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Writing Update

June 18, 2012

I have completed a  slight re-drafting of book one of the Legend of Zodiac series. I’d noticed a couple of spelling and grammar errors in Legend of Zodiac – Fall of Darkness and took the opportunity to make corrections to those (that’s part of the beauty of digital publishing). Also I shortened some of the chapters. I haven’t removed any material but rather split them up. This helps improve the reading flow.


I’m currently doing the final edits of Legend of Zodiac – Book of Secrets and the work is proceeding quickly. I’m about 1/3 of the way through and should have it completed in two weeks with publication soon to follow. I have made July 1 the deadline for publication and this seems well within reason.

I am also outlining the third book in the trilogy. I know the ending which I knew when I began writing this series, and now I have the beginning of the book and several plot points. I’m very excited as to how things are unfolding and can’t wait to get down to writing it which will begin immediately after Book of Secrets is released.

Finally, at the suggestion of a couple of close friends I am putting together the idea for a new series of books. These will not be young adult novels but instead will be international thrillers. They will be based on some work I have done previously and continue to do outside of my writing.  The concept is very, very cool and to the point where it employs some elements that are used in the real world of governmental and corporate espionage that most people are unaware of. Reading the last sentence it makes it sound as if this technology (if I can use that term) is used only for spying but in fact is often used simply as an information gathering tool  as well.

Okay, break’s over…time to get back at it.

Be well.

– John


Write Fast, Edit Slow

June 11, 2012

As I’ve discovered in my years of writing editing and proofreading are critical parts of the writing process. This should come as no surprise since readers can become easily disengaged by plots that don’t make sense and a plethora of grammar and spelling mistakes.

It has always been a challenge for me, having gotten caught up in the excitement of something I’ve written, only to discover later that a great piece of writing has an critical mistake in it.

Solving the problem hasn’t been easy and occasionally mistakes still get through, even past multiple scans by different sets of eyes. Alas, the only near perfect solution I have found that seems to work is to edit and proofread at one third to one quarter the pace that I write. It seems to solve most of the problem albeit it creates a new one in that output can be delayed as a result.

However, over time this is less of an issue since one tends to write faster and reduce the traps that previously affected their writing. Engaging plot lines become easier to develop, especially with a good planning process, and spelling and grammar errors are similarly reduced through awareness by an analysis of  the common repetitive errors a writer makes.

The mistake is to rely on software to cure the problem. For example beyond a certain file size Word seems to reach a point where it no longer recognizes spelling and grammar mistakes. So a writer who trusts it to highlight and pick up all the mistakes they made is in for  rude shock if they don’t proofread their document.

In the final analysis it is the writer who is responsible for the final draft regardless of who else might be involved in the process. As a writer who is interested in creativity and developing ideas I wish I never had to get bogged down in the minutiae of spelling and grammar, which I find pure drudgery, but I do. The consolation I take is that my stories end up being crafted better and readers remain in engaged in good stories.

The Legend of Zodiac – Book of Secrets Cover

June 5, 2012

I’m pleased to announce the cover for the second book in the Legend of Zodiac trilogy is ready.

My cover designer, Jeroen ten Berge who did the design for Fall of Darkness continued the theme to match the story line of the second book of the series.

I’m thrilled with the design. I think it captures the key elements of the story (think tunnels and as the title suggests a book). The story continues with the main characters and adds some new ones, but the focus is a little different compared to first book of the series. I’ll get into that in a future post.

– John

And The Next Title In The Legend Of Zodiac Trilogy Is…

April 6, 2012

Finally, I’m excited to announce the title of the second book in the Legend of Zodiac trilogy. Legend of Zodiac – The Book of Secrets is going to be released in May 2012.

The story continues right where the Fall of Darkness left off with Gwen beginning her first year of study at university. But Gwen begins to notice changes in Lael and the nature of their relationship. She begins to wonder if it is the normal rocky road that is part of their unique human/vampire relationship or is something else at play. Before Gwen can answer that she finds herself involved in solving a new part of the Zodiac Legend no one knew even existed. As she delves deeper into the mystery she begins to wonder who her friends and enemies really are and if she will even survive long enough to find out.

The manuscript is in the final stages of major editing and I’m in the process of killing a section that I really, really like (sigh). Alas, it’s the writer’s curse of keeping the story within a fixed length. Plus, as good as it is the section in question doesn’t advance the story as much as it should to merit inclusion.

I’ll keep you posted as things progress over the next few weeks.

– John

The Secret To Successful Self-Publishing – An Advisory Council

February 9, 2012

First my apologies for the tardiness of this latest post. I’m currently working to a deadline on the next installment of the Legend of Zodiac trilogy. My goal is to get the final manuscript of the second book ready for e-formatting by the end of March. Cover design should be completed by then as well. I’ll update you as milestones are reached in the next few weeks.

Since many of my readers are young adults and aspiring writers I thought I’d address a process issue which has been asked of me on a few occasions. One of the most important elements I use in the process of writing a story is an advisory council. Continue reading →

– John

Why Is Amazon Holding Back The Spread of eBooks Around the World?

January 22, 2012

I’d noticed a discrepancy in the pricing of my book when it went for sale on Amazon. The list price is $3.99 but it showed up as $5.99 in some jurisdictions. I contacted Amazon as well as another self-published author and discovered, from the author not Amazon, that Amazon levies a $2.00 charge on books sold in some countries.

As it stands my book displays and sells for the correct price in the US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland and ‘Amazon Germany’ (Germany, Austria, Luxembourg, Liechtenstein and Switzerland) and a few other places. But in many other countries it costs $2.00 extra. Why? Continue reading →

– John

Legend of Zodiac – Fall of Darkness – Released Today

January 18, 2012

When seventeen-year-old Gwen Carson is brought to Edinburgh, Scotland by an uncle she has never met she quickly realizes everything in her new life is not as it appears to be. Vampires, magic and danger inhabit the dark alleys and secret underworld of the city as an ancient truce between bitter enemies teeters on the edge of collapse threatening to explode into a war that will engulf the city with terrifying consequences for its inhabitants. Only the Unholy Alliance, unlikely allies led by her uncle, united by a common foe stands against the gathering storm.

Gwen refuses to be drawn into this dangerous mix until the ancient Legend of Zodiac is revealed to her and she discovers she is the only one who can stop the mayhem before it begins.  As she delves deeper into the Zodiac mystery she discovers an exciting new world opening up for her at the hands of her protector, the mysterious and complex Lael, who keeps a dark and deadly secret and to whom she finds herself unwillingly attracted.

Caught in a race against time Gwen begins piecing together the mystery that just might save them all…until the dangers begin to multiply and she is confronted with a betrayal that shatters her world and threatens the fulfillment of her destiny.

Legend of Zodiac – Fall of Darkness is a genre fiction/Young Adult novel that is now available for purchase as an eBook on Amazon US, Amazon UK, Amazon Germany and Amazon France. If you are in Canada, New Zealand, Australia, Ireland or South Africa you can pick up a copy at the Amazon US website. It will be available on Smashwords as soon as some technical issues are worked out which should be soon. I’ll let you know when.

– John