Return – The Survivalists Chapter 1 (Part 1)

“Did you hear that?” Joshua whispered intently. “Trucks. Heavy. A lot of them. Let’s go.”

Esther dropped another tuber in the bag, shaking a bit of dirt off her left hand. Out of reflex she cupped that hand over her forehead and scanned upward into the blue horizon then down toward the enormous forest lining the opposite tree line, about five kilometers off—left to right—in a pattern that didn’t miss any areas.

The only things she could see in that blue sky were a couple of swooping brown hawks. On the ground was the usual scenery: an unnaturally flat and desolate clearing extending into a vast forest of aspen and pine in the far distance. The air was almost warm, but she could feel that warmth surrendering to a fading sun in the western sky. The shadows of the pines were growing longer, brushing their backs.

Soon enough, it would be dusk. Continue reading

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Return – The Survivalists – Prologue (Under the Obelisk)

She held the rifle steady for him. He was barely conscious, propped against the unforgiving stone, unable to feel his legs.

She was leaning back on his chest, and felt each of his shallow breaths giving way to a slump. He could feel her warmth rapidly fading.

The entire world seemed to be turning red—the burning palace, the sky, the stars, even the light in the sky sweeping the ground.

The light in the sky, approaching. Continue reading

The Survivalists 2nd Edition and Blog Changes

I’m about one-third the way through this re-edit of Return – The Survivalists, and while it is going smother then I expected I do not regret the decision pull the first book from publication. I’m taking advantage of this opportunity to make more changes–so many that the next release can be considered a second edition. I have already struck down the old preview chapters and the new material will be forthcoming. Any comments, criticism and participation is welcome.

And on that note, have any other authors with WordPress blogs notice that they receive a bunch of likes and follows on posts from people who aren’t actually bothering to visit the log or post comments? To nip that problem in the bud I’m turning off the Likes on posts for now. I see no point in receiving self-promoting drive-by likes from the WP Reader.

Thank you for your patience and I look forward to your comments and support. -JK

Novel Fail 2

I had a chance to pick through the manuscript and it’s not quite as bad as I thought. There’s a few typos and some pronoun deficiency but nothing completely hackish.

Still, it’s going to take several weeks to finish and republish in all the stores and even more time to make it free on Amazon.

I’m also using this as a chance to rearrange some deck chairs on the front and back matter. So, there are no more crazy rants in the back matter, for now.

I’ll keep you posted. Thanks for waiting. -JK

First Novel Fail

Three months after publishing, I took another read through the manuscript and I’m not at all happy with what I’m seeing. I also appeared to have completely flubbed the launch and store set-up.

I will relaunch the first book someday, but I can’t make any promise when that’s going to happen.

Once I re-publish, the first book will stay free as a favor to anyone who has already read it and hoped for better.

Finally, I may well take down this entire blog. No one seems to care about this one and I want to set up a new blog on my own server.

Please accept my most sincere apologizes and have a Happy New Year. -JK

Update: Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, DRM and Book II Progress

I’ve taken down the mostly dead Facebook page, so if you need a social-networking feed please subscribe to my Twitter and Tumblr feeds. I also expect to have my Goodreads blog fleshed-out by the end of next week.

I’ve resumed progress on Book II, tentatively titled Dreadknight. I’m about three-quarters the way through the first draft and things are going smoothly. I may post up some chapters after the first couple revisions but that won’t happen until after the first of the year.

I’ve also been curating my recent book purchases in the hopes of writing up some reviews. I have three different reading devices using three different operating systems and concatenating my collection into a single directory using the reader I liked has been a nightmare. I expect to publish my first review in the next few weeks.

Finally, I’ve extended the free offer through November 15. If you’re interested in a free copy of The Survivalists then send an email to admin@returnnovel.com. Thanks again and have a good weekend.

Return – The Survivalists Launches Tomorrow

Es, as always, is driven to win. Copyright 2013 Decisive Origin and Return Publishing. Do not duplicate without permission.

Es, as always, is driven to win.
Copyright 2013 Decisive Origin and Return Publishing.
Do not duplicate without permission.

The final edits are done and the ebook for Return – The Survivalists launches on Smashwords tomorrow (9/30/13) at around midnight. The Kindle version will be up sometime after that.

Some free copies may be up for grabs, depending on how Tsundere I still feel when I’m done grinding meat.

EDIT: The Smashwords page is up. The book launches at midnight 9/30/13.

I now smell like meat and I have a couple of deep cuts on my hand from text butchering.

I’m in a totally Tsun mood now, and since you can grab a chunk of the book for free or all of it for 99 percent of an ever deflating dollar, you will just have to settle for them choices. Enjoy!

Best,

JK

99% Done – The Perils of Self-Publishing and Editing

Even after announcing the publishing date for Return – The Survivalists my “final” manuscript is still roughly 99% done.

It seems forever “99% done.” After two rounds of professional edits, critiques, endless polishing and an untold number of head-to-desk moments, I’m still finding things I don’t like and things I want to change, tinker, improve and even fix. The script came back from my editor well enough, but as I was reading it aloud I found some things I wanted to add and needed to trim, which in turn,  introduced other things that wanted adding and needed trimming.

Now, I’m not saying that all my effort for the past three months is for naught. I am, after all, mostly reduced to making very minor changes that better reflect what the characters are saying and doing. And as for what characters are saying, I will, hopefully, never try to put words in the character’s mouths. At this point, it is really more their story than mine. I’m mostly a historian, trying to get the facts straight while creating a narrative that doesn’t put people to sleep. But I digress.

There are a litany of complaints about the quality of self-published novels clogging the shelves, none of which I am going to reiterate here. From what I’ve observed, and read, it is not because us relatively inexperienced authors refuse to edit or even that we somehow fail to take editing seriously. It is that editing a book well is a much more difficult effort than any neophyte can even begin to imagine.

I admit that going into this project I completely underestimated the amount of work and attention to detail it requires to produce a quality book. There’s a reason that reputable publishers perform at least three different edits: development, line-editing and proofreading. Now that makes me wonder, are those three separate people or three people who do the same exact job? I’ll have to ask my editor. But again, I digress. It’s far too easy to get small but pertinent details wrong, repeat a word too many times, make a consistency breaking change, or even insert a typo when making an edit.

Moreover, I don’t think there is a single book in existence that couldn’t somehow be tweaked. You have to know when to let go which should usually be somewhere between coherently laying out all the plot points and excising all typos and writing the next Pulitzer Prize novel.

Either way, I’ll keep banging at this until the wire, because somewhere in this manuscript will always be something I hate and something that will completely embarrass me and something I love and something I want someone to hear no matter what.

My hope for the next book is that I use my experience to properly formalize the revision and editing process. Needless to say, I no longer find formalizing my writing process as “stifling” as it surely beats the sheer terror of getting picked apart on an Amazon review for clumsy dialogue, typos and inconsistent subject-verb agreement.

Best,

JK