I have begun the process of writing another book. This will be my fourth novel, continuing the Taesia series. My vision is to write a trilogy of trilogies. Three series of three books each. The first trilogy is The Taesian Chronicles, with book one: Ohlen’s Arrow, book two: Ohlen’s Bane, and book three: Paragon’s Call.

A Riddle of Scars will be the first book of the second trilogy, or book four in the overall series. The second trilogy is tentatively called The Pillars of Taesia.

Currently I’m in the planning phase of the project. I’m finalizing the plot design and character names. Next steps include character development, where I create write-ups about each main character. These describe their appearance, background, motivations, fears, and other key elements. I refer to these notes when writing scenes and dialog to make sure I am staying consistent with their personalities and actions.

After that, I’ll be writing up my Plot Event List. Some would call this an outline, but I don’t because it’s just a list, not something in outline format. My Plot Event List is a series of single sentence descriptions of every scene in the book, arranged in the order they will appear. I use this as a roadmap when primary writing begins.

Although I don’t have an ETA on when the book will be finished, I do hope to have the primary composition completed by mid to late spring 2019.

Stay tuned!

If you want to teach, here’s a great example

I recently decided to take up guitar again. I used to play back in the 90’s and gave it up when I traded my guitar rig (Epiphone Les Paul and Line 6 POD) for a laptop around 2003 or 2004. I messed around with bass guitar for about a year and had some fun with that, but I wasn’t playing it often enough to continue so I sold my bass.

Recently I bought another Les Paul and a Digitech multi-effects pedal and decided to try my hand at electric guitar once again. I was never very good at it, but I always enjoyed it.

Training videos didn’t exist the last time I had an electric guitar. My, how times have changed! With the advent of YouTube, you can practically watch videos explaining how to perform brain surgery in the comfort of your own home (where is Gary Larson when you need him?)

The first thing I searched for were charts of scales and chords. Those are easy enough to find and print out. The next thing I searched for were YouTube videos produced by guitar teachers. I found the best there is:

JustinGuitar.com

Justin has been teaching guitar for most of his career and is a natural. There are those who are great at something but can’t teach it effectively. There are those who are great teachers but not that great at the skill itself. Justin is both. After watching some of his videos and reviewing his web site (I’m now a member), it’s obvious he’s both a very hard worker and a genuinely nice chap.

Membership to JustinGuitar.com is free, although donations are happily accepted. His videos are freely available on YouTube, although I strongly suggest those that are interested in learning guitar sign up for a free membership and make a donation. Its cheaper than in-person lessons and you can watch them in any order you wish, as often as you wish, or watch the same ones multiple times.

One of the biggest advantages of setting up an account at JustinGuitar.com is the lesson plans. Justin maps out lesson courses based on your skill level and goals. Following the lesson plans are easy and you can check each lesson off as you complete them.

Justin’s teaching style is very approachable and he has an affable personality that makes the beginner feel very comfortable and at ease.

One of the things I’m impressed about the most, though, is Justin’s approach to teaching in general. It is thorough yet approachable, it is complete yet easy to follow, and it is encouraging throughout the entire experience. Justin not only has a knack for teaching, but he has an organized approach and method that I think would be a valuable lesson to anyone seeking to teach others.

Justin, good on ya!