Probably my favorite idea at the time, I wrote out over a hundred pages of world-building, enough for what I thought would be two books. (Turned out to be three.) By the time I started writing, I had everything at such readiness that the actual writing of the book only took about three months. After that, it took four years of massive editing revisions. I wrote Project Viper - purposefully - as I saw it in my mind. The POV changed from omniscient, to fly-on-the wall, to tracking. I had a lot of fun. My editors have since removed most of that. But it was a great learning opportunity.
About The Author
Author Biography and Writing Timeline
My StoryThough I’ve always been writing in one form or another, I owe a great debt to several authors, mentors, and external factors for my love of storytelling having grown as it has. This is that story.
I grew up on a small farm in middle-of-nowhere Nevada, possibly most beloved place on earth, thanks to its residents. I was the fourth generation to live on the farm, and as you can imagine, I always thought I would grow old and die there. (Although I didn’t much want to be a hay-farmer, in large part thanks to my severe hay fever.)
Before I go any farther, it’s important to know something about us. We love Star Wars. I grew up with Star Wars on a pillar as the perfect movie-watching experience. Three of the nine VHS my father owned were the original Star Wars trilogy. For most of my life, I compared every other movie I wanted to Star Wars, usually with the adage, “Why couldn’t it have been more like Star Wars.”
While I have since discovered there are other, excellent movies in existence, I still feel that almost no story I have ever read can repeatedly capture my imagination the way those movies did. Thanks to them, most of my childhood pictures involve me wearing a cape and wielding a lightsabre (fly-swatter).
There’s another thing you should know. We all love to read. My fondest memories involve my family all gathered around, listening to my father read the classics and get choked up at the touching parts.
My most anticipated moment of our day-long excursions into town, was going to the thrift store and stocking up on piles of books. Most of the time, I didn’t know what I was in for, but I had numerous pleasant surprises. This did not change until young-adult literature, or possibly my selection of it, took a turn for the worst. I’d rather not mention names, but a certain slew of novels back to back left me each more disillusioned than the last. After finishing each novel, instead of the expected feeling of triumph, I felt frustration. I began saying to myself, “I could have done better! The idea had such promise! The author could have reached so high!”
So, I started inventing my own stories. After all, I could end them however I wanted. To me, they were the perfect stories. And to this day, I still attest that I am my own greatest fan. No one has read, or re-read my stories as many times as I have. And, in the interest of full disclosure, I must admit publishing my books was always at the very back of the list.
It’s been quite a journey until now. I never thought, after penning my first manuscript, that I would have kept going all these years. Honestly, though, at this point I can’t quit. It’s too much of a habit, and I have too many stories that I still want to tell.
Writing Timeline From the Beginning
Vengeance is a unique story, in it's origin. Most of my books have been preceded by months of imagining, planning, and note-taking. Vengeance came about as a single scene. I wrote it, maybe as a short work, and liked it so much that I decided to write another, and another. After the first draft, one could easily tell where the story progressed from a series of scenes, and took a life of its own. The pace of the story completely changed and the story went from a linear track and immersed into the world. To date, Vengeance as the second-deepest world and magic that I have ever created. Only Shard Bearers, by design, has a more intricate set of world-rules. Ironically, the original beginning that launched the novel has been completely rewritten and changed, along with vast portions of the book.
The idea for the silent stalker was one of the first ideas that I had. After working for years on The Viper Project, and then putting in a fair amount of time on Vengeance, I wanted to do something different. My then favorite idea, Tribes, scared me. So I set to work, practicing on The Silent Stalker. The original scene-draft I made was much more suspenseful, and darker. Somehow, in the actual writing of it, as I fleshed out the characters, the tone lifted slightly and the horror elements softened. The ending of The Silent Stalker is still my favorite piece of writing that I have ever done.
Project Devastation marks my first return to a previous story line. All of my stories, excluding The Silent Stalker, have had sequels in mind since the beginning. Project Devastation, of course, belongs to my first, and all-time favorite character. The sequel was, however, much more complicated than The Viper Project, which spent the majority of the book on a bombed-out planet. With Project Devastation, I had to introduce the other characters, and build the entire galactic scenario that I'd planned. It turned out to be much more difficult, and time-consuming than I'd expected. The first draft contained many more pages of explanation and world-building than the final version. And even then, I hit my personal word-count target before I'd even reached the halfway point in my scene-draft. As a result, I made an impromptu end and started Project Devastation 2.
After my unplanned ending of Project Devastation, I started Project Devastation 2 almost without delay. The original story-line that I'd planned had a slow, building arch, until all the pieces came together for a constant barrage of action. This meant two things. 1) Project Devastation had a slow, building pace and a comparatively low climax, and 2) Project Devastation 2 had mostly action, and no character-building moments. I lengthened Viper's recovery, and then skipped other plot-lines entirely. Overall, I am satisfied with the final result, because of the overall arch of the trilogy.
I had the idea for Kate Winters clear back in my earliest stages of writing. It was one of my favorite ideas. I wrote scenes from the book in many a writing exercise. It turns out, waiting was the best thing I could have done. My wife, also a storyteller, loved the idea and urged me to write it. She is also responsible for one of the book's greatest assets - Figgs, who would have met a very different fate. Kate Winters is my favorite example of character progression. Kate's story arch has more of it than I have ever put into one or even two books. It's a complete journey. That's one reason I haven't written Kate Winters: Spearhead. I have the story. I just don't see how I could add anything.
Tribes. Oh boy. Tribes! Unlike all my other stories, where the world usually came first, Tribes is a product of its characters. I liked the story, the characters, and the character-moments so intensely, that I put off writing it for nearly 9 years. (Until now, all the stories I'd written had been conceived of in 2006 - 2007.) I didn't want to touch it, for fear that it wouldn't live up to my expectations. It is the most afraid I've ever been, and the most successful I've ever been at the sheer power of characters. I had about 150 pages of plot points and ideas for the two-part series, but 80% of my attention focused on Book 1.
I wrote Tribes 2 as back to back as I have ever written a novel. In fact, it is the only time that I have written two novels in a single year. Basically, it is one continuous story, in my mind, so I wrote it as such. The editing, re-editing, and re-re-editing would come later. As my plans for the Tribes books ended shortly after the beginning of Tribes 2, I had the freedom to take it where I wanted. Certain points, such as the lava-dam and the final confrontation with Alshaar, of course, had been conceived of, but I found myself realizing that it wasn't the real conflict of the story, which is actually centered in the relationship between Tyrus and Elandryal. Tribes takes the record for the most divergent ending from any story that I've planned.
I got the idea for Shard Bearers in 2011, making it my latest story idea that has translated into actual words on pages. It has the most expansive world, most intricate magic system, and the grandest scale of anything I have ever attempted. My reason for deciding to write it was exactly that. The first installation, The Assassin's Blade, barely scratches the surface, which only makes me more excited, and anxious, to finish the saga.
I've only just begun writing the story. At this point, there are maybe 80 pages of the first draft, and I already know I'll be rewriting most of them shortly. There will be constant updates, but probably not here, so check in the FULL ACCESS area for book updates and as the new chapters are released.
Got this idea while taking a writing course. I liked it so much I shelved the Shard Bearers book 2 midway through (an unprecedented occurrence!) To date, this is one of my favorite stories. My wife agrees with me.