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Sunday, March 7, 2010

Sorry for the delay in posting.  I’ve been busy the last couple days and haven’t had a chance to put an update.  I haven’t had much time to write either.  I need to get back to it.  I had actually planning on spending some time writing this weekend, but it turned out to be really busy.  Our kids have been sick.  We haven’t slept much.  All in all, it’s been pretty crazy.  I’m going to dedicate some serious time this week toward a few more chapters.  I’ll let you know how it goes.

Posted by JSE at 9:26 PM 0 comments

Friday, March 5, 2010

OK, people. I need some help coming up with some fun names for characters and things in my book.  The few main characters as of now are named Leef, Chaman, Malek, Krazen, etc.  But, I’d love some suggestions.

I also am stumped on what to call certain things throughout the book.  For instance, a significant element in the book is the existence of blue or white glowing stones.  They provide light, heat, etc.  I’m debating on whether I want to just make up a totally fictitious name, or whether I want there to be some semblance of actual root there.  For example, I’ve considered illuminites, illumigems, phosphorsomething.  You get the gist.  Or should I just make up a name like __________.
If you have some ideas, shoot me an email or comment on this post.

Also, I’ve mentioned this before, but this article is called Sanderson’s First Law in which he sets forth certain rules for the use of magic in novels.  I think it’s very well thought out.


Posted by JSE at 11:02 PM 0 comments

I spent a bit of time the other night at Tor publishing’s website (www.tor.com) to look at their submission guidelines for adult fantasy novels.  Interestingly enough, they actually only want the first 3 chapters (10,000 words or less) submitted, along with a cover letter which gives a synopsis of the novel as a whole. 

I’m well past that point now, and I’ve actually been thinking about submitting what I have, or at least the first bit of it, so I can start getting it on some editors’ desks.  I’ve certainly got enough material.  The problem I’m struggling with is that I don’t have a solid outline for my book.  Much of what I have been writing is just coming to me as I write.  So, even though I have a general idea about where the book is headed, I don’t know that I have enough specificity to satisfy a would-be publisher.

But, I think that’ may need to change.  I REALLY (and when I say really, I mean more almost than anything I’ve ever wanted) want to get my manuscript to some publishers.  I think I’m starting to accept the fact that the vast majority of authors don’t actually get published their first time.  Brandon Sanderson wrote 13 novels before he was published.  I’ve always just sort of thought that if I could just make myself finish my book, I could get published.  But, I know it’s not that easy.  I’m looking at this first book as a practice book.  I’ll get something put together.  Send it in.  Get some constructive feedback, hopefully, and I’ll know what I need to do better the next time.

The one thing I have realized, though, is that writing is for me.  The more I write, the more I want to write.  The more ideas pop into my head.  The more I can see myself doing nothing but. 

I can’t even imagine how great it would be to be able to write full time because I’m making enough off a prior book or books to not have to work anymore.  That, my friends, would be perfection!!!

Posted by JSE at 10:41 PM 0 comments

Sunday, February 28, 2010

K. I did it. I crossed the bridge. I posted this blog site on facebook so my friends could see it. For those of you that come to visit, I hope you like it. If you do, please pass it along. With time, I plan to give much more information about the book itself. Perhaps even post some chapters. We’ll see. Please don’t make fun. This is just me doing what I love!

Here’s a little teaser from the opening scene:


Leef stared absentmindedly into the fire, unaware of his brother’s attempts to distract him from his thoughts. The dancing flames cast flickering shadows in every direction as though the roof of the citadel were alive. Every so often, movement would catch his eye, and Leef would look quickly only to see dancing shadows. The Seven Moons dotted the night sky in their various hues of pink, blue and white, with the closest and largest high overhead, nearly at its apex, casting a pale glow over everything not engulfed in firelight. The lights of Palithor, the capitol city of the entire First Province blazed in every direction, as far as the eye could see. Every direction but one.

Leef stared to the west, where the lights of the city abruptly stopped. In the darkness the World Wall was invisible, but he knew it was there. Everyone did. An endless cliff towering high above the clouds. Nobody knew what lie on top because the cliff extended farther to the north and south than anybody had ever travelled. Leef had spent countless hours lying at the base of the cliff, staring up and imagining what was on top.

Below, in the courtyard of the citadel, the Sacred Path of the Stones was illuminated by bright white lights, an exceptionally rare luxury. Every few minutes, Leef glanced furtively toward the center of the courtyard, though from the height of the tower it was hard to make out anything other than faint movement and lights. The sounds of the crowd eclipsed the distance, allowing both men to hear the excitement.

Leef wondered what it had been like on the day of his birth when he was presented to the Emperor’s chief mystic to see if he would be called to the Stones. Every Kirini child born in the first province was brought before the mystic, mere hours after birth, who placed a small purple gem on the child’s forehead. If the stone glowed, and it rarely did, the child was selected for alignment when he turned 17. Chaman had told Leef that it was exceptionally rare for two babies born to the same parents to both glow the selection gem.

“C’mon, brother, what’s bothering you?” Chaman asked sincerely. He was watching Leef, obviously excited at the prospect of what the next hour would bring but also sympathetic having just gnoe through the ritual the previous year.

When Leef didn’t answer, Chaman scooted over to sit next to his younger brother by the fire. Fires weren’t necessary in the Citadel. Glowing white stones lined the outermost walls of the Citadel, creating a near blinding outline to the building which could be seen for miles around. Similar stones could be seen throughout the city, though nowhere had the concentration of the Citadel. Their glow could not be explained. It just happened. Their light never extinguished or dimmed.

Leef just liked fire. Even though his family had never required it except for cooking, he always enjoyed watching the flames when he spent time with his other friends, as his father called them. Friends who simply didn’t have the money to purchase illuminite stones, and they used fires or candles for light The only fire that had ever burned in Leef’s home had been in the kitchen where the meals were prepared. He was rarely allowed there, so watching the flames was somewhat of a luxury to him. How ironic, he thought, that fire, the symbol of poverty in the First Province, was something he loved.

No, illuminites defined affluence in Palithor. Every family with money owned at least one illuminite to light their homes, and even families without saved for years to be able to buy one. Virtually all illuminites were blue, though the more expensive the stone, the whiter the light. The very rarest and most precious illuminites were pure white, as the sun, and offered no blue tinge whatsoever Very few of even the wealthiest families in the province had even a single white illuminite. The cost of even a small one could exceed the value of an entire castle. Leef’s family owned four, and even the bluest light in the Fildanner home was far whiter than those found in many of the wealthier homes of the province.

The Citadel, however, was full of them. They filled every room and lined the walls of the building itself. It was the mark of its power, its dominance. At night, amidst a city of blue light stood the Great White Bastion, as it was called by outsiders. Even from miles outside the city where the blue light could not be seen, far off travellers could see the white lights of the Citadel.


That’s all for now. More to come if you like it. Let me know.


Posted by JSE at 11:00 PM 0 comments
I’m happy to report that things are actually coming along quite nicely. I still haven’t sat down and completed any sort of a comprehensive outline, but I have made some great progress on the book. I’m 4 chapters in now, and things are really getting exciting (not that they haven’t been from the beginning). But, it’s amazing how the creative juices start flowing if you just sit down and start writing. It’s actually dominated my thoughts of late.

I remember when I was little and Christmas would be coming that I would start having dreams during the couple weeks before that it was here. I would open all my presents and be so excited, and then I would wake up and it was all gone. I was so disappointed to learn it was a dream and that I had to wait longer. Well, the same thing happened to me the other night with my book. I dreamed I met an editor at Barnes and Noble who loved my book and bought it immediately. I was so excited to be getting published that I couldn’t believe it. When I woke up in the morning I was so disappointed. LOL. Such is life. Hopefully, as with the Christmas dreams, this will also come to fruition.

I forced myself to sit down over the weekend and read Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card. I’ve always intentionally avoided that book because there was such a bandwagon sort of feel about it. But, I’ve just heard to much about the writing style and creativity that I made myself. It was, I must say, AMAZING. I really missed out by waiting so long to read it. I’m normally not a sci-fi guy (hardcore fantasy here), but I’m definitely looking forward to reading his follow ups.

In any event, I’ve introduced a new POV character into my book who is going to be one of a couple antagonists. The evil religious zealot. I’m very excited about him. I still don’t know exactly where he’s going, but his involvement at this point appears to be secured. Of course, given my history, you never know. He may get written out next week. 🙂

Word of the day: BICHOC (butt in chair hands on keyboard). Got it from Brandon Sanderson’s podcast, writing excuses, available here: www.writingexcuses.com. Very good stuff.

I have been toying around with the idea of listing this site on my facebook page so that many people I know can find it. I’ve also thought of actually posting online chapters to start garnering a bit of a following. I don’t know what to think about that yet, though. We’ll have to see how things come along.

Wish me luck. More updates to follow.

PS – if you haven’t seen it before, make sure to check out www.schlockmercenary.com. Hilarious.

Posted by JSE at 10:43 PM 0 comments

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I had to do a little research reading last night because I realized I wasn’t doing my point of views correctly.  It’s funny how you can read so many books and never actually pay attention to how point of view characters are actually written.  I am writing in third person limited, but I realized that I keep crossing over into third omniscient.  I had to go back to the king, Robert Jordan, so that I could actually pay attention to how he does it.  The man was an absolute master.

Unfortunately, I didn’t get to spend much time writing tonight.  Busy crazy night.  Jury duty in the morning, so I have to get to bed early, not that midnight is early.  I did, however, get a new netbook that I’m excited about. 

Posted by JSE at 11:03 PM 0 comments

Friday, February 12, 2010

Just spent the last couple days at BYU’s Life the Universe and Everything fantasy/sci-fi symposium. Absolutely outstanding. While there were a lot of people there, the authors presenting did a great job of making themselves available to sign books, answer questions, give advice and just plain mingle.

It was really fun coming back to BYU. I haven’t been here since I graduated in 2002. It was really neat walking the campus again, going through the bookstore, and generally just reminiscing about the time I spent here working on my English degree 8-10 years ago.

Brandon Sanderson was the guest of honor and was accompanied by many other great authors. He gave several readings, took pictures with fans and just made everyone feel welcome to be around him. My hat is off to him for his humility and willingness to take time from his extremely busy schedule to visit with everyone.

I got some great tips at the conference. I cannot wait to get back home and get back to work. On my 6 hour drive down here, I spent several hours listening to Sanderson’s podcasts called Writing Excuses in which he discusses writing issues with two friends and fellow authors, Dan Wells and Howard Taylor. I’m not sure what it was, but something about listening to them while I drove as well as the anticipation for the conference and meeting them kicked the idea factory into overdrive. I have a notebook in my truck at all times for emergencies, and I pulled it out and wrote pages and pages of ideas as I drove.

Now, I know what you’re thinking: not safe. But, I just had the notepad on the large armrest in the center of the front bench and wrote hugely and sloppily as I drove, never taking my eyes off the road. Because I couldn’t look at what I was doing, I only got several lines of chicken scratch per page, but I got some good ideas nonetheless. I was afraid of losing any.

One of the things that Brandon Sanderson mentioned is that he doesn’t always write his ideas down from day one which is something I have been trying to do so that I won’t forget them. The reasoning behind his statement is that sometimes he likes to let them percolate in his head for a few days. If he forgets it, it wasn’t that great of an idea to begin with. However, if it sticks around for a few days, it likely begins meshing with other thoughts and turns into an even greater idea. Sort of his process of elimination. He, as well as all the other authors there, talked about the fact that ideas are the easy part. They have so many they’ll never be able to use them all. Something, they assured us, comes naturally once you really begin pouring your heart into writing and getting lots of words under your belt. They claim every writer has a million practice words they have to get through before the stuff starts getting really good. If that’s the case, I’ve got a while to go.

Until next time…

Posted by JSE at 11:08 PM 0 comments

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