27 September 2022

by | Sep 27, 2022 | Random Thoughts, Travel, Writing | 4 comments

I realized it had been a while since I wrote a post and decided it was time to fix that.  😁

September has been a busy month, and since I’m feeling a tad lazy at this precise moment, I’m going to start with a general update before getting into the finer details.

On August 17th, I finished my eleventh novel. It won’t be my 11th published novel, since I’m going to start working up that novel stockpile I’m pretty sure I mentioned. When I realized I was something like 9,000-ish words from finishing it, I knew I wouldn’t be able to concentrate on anything else… so I focused on it. I’ve done a final read-through, completed the additions I noted during the final read-through, and it’ll go out to my editor soon-ish.

If I get three or four novels sitting out there, I may re-create my Patreon… or maybe not. We’ll see.

I am now focusing on The Fall of Skullkeep and Tempus. And no… I don’t have a release date for either one yet. My goal is to publish them by the end of the year, but that’s as close as I’m going to get to announcing a release date.

One change I’m going to incorporate is that I’m going to do a Kickstarter for each novel. The Publishing category on Kickstarter is growing and seeing lots of traffic, and one of my other goals is to make a video game from one (or more) of my series… so I figure it’s a good idea to start building my reputation there for when I want to do a gaming Kickstarter.

I will announce those Kickstarters here, on the Facebook page, and via my newsletter when there’s actually something to announce.

Right then…

I spent the week of September 11th out west, doing setting research for upcoming stories. The plan was to spend a week in Colorado and then a week in Idaho, and I was shocked and amazed when I found the three locations I wanted in Colorado on my first full day there.

Wasn’t expecting that at all…

On the bright side, though, I’m super-excited to write the series that I’ll be locating in southwestern Colorado. That series is the inspiration for the shared world I’ve mentioned before, and Novel #11 is for the second series in that shared world. I’d really love to spend a year focusing on that shared world, but I’m not going to leave everyone who’s invested in Drakmoor and Primogenitor hanging.

Besides, if I ran off and wrote every awesome new story idea when they popped into my head, ninety percent of my catalog would be series starters at this point… and who wants that?

I’m really glad I took the trip out west, too. Not only did I get to meet one of my writer friends and her husband, but I learned a crucial lesson that–somehow–hadn’t settled into my mind from reading about it and hearing about it.

The western states–here in the USA–are freakin’ dry. I mean dry. I don’t think any of the places I visited actually qualify as high desert, but that didn’t keep me from feeling like I was inside a life-size Ronco Food Dehydrator at times.

(I remember seeing those on informercials all the time when I was a kid, and it was the first thing that popped in my mind. I think I came close to getting a spit take from my writer friend when I used that joke.)

Now–when I start describing the terrain in the new series I’ll be starting soon–I’ll actually describe Colorado… as opposed to the totally incorrect mental picture I had.

I’m too used to West Virginia and its climate and terrain to think I’d ever enjoy living out there, but I can totally see myself visiting Idaho off and on… just to catch up in person with two awesome people I met while I was out there.

Something else I wasn’t prepared for was how flat and how empty the terrain is out there. Now, granted, the case could be made that West Virginia is equally empty in places… but you don’t really see it the same way. Here in West Virginia, almost anywhere you look, you don’t see all that far before trees or hills block your vision. Out there, especially as I crossed southern Wyoming, I drove for miles and miles without seeing anything more than fences, the highway, land, and sky. What southern Wyoming calls a hill might–might–be generously termed a speed bump back here.

While I was driving around southeastern Colorado, I came over a rise and could see another rise off in the distance. I figured it was maybe a couple miles away and checked my odometer right at the crest of the rise. Nine-ish miles later, I crossed the crest of the rise I saw in the distance. Nine miles! That blew my mind. Again, not prepared for it at all…

I visited Idaho at the wrong time of the year to see Shonshone Falls in all their wondrous glory, so even if I didn’t need to say hi to my friends, I’d go back for that alone. I happen to enjoy waterfalls.

Like I wrote above, I’ve turned my focus back to The Fall of Skullkeep and Tempus, so you can expect to start seeing new posts that chronicle my daily writing progress.

I think that’s all for now. Enjoy the pictures!


  1. Mark Robeson

    You mentioned you “finished” your eleventh novel, but you have thirteen books for sale on Amazon. Do you consider a couple of them to be short stories and not full books? I’ve purchased everything you have on Amazon and and read all but the two Sam Colton books, and none of them seemed to be short on content to be considered a short story.

    Also I must say you’re really reaching back in time bringing up anything from Ronco. I remember the commercials he had for the dehydrater and his rotisseries, those were almost the first versions of infomercials on Saturday mornings.

    You’ve mentioned “Tempus” will have one or maybe two books follow it before possibly ending the series, will “The Fall of Skullkeep” be the last in that series or do you envision another book or two after it?

    Thank you for all the enjoyment I get reading and re-reading your books.

    • Rob

      Hi, Mark!

      Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment.

      All novels are books, but not all books are novels. 😁

      Mistaken Identity and The Key to Happiness–which are the Sam Colton Mysteries–are absolutely short stories, coming in at 6900-ish and 11,200-ish respectively.

      The “industry” uses the following breakdown, all based on word count:

      -Flash Fiction: 53 – 1,000
      -Short stories: 3,500 – 7,500
      -Novelettes: 7,500 – 17,000
      -Novellas: 17,000 – 40,000
      -Novels: 40,000+

      That’s far too complicated for my tastes, and ‘novelette’ just sounds weird to me. So, I simplified it thus:
      -Short stories: 3,000 – 15,000
      -Novellas: 15,000 – 40,000
      -Novels: 40,000+

      After Book 5 (or maybe 6) of Primogenitor, I’m thinking that series will move more toward a periodic structure than one of my “active” series. I don’t have a defined story arc in mind for that one, so as soon as I deal with the major change that is Tempus, it’ll be easy for it to become more episodic in nature.

      As for The Fall of Skullkeep, it will be the end of the first story arc in Histories of Drakmoor, which absolutely does have a defined story arc. There will be one more quintet after Skullkeep that will finish out the story I’ve been working on for over twenty years now. It just took me a while to get a first book in the series I felt like claiming in public. When I finish the second quintet, Histories of Drakmoor will be complete with no further stories in that world (as far as I know).

      Hope this helps!


  2. Mark Robeson

    Thanks for the response, I never knew there were so many tiers for what is considered a book. If you think Colorado and Idaho are dry, try driving thru New Mexico during the warm months, it makes them seem like Oregon or Washington state.

    On a humorous note, please notice I DID NOT ask for release dates. The few authors I have talked to in the past have mentioned that doing so is just about the fastest way to annoy an author. Especially since it seems that nearly all writers make the mistake at least once of giving out a date for release, then didn’t make it and they had to listen to all the sniveling when the date comes and goes. I’ve taken the stance of, it will be out when the author feels it’s ready to be out, it just gives me something to look forward too.


    • Rob

      Hi, Mark,

      You’re very welcome, and thank you for taking the time to leave a comment.

      In terms of traveling, I’ve decided I’d like to spend somewhere between two weeks to a month in every state. I figure that will give me a good appreciate for the state and the notable sights to see. I don’t count this recent trip to Colorado and Idaho, since I was focused completely on setting research for upcoming stories.

      I agree. You did not ask for release dates, but I guess I’m so used to people asking when something will be published that release dates are right where my mind goes.

      I hope the days are treating you and yours well.



Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.