Friday, June 25, 2010

Broadcast 6: Fragments - The Editing Continues...

The news is good so far. I'm finishing my edit of Fragments while my editor is working right behind me.

She's half way through the book and has deemed it a strong work with some good drama, excitement and a dash of comedy relief. So far, so good.

That's just what I like to hear, and as I close in on the last chapters, I'm looking forward to passing the test version of the book to the beta readers, who will point out errors and tell me if what they get to see of this book is really ready for a July 7 release.

I've been living with this book for over ten months now, and as much as I know it will be hard to let it go, I can't wait to dig into Broadcast 7 with both hands, I have plenty of notes, ideas, a few chapters already penned, and I'm very excited to put some of my ideas out there. That has to wait until Broadcast 6 is complete, however.

Have I enjoyed writing this book? Mostly. Have I enjoyed editing this book? Let me put it this way; I'm having too much fun to call this editing.

Thank you for reading, thank you for your patience. I'll continue to be obscenely busy right up to July 7, but I'll check back in right here when I can.


By the way, the update to Broadcast 5 at Smashwords has been updated. The terrible formatting snafu has been corrected.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Forum Poll Called Due To Google Fumble

When I checked the blog this morning I discovered that the latest poll was broken! Google could no longer find the Blogger created poll, and getting the Blogger designer page to re-create it wasn't working either.

It happens, and frankly, I don't think there's any reason to start the poll over.

Last time I checked, 8 people said; "The blog is more than enough" while three voted for the creation of a forum.

While that's not a huge poll turnout, it's enough for me to see a clear trend. I know the following behind Spinward Fringe is fewer than one thousand readers, and while it's growing, that's no where near what most novelized series with active forums have. Most series or author based forums are started after millions of copies have sold. Even after several best sellers, there are normally only a couple hundred active forum members, give or take. Every author and series has a different reader participation level.

The reader participation level for Spinward Fringe is really high, nearly ten percent, as estimated by a friend who's much better at math than I. For comparison, most popular books have less than 0.01% reader participation. That's why I thought it would be better to ask about a forum instead of a assuming that one wasn't necessary. As it turns out, people are enjoying the blog and don't need a forum yet - for the most part.

I'm glad I checked, to be honest. I was on the verge of just opening one as an experiment, but there's nothing worse than an empty forum. It's like a convention with booths but no patrons.

I plan on checking again in six months since more people download Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins every day, and the Spinward Fringe series is about to launch on the Sony Reader.

If anyone would like a place other than this blog to talk about the Spinward Fringe series, Allan started a threat on the boards here. If you're getting shut out because you've never made a purchase at, don't worry, I'll be starting a Spinward Fringe thread on a prominent eBook fan forum this weekend.


Now, back to work on Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Spinward Fringe Forums: To be or not to be?

Over the last few months a few readers have asked if there's an active forum for the Spinward Fringe series. Some of them have followed digital bread crumbs to the SyFy channel boards, Kindleboards and Mobileread, but weren't satisfied with what they found.

I'm left wondering if I'm seeing the tip of the iceberg. If these few readers represent a larger number of people who are looking to discuss all things Spinward Fringe. Beyond that, one reader asked if there was a speculation thread for the Dark Arts series, which is picking up readers like an electromagnet in a staple factory. I have to admit, I'm against speculation or fan fiction threads for many, many reasons (legal, creative, and quality control being just three), but I would love to see pretty much anything else discussed.

The Internet thrives on open discussion, and I'm all for it, but only if there are enough people to keep the forum active. So, if I get thirty votes for a forum and three comments from people volunteering to be moderators, then there will be a forum. As far as I can see, that's about the minimum any forum needs to remain active.

If the forum vote doesn't turn out well, there's no need to despair. Allan started a thread here on and commenting on this blog is always an option.

I'm lucky to have readers like you who take a minute to tell me what you want, it makes running a website and connecting with people a lot easier. Thank you for making yourselves heard, please keep it up by voting on the right.


Back to editing Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments

Monday, June 7, 2010


Today was spent on writing over 4,800 words and editing over 10,000. What I realized while working was how much I have left to do before I can hand the book over to my editor and the beta readers.

Broadcast 6 tells a broader story than Broadcast 5, and I'd have it no other way. What I'm doing now, during this preliminary editing phase, is writing in sections and cutting away others so every moment lives up to its full potential. Characters have to develop properly, the story has to be plausible and entertaining. The dialog must pop and flow. The book must feel whole. I'm adding entire chapters, and I've removed an entire perspective that was distracting and drew attention away from the important journeys taken by characters in this book.

Yes, that's a lot of work, but I'm really enjoying it and, more importantly, it must be done. This isn't a post about how this book will take longer than expected, however. No, we're finished with that. The final release date has been set, the link to it is at the end of this post.

In this post I'm telling you that I'm dropping off the radar while I concentrate on getting this done.

Some time while I was editing I realized how often I tabbed out to another program. Whether I was checking forum posts, Twitter or Facebook, they were all needless distractions, and my work flow will go much more smoothly without them. I'll get all this done on time, and I"ll be more focused so producing work I'm happy with earlier on will be easier.

So if you're wondering why my Twitter feed is dead, or my Facebook wall is bare over the next week or two, know that I'm doing something more important: putting my finishing touches on Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments, getting it off to my editor and beta readers. Immediately following the completion of this book, I'll be getting to work on Broadcast 7.

The only thing I'll be watching other than my word processor, is the counter on the front page of this site.


See you on the other side!

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 5: Fracture Gets Another Look

With the release of Broadcast 6 on the horizon, and a few problems cropping up with the edition on Smashwords, now is the perfect time to update Broadcast 5. This time, instead of simply updating it, I started with the raw manuscript, made some needed edits, and stripped all the code.

Then I rebuilt the eBook from scratch, taking the opportunity to add a navigation menu. The new version is already available on Smashwords and will trickle out to the iBookstore as well as Barnes and Noble. You'll know you have the updated version when you see a navigation menu.

I apologize to anyone who had trouble with the older version of the book, and I'm glad you sent me Emails about it, otherwise it may have been much longer before any corrections would have been made.

Thank you again for reading, stay tuned for more good news.


Thursday, June 3, 2010

First Light Chronicles Omnibus Becomes Spinward Fringe Origins

The idea of bringing the First Light Chronicles firmly into the Spinward Fringe series from cover to title has been on the table for over a year. I finally bit the bullet and did it.

Starting with Smashwords, then extending out to the iBookstore, Barnes & Noble, Sony and other eBook stores, the First Light Chronicles Omnibus will become Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins. The original intention was for the Spinward Fringe series to easily stand apart from the First Light Chronicles, so you didn't HAVE to read the original trilogy to understand what's going on.

Anyone who has read the series knows that it didn't turn out that way. There's just too much established in the First Light Chronicles Omnibus, so it's wise for any reader to start there. I'm hoping that, by changing the name to Spinward Fringe Broadcast 0: Origins, it'll unify the series, and make it much easier to understand its place in the story.

The price of this book isn't changing. It's still free at Smashwords, Barnes & Noble, Sony, Kobo, and the iBookstore. Change will come much later on sites like and it won't happen at all at for technical reasons.

It's important to mention that this wouldn't have happened if Smashwords wasn't so flexible as a retailer and distributor. They do great work over there, and their system is always improving.


Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Spinward Fringe Broadcast 6: Fragments - Best Update So Far!

Three drafts now, and I finally have something I feel good about. Now it's time to go back to the beginning, write a couple of chapters in and rewrite a few things that need heavy tuning. While this sounds like a lot of work, it's really only a week's worth.

This is a middle book, sitting between the first and last part of a trilogy. After working on this for about 10 months, I can say, middle books are bloody hard. They have to be interesting in their own right, but connect nicely with the first and third. I think I like the way Tolkien did it a lot more, write one long volume and cut it into three pieces. In the future I think that's what I'll end up doing if I ever do another trilogy again.

Anyway, back to the good news. The story is laid out, characters have challenges that they overcome or don't, a villain makes an appearance, and the whole crew goes through various trauma. Now that sounds like a Spinward Fringe book to me, and I know I'm going to really enjoy this last bit of writing.

When that writing is all finished, I'll be editing the book myself twice - once on screen, then on paper - making my changes and then handing it over to my editor. She'll work her magic and tell me if I actually have a good book, and where there might be problems. The necessary tuning will take place and normally I'd send it off to the distributors. Not this time, however.

No, this time I have a secret weapon! Three fantastic, qualified proof readers have accepted my request to work on this book after the normal steps have been taken. They live in three different countries, don't know each other, and have no idea who the other person is. It's a blind beta read so I can get three different opinions from three very different people. Their primary job will be to help with the polish of the book, but since they're all long time readers, their opinions about the story and character movement will have a great deal of weight too. No one will know who these Beta Readers are until they appear in the acknowledgments at the front of Broadcast 6. Even then, they may decide to use code names, prolonging the mystery.

Once they've finished and I've used their notes to improve the grammar and remove typos it'll go to the distributors. This one will appear on Smashwords first and it'll be the first Smashwords Spinward Fringe release with a full table of contents.

How long will all this take, you ask? Well, if I haven't written a great big turd, it shouldn't take longer than 4 weeks. I like what I have here though, even though the style is quite different from what you may expect, so I don't foresee a pile of problems.

I expect this book to weigh in at about 100,000 words, and it'll be priced at about a third of a new release eBook.


[Thoughts? Rants? Manifestos? Go ahead and post them below!]