Category Archives: Book Stuff

Writing, Contracts, and the New Year

2017 has been a whirlwind year for me in the writing world. The blog updates have been a pendulum swing from posting every day to posting nothing for weeks. I’ve done a few appearances here and there – mostly radio interviews and small book-related events. I had such a great time at the 2017 Phoenix Comicon, where I got to hang out with fellow authors, many of them writing books, comics, and games that I play or read. While hanging out with the wonderful people at Bard’s Tower, I met someone who is making a game based on The War of the Worlds, and he was using, among others, mine and John’s War of the Worlds: Retaliation. I participated in some charity events, and helped raise money for getting books into kid’s hands. I even had an interesting encounter with Dick Van Dyke. I met my long-time writer hero, Harry Turtledove via Twitter, and we chat from time to time. Harry has even agreed to blurb War of the Worlds: Firestorm when it comes out in 2018. Severed Press picked up the distribution rights to Retaliation, and Firestorm back in March. I was nominated for Best Historical Fiction Novel at the eFestival of Words, and even got a vote for a Hugo award consideration. I didn’t win at eFestival, and if I’d gotten a Hugo nomination, you’d’ve known about it because the post here would’ve had exclamation points and all caps and stuff. I even got around to finally finishing my undergraduate degree in Human Behavior, and my certificate in Community Development and Sustainability. So, already, 2017 has been a great year for me.

I wrote Score of Silence about two-and-a-half years ago. The sequel, Lady by the Window, I finished up the first draft eighteen months ago. Score of Silence has had so many people in the writing community help in one way or another; I’ll have a three-page acknowledgements section. The failed Kickstarter campaign was a bummer (but not really, since the acceptance rate is less than 5%), but I’ve never been shy to self-publish if I couldn’t license the rights to a manuscript. Many publishers passed on John and my War of the Worlds sequel before Severed Press picked it up. I’ve had a few rejections for Score of Silence, but I wanted to be persistent – especially since I couldn’t let down all the awesome people who helped make it happen. Well, I started talking to Amber Cove back in October, and am pleased to say that we’ve reached an accord for a two-book contract. Obviously, Score of Silence and Lady by the Window are those two books. With the contracts signed, and the advance cashed, I can let you all know about it. There’s going to me a minor rewrite of Score of Silence, and then after a proper edit and proofread, the book will be published – probably in the first quarter of 2018. Lady by the Window is still super rough, and it’ll need rewrites and revisions, and a date with a developmental editor. A release in early 2019 is totally doable. I have ideas for at least two more Tupper Jones novels, but that’s a bit down the road.

John and I are still plugging away at War of the Worlds: Firestorm. We both haven’t written anything in November. Me, because November is full of birthdays and other family stuff; and for John, because he was working on getting his latest non-fiction sports book out the door. We may have the first draft hammered out by the end of the year, but with Christmas and other holiday events, it’ll probably be the end of January before we type, “THE END.” After a revision or two (my chapters are weak compared to John’s), we’ll send it in to Severed Press. About three or four months after that, we could see it hit the shelves summer 2018. John and I have ideas for a third book, but with each of having individual commitments, and very busy schedules, I don’t think we’ll work on a project like that unless a publisher offers a substantial advance. You never know. Maybe after the first book is turned into a movie, there might be enough interest for a third book.

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War of the Worlds Updates

One of you wonderful internet denizens emailed to ask for permission to use the cover art designed for the non-English editions of Retaliation in a wikipedia article. I’m cool with that for wikipedia, reviews, interviews, etc. As long as you don’t try to pass off my covers as your own, I’m cool with any of my released covers to be on Wikipedia, etc. In fact, here are some unreleased Retaliation covers for y’all to drool over:

The Afrikaans project (above) was cancelled, and this may or may not be the final cover for the chinese version (below):

I’m hoping to sign the contract soon for a French version, but time will tell.

After talking to some industry professionals, I’ve decided to only actively pursue language contracts for Chinese, Spanish, Portuguese, French, & Italian. Don’t worry if you read in a language not on that list, if someone comes along and offers a contract on another language, I’ll definitely consider it. (I mean, is “no” even in my vocabulary?)

(You wikipedia guys and gals can use this draft version of Firestorm for your article.)

Those of you who are close to John and I know that the biggest delaying factor for War of the Worlds: Firestorm is me. People tell me that I’m a prolific writer, but John can outwrite me 4-to-1. (Autocorrect kept changing that to “outwit.” Maybe my computer knows more than I do…) I emailed the latest vomit draft of my last chapter to John over the weekend, and I’m like 90% certain he’ll respond with three of his own chapters, sticking me with the onus to move the project forward. We’re more than 2/3 finished with the rough draft. It’s gonna be tight to get that done before the end of October, but it’s totally possible. Nonetheless, we’re golden for a presentable draft in November.

Personally, I’d like to see Firestorm release at the same time John and I get a nomination for a Hugo or Nebula, but I think I recall an adage with wishes and horses and beggars and stuff. I ran into Alan Dean Foster at Prescott Comic Con, and he basically dashed my hopes of a Nebula nomination. (He was the president of the Nebula selection committee for a thousand years or something.) Mike Stackpole went poo-poo on my dreams of a Hugo while we were at Phoenix Comicon together. They weren’t being dicks or anything, they just wanted to make sure I had my head on straight and could manage my expectations. I’m still gonna hold on tight to my dream, and maybe something will pop out if I squeeze hard enough.

It’s getting late here in the Copper State, so I’ll head to bed, and post a book review in the morning.


San Francisco Comic Con appearance cancelled

Well, I’m afraid I have bad news. Due to reasons that are beyond the control of myself and Bard’s Tower, my appearance at San Francisco Comic Con has been cancelled. I know that my fans and the fans of the other authors that were scheduled to attend will be disappointed, but [stuff] happens, and we just have to roll with the punches.

I’ve already had the same questions asked a few times when I was letting people know, so I’ll put together the Mark Gardner’s not going to SFCC FAQ:


Are you angry?
Well, I’m disappointed. I was totally looking forward to seeing all y’all at SFCC. I fail to see how raging and being a jerk about it will achieve anything other than me being ostracized from future events. I feel bad for the other authors that were scheduled to attend. For many authors, Labor Day weekend marks the end of the con season (the beginning of the season being Memorial Day weekend.) I’m also geographically close to San Francisco; it was to only be a two-hour flight from Phoenix. I was even going to go to work on Thursday before my flight. I’m sure there were other authors that were scheduled that were more geographically distant that required more planning, etc. So, yeah I’m disappointed. But, quoth the Dread Pirate Roberts: “Life is pain, Highness. Anyone who says differently is selling something.”

Will you get a refund for shuttle service/airfare/etc?
Nope. You all already know I’m not a fan of the airlines, so I wasn’t surprised that the airline tickets were non-refundable. American Airlines offered to rebook within a year at a $200 fee, so there’s that… The shuttle service that was to run me down to Phoenix will refund their fare, since it’s still two weeks from my scheduled departure. All in all, I’m out about $300. It’s a lot for some people, nothing to others. I never spend money that I don’t have, so yeah, it sucks that I’m out the $300, but it’s not like I sold a kidney to pay for the airfare or anything. I wish that more people would stop spending money that they don’t have. It gives banks and credit card companies so much power over you. Quoth the genie from Disney’s Aladdin, “No substitutions, exchanges or refunds.”

Should we boycott San Francisco Comic Con or Bard’s Tower?
Heck no. While I’m flattered that you think highly of me, why would you bail on an exciting event like San Francisco Comic Con? If I could afford the hotel and admission, I’d go anyway, but after having to replace my vehicle this month, I got nothing. Bard’s Tower are wonderful people. They helped me maintain my sanity at Phoenix Comicon. They didn’t have anything to do with the appearance being cancelled, and I’d be sad if they ended up having to short-change the other authors that were scheduled to be there. I hold no ill will toward Bard’s Tower or SFCC, and you shouldn’t either. Any Buffy the Vampire Slayer fans? I’ll quote Rupert Giles, “To forgive is an act of compassion…”

Are you sure?
Let’s face it, Comicon and retailers like Bard’s Tower are businesses. They need to make money to keep bringing you the stuff you enjoy. Remember the craziness with War of the Worlds: Retaliation and Random House? I’ve confided in a few close friends that I probably would’ve made the same business decision if I were in Random House’s shoes. But hey, if Random House hadn’t gone with Stephen Baxter instead of me and John, then we wouldn’t have gotten the contract(s) with Severed Press, and there might not be another War of the Worlds book. You know, the one that is more than a third complete? Yeah… Sweet Martian payback… For this question, I’ll quote Alexander from The Time Machine: “Sometimes we need to accept what’s happened to us even if we don’t want to.”
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Score of Silence on Kindle Scout

Hello, all!

Today, the Kindle Scout campaign for my debut murder mystery novel, Score of Silence, starts. I’ve tried a few Kindle Scout campaigns, and unfortunately, I’ve never gotten the nod. The editors there have passed on War of the Worlds: Retaliation, which John and I licensed to Severed Press. We’re talking to them about another War of the Worlds book, tentatively titled, War of the Worlds: Firestorm. Kindle Press also passed on Sixteen Sunsets. Here’s hoping that the third time’s the charm.

Originally, Score of Silence was supposed to be a sequel to my techno-thriller, Body Rentals. After about 25,000 words or so, I realized that no one had switched bodies! So, I rewrote it into a murder mystery. There are still a lot of elements that stayed in Score of Silence. Tupper Jones is obviously Colonel Lance Bishop. (There was even a play on words in the first or second chapter about Tupper calling an ambu-Lance, but when I changed the name to Tupper Jones, the joke had to go.) Caroline Collins is Teresa from Tyrant and Body Rentals. Kimberly Smythe is Kimberly Smith. (I know, I know, “How original.”) The characters from Score of Silence took on a life of their own during the rewrite, and I already have a 48k rough draft of a second novel.

Anyway, I’d appreciate it if you could support the campaign by nominating, and sharing the link to your various social media outlets. Here’s that link: https://kindlescout.amazon.com/p/2EKMJBJRHGZ12

Here are the description and character bios for Score of Silence:

Retired FBI agent, Tupper Jones, has made a name for himself as a private eye. But today isn’t his day. His partner and right-hand woman, Caroline Collins, has woken up next to the dead body of the FBI’s star mob witness with no memory of what happened. Tupper and Caroline must solve the mystery of what happened before the FBI puts Caroline away for the murder.
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Cover Reveal – War of the Worlds: Retaliation

Those of you who follow me on Twitter, or John on Facebook, have already seen this, but read the whole thing for more exciting news!

It’s should be old news to you, but John and I signed a contract with Severed Press for them to distribute the English eBook and paperback of War of the Worlds: Retaliation worldwide! They re-edited the story, and came up with a killer cover:

 
Pretty epic, huh?

I promised exciting news, so here it is: Severed Press is interested in another War of the Worlds sequel, and it just so happens that John and I have an outlines for two more books. We’re currently in negotiations for book number two!


Will Victorious Maiden be completed?

As I’m sure some of you are aware, artists tend to want to be around other artists. I’ve never really considered myself an artist. I can’t draw worth a [crap]. Other typically “artisty” things like sculpting elude me. But, I need to embrace the artist moniker because writing is art. My wife is more of what I’d consider an artist – specifically she loves drawing cartoons. Now, my eleven year old daughter, may just be the most artsy-fartsy person in my household. She loves to draw anime fantasy characters:

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About two years ago, I took a stab at writing a young adult novel. It’s something I’ve never been able to do, and I like to challenge myself. When I finished what I like to call the “vomit draft,” (that’s where you just barf the words onto the page,) I put it away to percolate for a month or two. When I came back to it, I realized that I didn’t have a finished novel; I had the beginnings to three novels in a trilogy. After breaking out the individual storylines and seeing what I had, I realized that the one that was the most done only had about 18k words written. I shelved the project (that shelf is getting full!) and worked on other things.
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War of the Worlds: Retaliation Audiobook and Kickstarter

A month and a week to go until January 3rd, 2017. The worldwide release of War of the Worlds: Retaliation is almost upon us. I can’t tell you all how excited I am. This is the sequel we’ve been waiting 119 years for. Our audiobook narrator, Mark Isham, sent me the prologue, so I listened to it, then immediately uploaded it to Soundcloud.

Let the world know that John and I are trying to raise $300.00 for the hardcover. We started a kickstarter campaign, and due to the accelerated timeline, there are only 16 days left in the timeline. Please share the following URL with your social medias and bloggersphere: https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1012144245/war-of-the-worlds-retaliation-hardcover/

The project page is where it has always been: https://article94.wordpress.com/war-of-the-worlds-retaliation/