While You’re Waiting….

Good news! We’ve got an official release date now for The Dragonprince’s Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #3). From my publisher, Consortium Books:

We plan to release The Dragonprince’s Heir on Tuesday, June 26th, along with the debut epic fantasy Schism by Courtney Cantrell.

That’s just two weeks away! Some of you have already applied for Advance Reading Copies of the book, but the rest won’t have long to wait.

In the meantime, here are a few things you could do to help support my writing and your own entertainment:

Contribute to the Kickstarter campaign

There’s only a few days left on the KickStarter campaign, but it’s an opportunity for you to support a good cause and pre-order your personalized e-book or signed first-edition paperback.

Check it out, and spread the word!

Review My Books

If you’ve enjoyed any of my books, please leave a review. It makes more of a difference than you might imagine. One of the biggest things you can do to support me as a writer (right after “Buying my books” and “Recommending them to your friends”) is leaving a review at Amazon.com.

Find more stories to love

Some of you have mentioned how desperate you are for new reading material. Maybe that’s just a cynical bid for extra consideration when it comes to getting an Advance Reading Copy of The Dragonprince’s Heir, but I’m going to take those comments at face value and offer you the recommendations I can:

More Stories from the World of the FirstKing

I have two other short stories related (if obliquely) to the cataclysmic dragonswarms that underpin the Dragonprince Trilogy.

I also have another short story from the same universe, focusing on a different era altogether (and a whole new magic system). Grab a copy of the first issue of our anthology, A Consortium of Worlds, and look for “The Bloodshield Betrayal.”

Superhero Fantasy from the World of Auric

If you’ve already read all the dragonswarm stuff, I’ve got another whole universe of fantasy to offer. The World of Auric features a brand new genre, “superhero fantasy,” where larger-than-life adventurers battle sinister supervillains in a setting that is pure, epic fantasy.

If those two short stories seem like a cruel tease, you’ll be glad to know I’ve got a feature-length novel under development (Oberon’s Dreams), and we’ve specced out at least three epic trilogies featuring these heroes.

Ghost Targets

And if you’re willing to venture outside the realms of epic fantasy, I’ve got a whole trove of other stories to share with you. The Ghost Targets series features a near future dominated by total universal surveillance…and the FBI team dedicated to tracking down those people rich or powerful enough to escape the attention of the database archive.

That series will eventually run to 25 books, but those four should be enough to keep you busy until The Dragonprince’s Heir comes out. I’m awfully proud of them.

Other Consortium Authors

If you’ve already read everything I have to offer, you can still discover other up-and-coming stars by checking out any of the other writers published through Consortium Books.

The easiest (and cheapest) way to do that is to pick up an issue of our short story anthology, where you’ll find stories from a half a dozen different writers for just $2.99.

Cracking Skulls

When I was young, my parents owned a little hobby farm outside a little town outside Tulsa. This surprises people who know me now, but as a kid I spent all my time outdoors. I never got into comic books or G. I. Joe and Transformers, because I wouldn’t sit still long enough.

I loved to be out on our land, roaming through the hills and trees or splashing through the streams. Out there in the woods, I was some kind of hero. Sometimes King Arthur, sometimes Robin Hood, sometimes Robinson Crusoe surviving the in wild.

And then, sometimes I was David, the shepherd boy who would be king. I didn’t know the sadder stories then, just that it all began with a shepherd boy who would be king. And I was a shepherd boy.

My parents had a little herd, and we had a bit of grazing land just down the hillside, and I would sit on an outcrop of stone and watch the sheep and tell myself adventure stories. It felt right, that I should be a shepherd. It was a proper beginning to the story of my life. I probably complained at the chore, but the narrative element pleased me anyway.

But sometimes the narrative broke down.

Sheep are big and brutish creatures, but mostly they’re pretty easy to care for. I was…maybe eight or nine. I wasn’t very big, but I could swing the gate to let them run off down the hill, and when the sun was setting I could chivvy them back up and pour the feed.

The only problem, really, were the rams. They were always big and mean, and we had one or two I hated. They were dumb, and mostly easy to avoid, but once or twice I got a smacking from one of them and ended up bruised and bitter.

I remember one harsh winter, when the snow lay thick and we’d burned through our stock of firewood, and we finally got a break in the bad weather. Dad decided to take advantage of it, so he bundled up us kids–my two sisters and me–and told us we’d go out playing in the snow! He took us to the top of the long, wooded slope, pointed to the bare wall outside the back door, and told us to go gather firewood.

We went off grumbling, but it was not a miserable task. We kicked at the snow, and slipped and slid along the hillside, and threw snowballs at each other from fortified positions. Maybe we grabbed a stick now and then, but mostly we were playing.

And then, seeing how much we were benefiting from a little time outdoors and thinking the sheep had been cooped up just as long, Dad turned them loose to go romping in the snow. He was not a harsh taskmaster. He left his two flocks playing, and went to gather the wood we really needed.

Alas, that blasted ram found us, and he was in a rotten mood. Up along the fenceline at the top of the hill, I was playing with my sisters when the beast came charging along, his little hooves churning up mud and snow, his huge, curved horns lowered for the strike. Someone screamed. We ran. We dodged. Perhaps one of us slipped on ice and went sprawling, and shouted nobly, “Leave me! Save yourselves!”

I…don’t remember precisely how it happened, but in the end he treed us. The stupid, woolly behemoth had all three of us straddling one low-hanging limb, and he was stamping and pawing at the ground below, snorting great gouts of steamy sheep breath. We shouted and hollered for someone to come rescue us, and our knight in shining armor was my dad.

He came trundling down the path, head cocked curiously at the sight of his three kids arrayed on an ominously sagging sycamore limb. And there below us was his prize ram. Dad had proved more productive than the rest of us, and he came innocently down the path, his arms loaded with big, cut logs.

Oh, how many times had we tried to convince him this animal was a dangerous monster? He’d never believed us, but now the beast spotted him and turned his way. We tried to shout a warning to him, but he couldn’t understand our clamor. We could only watch as the creature, mad with rage, charged straight at our helpless father.

As it got close, his eyes got wide. He shouted, “Yelp!” and dropped his load of timber. Six stove-size logs fell like hammer-blows on the sheep’s hard skull, and the animal stumbled drunkenly past my dad, then sank down in the snow for a nap.

My sisters and I dropped to the ground and ran toward Dad, cheering and laughing that the beast had finally met its match. That must have shown him! Go Dad! What a hero.

But he wasn’t laughing. He ignored our celebration and left the wood he’d cut and gathered where it had fallen. He went to the animal and bent down over it, raised its head and gently prodded at the spot the logs had hit.

There a spot of shiny blood in the dense black wool. It wasn’t much, and rams are famous for their hard skulls, but Dad had hurt one his animals. I saw him cry a tear or two while he checked the wound, while he checked that the animal was only stunned, then he sent me to the house for gauze and some antibiotic ointment. He nursed the wretched monster like some precious pet, and in the end we all five walked together back to the yard.

I borrowed something of that memory for “Auric and the Wolf.” It’s one I think of often. I’ve learned a lot from my dad, and most of it was not when he was lecturing.

Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.


My day job is killing me.

I’m not complaining! My day job is a dream come true. It’s also a frantic sprint from the moment I wake up until I collapse every night.

Writing is not exactly the leisurely, contemplative life I imagined as a kid.


I think last time I posted I was panicking about a deadline for the first third of Faith (Ghost Targets, #5). I made the deadline. It was a close-run thing, but I managed 12,000 words in three days while out of state celebrating my in-laws’ anniversary.

When I got home, I turned in my pages to the professor and then immediately started panicking about my next deadline. That’s the one you all care about, I’m sure.

The Dragonprince’s Heir

I’m attempting to complete The Dragonprince’s Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #3) as the final project for my Master of Professional Writing degree from the University of Oklahoma. In April I’ll submit a finished manuscript to a panel of three much-published authors (Deborah Chester, J. Madison Davis, and Mel Odom), and then a couple weeks later I’ll have to go before them and defend it as a publishable work.

If they approve it, I’ll receive my Master’s degree. If they don’t, I won’t. Simple as that. This is my masterpiece, in the original sense. It’s fitting that it’s also the culmination of the series that made me famous.

But given the importance of that project, I hate that I’m having to rush it as much as I am. The book is about 2/3 done at 60,000 words, and I have the rest plotted and outlined, but I’m rapidly running out of school year.

In short, I need to write 30,000-40,000 words (approximately 120-150 pages) in the next three weeks.That will leave me just one week to revise the whole thing up to a standard my judges will consider “publishable.”

The good news is that it’ll leave me seven weeks to publish it. That’s longer than any of our projects has ever had to process through Consortium Books. Again, given the importance of the project, I love that we’ll be able to take it slow.

Into the Flames

And with all this hanging over me, I had to interrupt my writing time last weekend because of a critical deadline at my day job. My other day job, I guess I should say.

This week we published Jessie Sanders’s debut novel, Into the Flames, which is a young-adult urban fantasy with some incredibly engaging characters. I read it as a partial manuscript over a year ago, approved it as a rough draft, and spent the last year waiting anxiously to find out what it became.

That finally happened last weekend. Two days before we took it to press, I finally cleared my schedule and curled up with my Kindle to read the final draft.

It was phenomenal (of course). Halfway through the afternoon Saturday, I looked up at the end of a particularly exciting scene and said, “Is this really my job?”

I love it. I love the writing, and I love the publishing, too. Every bit of it makes me better at my craft and brings better works to the reading public. That’s a rewarding feeling.

Auric and the Wolf

Meanwhile, I’m working on other projects of my own, too. I’m helping develop a new digital book production company, I’m preparing some Dragonswarm short stories for the Consortium of Worlds collections, and I’m publishing the short stories I co-created in the world of Oberon’s Dreams.

Notes from a Thief” is already out (with a recently redesigned cover that’s just stunning). And in the last week I did a big rewrite on “Auric and the Wolf,” in which I made the kid actually fight the wolf. Much more exciting that way.

That one should be out in a couple weeks. I’ll let you know when it’s available.

Live Life

I was also contacted out of the blue by someone from the University of Wisconsin who’s putting together an anthology called Live Life. They asked me to contribute a work (or works), with all proceeds going to The American Cancer Society.

And I just happen to have a perfect piece: the literary story “Building Plans” I wrote for Advanced Fiction Writing last fall. It’s about a single mother who’s widowed young and trying to find some way to make her life go on working. Seems pretty fitting, really.

I spent today mostly getting caught up on chores, but tomorrow I’m back to writing on the Dragonprince. Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.


Last July, I started selling a lot of books. Last December, I started making a lot of money. Not just enough money from the self-publishing that I could afford to quit my day job, but enough that it was costing me money to keep going to work every day.

Still, I kept going to work. There were lots of good reasons (not the least of them fear), but the biggest was this: After three years of working on one major project for the Federal Aviation Administration, I was almost done.

The documentation team for the long-range radar branch of the FAA is a pretty modest group. We had a brand-new manager and two editors with no formal documentation training, plus me. And we were just wrapping up a major overhaul of the vast majority of our radars.

So I sat down at the end of December, decided I could afford to quit tomorrow, and decided to stay on until the end of February, mainly so I could finish up that documentation project and leave the team in a survivable situation.

At 3:45 last Friday afternoon, I finished the project I’d been working on for three years. I sent an email to a handful of my coworkers with some contact info in case they wanted to stay in touch (or buy my future novels), then I dropped off my badge and parking decal and left forever.

(Father in Heaven, I hope it was forever.)

Anyway, Monday morning saw me self-employed. I’ll actually be working as a full-time employee (CEO and head publisher) for my non-profit, The Consortium, Inc., but that doesn’t start until April. In the meantime, I’m nothing but a writer.

I’ve had an awful lot of people asking me how it feels to be free. Some things worth taking into account before I answer that question:

  • It’s only been a week.
  • During that week, I’ve gotten hit with a couple huge unexpected expenses, and watched sales on all my books decline frighteningly.
  • I’ve had a cold. Monday someone asked, “How’s your first day being self-employed?” and I answered, “I should’ve called in sick.”
  • I’m frantically trying to catch up on an overloaded school schedule that I’d been severely neglecting for the last six weeks while I finished up at work.

And even with all of that, I’m loving it. Even with all of that, this week has been among the most productive in my entire adult life, and every bit of it has been worthwhile work that matters to me personally.

  • I published Camouflage (Ghost Targets, #4) this week.
  • I coordinated on cover art for a couple other books I hope to get published in March.
  • I dusted off an old short story that I hope to get rewritten and published in the next few weeks.
  • I read back through The Dragonprince’s Heir (The Dragonprince Trilogy, #3) and wrote several thousand new words on that one, for the first time since last fall.
  • I wrote several thousand words on Faith (Ghost Targets, #5).

That doesn’t cover any of the business-y stuff I took care of, and best of all, I did almost all of it during business hours. Sure, I spent my evenings laying around being worthless because of the cold, but I also watched TV with Trish and read a couple good books and tried out some lame videogames.

It’s been a really great week. And this is just the beginning. Trish started shopping for office space this week. I can only imagine what I’ll be able to get up to once I’ve got a dedicated space and a reasonable routine.

Everything is wonderful. Other than that, it’s just things and stuff.