A Man of Destiny

The lesson of the wild raspberries

I've always loved raspberries.  Many years ago my grandparents grew them and some of my fondest memories with them are of us going out and picking them fresh for breakfast.

So when I got a house with a decent yard, I decided I would plant some of my own.  I went to a local greenhouse, bought some plants and placed them where the soil and sunlight seemed ideal.

There were only a few berries produced that first year, but the year after there were many more and it seemed like I would achieve my goal in the following summer.

And then the deer showed up.  Our area has been overrun with deer and until they were culled last year, they were getting into everything.  Nothing would deter them because they were starving.  They ate the berries right off canes along with just about everything else they could reach.  I got no berries for two years and basically gave up.

That's when I began to notice the wild raspberries.  Hardier and more aggressive than my cultivated variety, they've been quietly overrunning the opposite side of my yard.  This year they've really taken off and I've already picked several pints of sweet, juicy berries.  They lack the tartness of the cultivated red kind, but my kids don't seem to mind.

The best part is:  I had to do nothing but pick them.  They're displacing weed plants and filling in the gaps left by fussier plants that I don't have the time to support.  I just show up and pick them. 

The lesson is that nature often knows best.  I did research and placed my plants where I thought they would grow best, but in fact the other side of the yard was much better - so much better than wild raspberries moved in to claim it.

This lesson that applies to writing.

Sometimes the plot doesn't go where you want it to.  I'm working through the final edits on Book Three of the Man of Destiny series and I'm recalling all the plot points I wanted to use but had to abandon.  My manuscript has a number of outlines attached to it that I likewise abandoned.  I knew what I wanted to do, but the story thought otherwise.

I plan to publish it later this month, so watch for it.  If all goes according to plan, Book Four will come out in August and the "Summer of Destiny" will be complete.

A Man of Destiny will be a free download tomorrow

Tomorrow, A Man of Destiny will be free to download on Amazon.  This is a great (and risk-free) chance to get into the series.

Rise of the Alliance went live last week and I hope to have the third book up by the end of June.  I just got the edits back on Book Four, and if things work out, it will be published in July.

If you grab the download, please leave a review or a comment here.  The feedback I've gotten back from my proofreaders has been very good, but I'd like to know what other folks think. 

If you like it - let people know!

If you don't - keep it to yourself, okay?


Ace of Spades - a - lanche!

Yesterday my books were featured in the Ace of Spades HQ book thread.  The Moron Horde (that's what they call their readers) were also the first people to know that A Man of Destiny will be available for FREE DOWNLOAD starting this Thursday.

I'm indebted to the book thread curator OregonMuse for managing to fit my stuff in.

In other news, Rise of the Alliance will shortly be available in paperback. 



Book Four is finished!

Last week I wrapped up the first draft of Book Four of the "Man of Destiny" series.  That is the final installment (or so I hope).

I've sent it off to my volunteer proof-readers for comments and corrections.

While I'm waiting to hear back, I'm moving forward with the publication of Book Two, "Rise of the Alliance."  It should come out in May, hopefully in the next couple of weeks. 

For those interested in the numbers, the total word count of the four-book series is a little more than 260,000 words and depending on the book size, that's well north of 1,000 pages.   In other words, just a warm-up for George R.R. Martin, but a lot of work for a part-time writer like me.

With luck, the remaining three books will come out one each month.  If there's sufficient interest, I may do a single-volume compilation and maybe add some extras in it (like charts or maps or something).



A Man of Destiny gets an Insta-lanche

Lightning struck twice! Glenn Reynolds was kind enough to throw some traffic my way.

I'm busy working away on Book Four and hope to wrap it in a few weeks (he said, shuddering). 

I'll say this for George R.R. Martin:  Wrapping up a four-book story arc is really hard.  I can't imagine doing it for seven, and each one of those twice as long (at least) as mine.

Still, I'm grateful to those of you who purchased Battle Office Wolf and A Man of Destiny - particularly those who left favorable reviews.

The latter series has a slightly different style - more visual and less introspective.  Let me know what you think about it.


Book Four now in progress

Even though I finished my trilogy over the summer, it wasn't until last month that I had people read over the complete set.  The reactions were very favorable, but there was some discussion about what came next.

"Next?" I said.  "This is it.  It's a trilogy."

The reaction I got persuaded me that I had to do another book to tidy things up.

Thus, like Douglas Adams, it appears I will have a four-volume trilogy.  I started working on it a couple of weeks ago and am about 20,000 words into it.  Based on how the other books went, that is either a quarter to a third of the way through. 

Of course, then it has to be reviewed, proofed and edited, and given that I'm a part-time author, it may be ready by the summer.

That's okay, because people haven't even seen the other two yet. 

One thing's for certain:  Book Four is really, really going to be the end.  Seriously.

Battle Officer Wolf gets an Insta-lanche

Last week Glenn Reynolds of Instapundit fame threw a link out to Battle Officer Wolf.

I've been reading him for years and there was an surge of sales, so I'm happy to publicly thank him for the plug.

That was my first novel, and if you happen to have read it, you know that it doesn't cover the entirety of the Beowulf saga, only the events with Grendel and company at Heorot.

I did that on purpose because it was kind of a leap to write a book back then without any clear way to sell it.  Nevertheless, I always intended to finish the saga if there was enough interest, so please let me know if you're interested and I'll start to work on the second half.

In other news, I've started the fourth (and hopefully final) book in the Man of Destiny series.  No idea when I will finish, but the other two books will be coming out in the next few months as I get them edited and formatted.

Happy New Year!

I've never gotten into the fuss over the change of the calendar and so I simply followed my normal Saturday night routine and went to bed at the usual time.

The coming year will see some changes on this site as I continue to reorganize and improve the layout.  As you may have noticed, A Man of Destiny is now available in paperback.  In the coming months the next two books in the series will be coming out, as I finish the editing and layout.  It's a pretty exciting culmination to three years of work.

I hope the new year brings you blessings at least equal to the last.