Humblebrag…

But not really. Or at least, not in the actual definition of the word, but the etymological breakdown of it. A humble brag. Because I cannot possibly fathom not sharing this with you all, as it is equal parts amazing and wonderful, but it is still a humbling experience.

So, the long story short is that a friend bought my book for her cousin, an avid reader. Sometime after that, the word comes to me that not only did she like the book, but she has a YouTube channel and is going to do a video review of my book. (At this point, news of such things is as terrifying as it is exciting, as you might imagine.) Time goes by and I hear nothing. Then, all at once, there is a link in my email. “Book Reviews #40: House of Thirteen” it says.

It’s another couple of days before I can bring myself to click the link.

Reviews are scary. They can build you up, or demolish you. Sometimes both at the same time. What you hope the readers will love is sometimes built up too much in your head and they need to point that out to you. Sometimes I rush into reviews like a masochist, but those are always just words. As I learned long ago, “words can never hurt me.” Yeah, right.

This is not just words, though. This is video. This is words with pictures. 1000 words for every picture. 29.97 pictures every second of the video. It adds up to a mountain of intimidation.

But I finally suck it up and click the link, bracing myself for the ugly truth… and what waits there for me is not the reason I will quit writing, but the reason I will persevere. There’s an excitement in her voice that we’ve all heard before: that sound we make when we are excited and want to share this amazing thing we’ve discovered. Except she’s not talking about some random interest – she’s talking about my book!

It’s a walking-on-clouds kind of feeling, and it will last until I realize that I have to somehow raise the stakes in House of Thirteen, Book Two in order to meet expectations.

And that brings us back to terrified, because that’s what I’m trying to write now.

I thought this was a nice segue to announcing the follow-up to House of Thirteen. Book Two will continue the story, and take us further into the mysteries that revolved around out beloved Delaneys. I’m looking very forward to figuring out what kind of trouble Ren and Joe are getting themselves into, as well as what sisters we’ll be introduced to next. And I hope that it will fulfill my expectations, and surpass those of my readers.

To answer Gabby’s one question that I am able to (but not really) in a bit of detail: I do plan on addressing what and why the Delaneys are what they are in more detail. I hope to answer every question I have threaded into the story before I end the series. Unfortunately, there are going to be more questions that answers for the time being, but I’ll get to them all in time. If I don’t, feel free to ask me again.

You can view the House of Thirteen review below. You can follow Gabby on Facebook and Twitter.

If you haven’t reviewed House of Thirteen (or any of my other stories) yourself, please do.

Finally, thank you, Gabby. This means a lot to me.curiousowl

 

Silver Linings…

It’s been an interesting year.

Everyone seems to have an opinion about 2016, be it good or bad. Political turmoil and celebrity tragedy aside, I have found that a number of these moments have kind of tainted my year end. With that came a skewed view of the year, retroactively. It became a dark cloud that threatened to envelope the last three hundred sixty-five days when in reality, it’s been a pretty good year.

Truly, it’s not an epiphany I came to on my own – no emotional realization is ever my own doing. It’s the work of a lot of different sources talking me off a lot of simultaneous (and metaphorical) ledges. But eventually, I usually come around.

Like always, when I finally do, I strap on the optimism and redouble my efforts to be a positive influence. Really, that is my favorite thing about this time of year. The unbridled love and kinship for our fellow man, even and especially in the face of adversity. It’s so easy to be bleak, but to cling to optimism and look with blind hope toward the coming year, that is magic. It’s a wonder we haven’t found a way to manufacture this sense of togetherness and optimism at other points of the year. It really is something we should work on.

Obviously, that ball drop at midnight is not some magical eraser. The new year doesn’t come as a clean slate that forgives and forgets. Pain and loss will still be there, depleted savings will still be depleted. But there is hope. There is always hope. And like last year and many years before it, here I am again, ready to draw back the curtain on a coming year.

I wish that you have all the best things happen to you this next year.
I hope that you find joy in all things, no matter how small.
I pray that you not only feel the goodness in the world around you, but that you push that goodness forward into all those around you.
And I hope that even if none of this happens to you, if nothing good happens to you at all, I hope that you still have a silver lining to gaze upon.

I wanted to track down some sort of inspirational quote to sign off the year with, but I kept thinking back to something I wrote myself. It’s self-serving, yes, but it’s also something I mean with all my heart. It was the first taste of holiday goodness to reach out to me this year, and I hope it instills you with the same fire that possessed me to write it in the first place.

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Thank you all for a wonderful 2016.

Happy New Year.

A Cold December…

It’s here. The milestone I’ve dreamt about for an entire year. A milestone I’ve been dreading all November, but it’s too late to stop.

December is out today, which means that it is time to say goodbye to Ember. Time to lay the Intercalary to rest.

It’s hard to let go of characters, regardless. Whether you’re reading them or you’ve written them, you travel a distance with these people. You get attached to them.

(Yes, even when you’re killing them off systematically.)

So today is the day that I send the last of them off into the world.
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The cover is a placeholder. Brian has been unfortunately overwhelmed with real world responsibilities. The black and white cover will be updated shortly. The remaining color covers will follow. I hope you’re looking forward to seeing his work realized as much as I am.

But it’s certainly not the end of surprises.

With December out, I will be turning my focus to physical copies of the serial installments. If you happen to be in Lake Orion this weekend, I’ll be at Orion Township Public Library for the Authors and Illustrators Fair and I will have copies of January on hand.
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I’ll be releasing the series throughout the beginning of 2017.

As if that weren’t enough excitement for 2017, January will find me seeking comfort with familiar company. I will be returning to the Delaney House to start writing House of Thirteen Book Two. I can’t reveal much just yet, but I can tell you that it will be nice to catch up with Ren and Joe again.

There will definitely be other surprises along the way. 2016 has been an interesting year, and I feel like the only respectable response is to raise the bar for myself once again.

Get December, and please remember to review online. It’s much appreciated.

The End is Near…

November is upon us, and with it, the sad realization that there is only one final installment of At Calendar’s End left to bestow on you all.

To say this has been a satisfying task is to cheapen the concept of satisfaction. I honestly wasn’t sure I could commit to it. As I began to get through the story, I was sure that I would somehow falter, or fail. Yet, month after month, I have continued to deliver, as Paul Harvey would say, “the rest of the story.”

Next month, I will finish this story, for better or worse.

I’ll be very excited to this through.

In the meantime, I’m sure you want to know what’s happening to Ember and Nova. Click Brian’s always beautiful cover below to get your copy.

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An End of Things…

Happy Halloween!

We’re quickly tying up a number of things around here: October, At Calendar’s End, the year itself… and with October drawing to a close today, there is often another event right on its heels: NaNoWriMo.

The usual 30 days of writing madness has been a staple in my life for many years. Most notably, the last four years have presented me with manuscripts for my published works. It has been a thrilling and fulfilling event.

And though this is the part where I should tell you that I am anticipating the stroke of midnight, when November 1 begins and my fingers start their furious pace into the manuscript of my next novel…

I have decided instead to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

I almost titled this post “Why I am Quitting Nano This Year…” but that’s completely sensational and totally inaccurate. I’m not quitting. I’ll almost certainly be back next year. This is more of an early sabbatical.

The truth is, this year, especially the last couple of months, have been excruciatingly busy and stressful and the last thing I want right now is another stressful month. Also, I’ve proudly gotten to the point where I am writing quite a bit during the rest of the year, so Nano is not my only writing time during the year.

I will still be writing in November, and I may find, by some miracle, that I still crank out fifty thousand words. I won’t complain if that happens. But I’m taking an official break from NaNoWriMo this year so that I can concentrate on all the other things on my docket.

Tomorrow, by the way, is not only the start of NaNoWriMo but the next installment of At Calendar’s End. And when NaNoWriMo ends, I’ll be finishing off the series. I can’t tell you how satisfying that will be… maybe more for me than the readers.

I should also be receiving the results from NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Round Two soon. Fingers crossed that I will be moving into Round Three for another fast-paced writing adventure.

See? Still plenty in the works.

Happy Halloween. You’ll hear more from me as November starts to upumpkin_gifnfold.

 

Summer is over…

The days are getting shorter. The dark is lasting longer. October is already upon us.

Before you know it, October will be over too… but not without a fight, I assure you.

October marks the part 10 in the At Calendar’s End storyline. Good will fight, but will they triumph? I can’t tell you that without spoiling anything. You’ll just have to find out for yourself.

Brian is hard at work on coloring the cover, but we’re presenting the black and white version while you wait. I promise it will be well worth it. Brian’s art always is.october_inks

Round 2… #flashfictionchallenge

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On top of a glorious Farewell to Summer camping trip, this past weekend was also Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

“But Andy,” You might say to yourself. “What about Round 1’s results?”

I’m glad you asked.

Round 1 went far better than anticipated. In my group of 35 writers, I managed to place 4th. The feedback was bolstering, and I hope to have as good (if not better) news from the judges after Round 2 concludes.

It’s a scary proposition: of 2100 writers, only 300 will move on to Round 3. I’m confident that I submitted my best 1000 words for the challenge, but really all I can do is hope my stories are good enough when compared to the competition.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, I have lots of typing to do before Round 3 starts.