After the Nightmare is Available Now!

After the Nightmare is Available Now!

When I first started writing full-time, I struggled to write every day. I got to the end of most days feeling like a complete failure because, although I had a myriad of ideas, I never made progress. I thought cramming words into breaks and evenings while I was working full time should have been way harder. Yet somehow, I couldn’t make use of my sudden freedom.

Visualization has always worked for me. You write down what you want, or post a picture of it, somewhere you can see every day. You use that image to inspire you toward your goal. Most people use this to help them save up for expensive purchases.

I used it to finish the Celestial Serenade.

After combing through images that inspired me, I cobbled together the most anime “book cover” the world has ever seen. It was never meant to be seen by other eyes. This was my inspiration board. I put Symphony of the Stars across the top along with the world’s worst tagline, and I used scotch tape to affix it to my desk.

Every morning when I sat down to struggle through my word counts, that picture stared back at me. And I swore someday I would make that book a reality.

This technique worked so well that I cobbled together a second horrible anime cover with the title Song of the Spheres (the second original installment of the Celestial Serenade).

By the time I dug into the third installment of the series, I no longer needed these printouts to inspire me. (And the originals have long since gotten lost while we were moving.) In any case, today the final installment of the original Symphony of the Stars hits Amazon, fulfilling the vow I made to make the book real.

Many Come from One

I’ve mentioned before that the three books in the series so far were originally a single installment in my head. In an odd way, that means a lot of the things that come to fruition in this book were originally supposed to happen a lot sooner. It also means that when I broke the story in three parts, I needed to make those revelations worth the much longer wait.

What I haven’t mentioned before is that Symphony of the Stars was originally supposed to be a standalone story.

That might seem strange, considering space operas are – by definition – supposed to be vast and sweeping. I’m no longer sure why I thought I could cram the entire epic into a single book. But the story was a lot slimmer when I started it. I thought most of the story would center around a specific pair of events. But as I pulled all the various threads toward their conclusions, my characters revealed a lot of extra details.

That, too, probably sounds strange. How can a writer not know everything that’s going to happen before they start the story? If only you knew how close-lipped some of my characters are until the crucial moment of revelation arrives! Though it is true that I usually do know a lot more about my worlds and characters than I expect to end up on the page.

It just turns out in this case many of the things I thought would be off camera back story ended up being really important. Not to mention building into a cascade of unexpected events I simply couldn’t resist writing about.

So Symphony of the Stars grew a sequel. And when the first book was split into three books, the duology became a series of six.

Each Project Imparts a New Lesson

I don’t think it’s unusual for series to grow out of a single book. Especially not in the fantasy and sci-fi genres. Many other writers I’ve spoken to have said the same thing. You start with one idea, and the characters just take off running. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that you should always listen when your characters point you in a new direction. They are, after all, the ultimate architects of the story.

What’s scary is that I tend to find little hints for future plot twists in my writing when I sort back through for edits. Seeds I sowed even before I realized I was going to need them. It’s creepy – cool, but creepy. (It’s almost like stories are living, breathing entities.)

Of course, over the course of writing books 4-6 of the Celestial Serenade, I discovered an unbound thread that demanded three more story installments. (But that’s a discussion for another time.)

With each new release for this series, I have tried to reflect on the wisdom the project imparted to me. In this case, I suppose it would be following the paths my stories set in front of me. If I stuck to my original plan for this series, this would be the final book. And there are so many fantastic adventures forthcoming that none of us would have gotten to experience if I hadn’t followed those potential threads to their ends.

Of course, it wasn’t all easy. This project also taught me how important it is to have an easy to update outline. (Which ultimately led to my discovery of One Note as a writing tool.) But it’s supremely rewarding to read back over this series from the start and see how much I grew over the course of penning it.

After the Nightmare is Available Now!

The soul that sleeps inside the dragon is Caltaran.
If the people he harries awaken him, will he fight for them?

On the eve of Earth’s greatest battle, Gaia is restless. Her people are about to participate in their most elaborate war plan yet. If they fail, the dragon will ravage Earth’s surface beyond recovery. But if they succeed, their alliance with the Caltarans may open travel beyond their solar system – a possibility they never dared dream possible.

Unfortunately, saving Earth isn’t the Caltaran Empire’s only ambition. If Earth wants to maintain their alliance beyond a singular battle, that means participating in their elaborate political dance – a tangle from which Gaia and the rest of the delegation cannot easily disengage.

And what of the warrior they hope to awaken? Does he remember the years he spent decimating two different civilizations? Can anyone hope to deal with the trauma and suffering visited upon that enigmatic sleeper?

Will humanity’s last desperate bid to save their world lead to salvation or destruction at the mechanical dragon’s claws?

Grab your copy today!

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