Sunday, May 18, 2014

World Wide Writing Process Blog Tour

Welcome to the Antediluvian Steampunk Blog stop on your adventure. This is my debut participation in any blog tour, and I hope you enjoy your visit. First of all, I'd like to express my appreciation for Yelle Hughes, author of Aegean Chronicles series as she asked me to join in with this international blog hop. You can read Yelle's blog here and see what she and her guest authors are up to.

What am I working on?

THE LOST DRAGONEER, the third novel in my Chronicles of Susah series is finally available in a printed version here. In March, the eBook was published and made available at Amazon, but getting the format right for the printed book required more work. I've learned much since I began my writer journey, and this book demonstrated the best of me, for now. I'm pleased with the quality of this 630-page production and I think you will be, too.

My next big hairy audacious goal (BHAG) is to use my improved writing superpowers to produce a revised second edition of my first two books. Susah fans needn't worry as the story isn't changing, but the mechanical presentation will as to match the quality of what's in book three.

Fortunately, the 20,000+ who've bought the eBooks will be able to upgrade their kindle versions for free via Amazon, as is the case with all kindle eBooks. Eventually, the first edition printed version will be taken out of print as the second edition nears completion. I can't imagine those books will become collector's items within my life time, but that might change after the movies, action figures, video games, and theme park become the talk of the land. For now, my goal is to make the readers' experience from the beginning of the series consistent. Please be patience with me as I must do this before I venture onward with my fourth book, more on that later--much later.

Why do I write what I do?

I feel as though the very reason I was created might have been to write these stories. It is as if everything that happened to me in my life was to prepare me to share these stories with you. When I'm writing them, the stories come alive inside of me as if I might have lived these adventures during a previous life. As the words appear, it feels more like remembering something long forgotten than it does making up a story. That's hard to understand if you've never experienced it. I can't be the only one. Regardless, I write what I do because I can't imagine doing anything else.

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

My novels defy conventional classification because they blend action and emotional tension with technology and spiritual intrigue in a coming of age story wrapped in an epic adventure set in the antediluvian age. Some of my readers have called me the founding father of Antediluvian Steampunk, a new genre. Of course, that genre isn't widely recognized with book retailers, at least not yet.

Originally listed as Epic Fantasy genre, the books were transferred to Amazon's Biblical Fiction genre where they have remained on their best-sellers list ever since. I wasn't familiar with the term "Steampunk" when someone first used it in reference to my writing.
With minimal research, I discovered the term was first coined in 1987. Steampunk incorporates elements from the genres of fantasy, horror, historical fiction, alternate history or other branches of speculative fiction, making it a hybrid genre. Within that mix of activity, Steampunk displays anachronistic technologies or cultures--technology and/or cultures that seem out of place with the setting. 

The antediluvian world is traditionally portrayed as matching the first century A.D. in most of the stories for children: Noah carrying a shepherd crook, everyone wearing simple robes, donkeys and camels as the common conveyances. As adults, most people continued to believe that paradigm. If you consider the probabilities of a nearly perfect people developing virtually no technology over a span of almost 2000 years, it doesn't make sense. Some folks have commented that my novels might be closer to the truth than are the traditional stories. Once you read them for yourself, you might agree that there really is more to the story than you've been told.

How does my writing process work?

My Air Force career taught me how to plan. Plotting is pretty much the same thing as planning. I use a tool called the muse wheel to begin my deliberate plotting process, which provides me with a master plot to guide my writing. Each novel begins with life altering, action-driven events that propel Susah, my protagonist, toward her next adventure. Before I write the first chapter I already know how the book is going to end. The last scene is most vivid in my mind, much like a memory.

As I write, I know where the protagonist is and where she's going; however, I don't have all the little details and conversations planned. Somehow, those things come to me as I'm alone with my keyboard. Little tappings on my Mac metamorphose into the details of an epic adventure, sometimes surprising me with their message. The exact science behind how the muse translates into an organized story mostly eludes me, but I know it happens. My three novels are a testimony to that fact.

Writing a story is one thing, transforming it into a mechanically acceptable manuscript that can be formatted into a desirable book is another thing altogether. Before I bother my editors, I use a grammar checker and online proofreader called Grammarly. The service is available with an annual fee that is well worth it to me, but I my editors are essential.

My tactical editor helps me through each chapter as I write them. After incorporating her suggestions, I used Google documents to collaborate with my operational editor. From there, the edits are used to produce a final draft for a strategic editing, which proceeds much like the familiar shampoo label reads, "lather, rinse, repeat."

I suppose an author-editor team could do that forever. Each round would reveal a few more unacceptable prose errors, and somewhere in a hundred years or so the manuscript would be nearly perfect. Of course, perfect is the enemy of good enough.

With practice, we're supposed to become better at what we do. I am much better than I was when I began my writer's journey years ago, but I'm still far from perfect. In spite of the multiple rounds of improved manuscript drafts and a painstaking formatting process, I know there will be imperfections in my latest book.

I know this because I find errors in every book I read, don't you?

Thanks for reading, and now I'd like to direct your attention to some of my friends who are also authors:

Gay Ingram has been a friend of mine for years.

A little cabin in the piney woods of East Texas is where Gay Ingram has penned words for a number of years. She shares the farm with her husband of fifty-five years. She has one living son, three grand-daughters and two great grandchildren.

An interest in herbs began her long writing career resulting in articles published in national magazines. A creative writing course changed her focus and she now has five novels, a couple memoirs, and a collection of short stories now published. Her love of American History is reflected in two of her novels.

You can visit Gay Ingram's blog here.

Diane Adams Taylor is in an authors support group with me and she is a retired school administrator with over thirty-two years in the field of education. She is now working in her second career as a writer, author, publisher and lecturer. She had her first novel, Circles in Time, published by Tate Publishing in May 2012. Her second novel, The Healer of Wounded Souls, was release through Bush Publishing Company in October 2013. She writes for two on-line publications; one specifically on special education topics and the other as a contributor of short stories. Diane continues to write novels and she is currently working on three new manuscripts as well as a series of children's books and a young adult fantasy series.

You can find Diane's blog here.

My friend, Julia Phillips Smith is the author of the new superhero series featuring a Dark Ages vampire from 6th century Wales.

Julia is the author of dark fantasy novels Bound by Dragonsfyre and Vampires Saints and Lovers, available through online retailers. A graduate of Ryerson Polytechnic University's film program in Toronto, Julia has several scriptwriting credits in addition to her novels. She enjoys life with her husband and mom in Nova Scotia, where the rugged sea and misty forests feed her thirst for gothic tales. Coming next: Book 2 in the Dragonsfyre series takes readers further into the shadows of the Eighth Dominion. Follow if you dare.

Check out Julia's blog here.

Did you notice that all of them are wearing red? I'm sure you noticed the cover of my third novel. After all, how could you miss it? Do you really believe that was a coincidence? I've always been a lucky man, but I believe forces far greater than luck rule this universe.

Speaking of covers, Susah fans should be pleased to know that once they've read THE LAST DRAGONEER, the cover art will finally make sense. Many times, I've been advised to put a dragon on my books since I began this journey; alas, Susah's adventures are about much more than dragons.

There you have it:

A little about me and my books and some tempting information about three great authors. Before you're done, check out the blog links above so you can read about Gay Igram, Daine Adams Taylor, and Julia Phillips Smith. Who knows, you might discover your next favorite author.

If you haven't already done so, you really need to check out all three books of my The Chronicles of Susah series:

The Dragoneers
The Lost Dragoneer
The Last Dragoneer

You've never read anything like them.

"Never underestimate the power of steam." 
Colonel Rek in THE LAST DRAGONEER by C. D. Sutherland

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