This Site Has Moved

My official site can now be found at Please update bookmarks/rss feeds accordingly.

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Disability, Death, or Other Circumstance v 1 is Done!

DDOOC banner copy1I had the idea for this year’s Mormon Lit Blitz before the call for submissions went out. It turned out short and, well, sweet isn’t what I would use to describe it. I was going for funny yet poignant. It was really quick to write, and my beta readers only had concerns at the beginning and the end. So I hope it does well.

Feel free to join me in this little contest – the deadline is May 1, 2015.

  • Started April 25, 2015 8:20 pm
  • Finished April 25, 2015 8:41 pm
  • 368 words
  • 111% the size of v 0
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The Gods’ Blessings v 02 is Done!


This draft of my novel was a major overhaul. I had a ton of stuff to add to the beginning, which I thought would make this draft longer than the previous. I did not count on the fact that completely redoing the climax of the story would involve a lot of cutting. But the feedback I got from my beta readers said the antagonist was overshadowing the hero, so I cut some of her POV chapters.

I do believe the story is stronger now. It still needs a LOT of work. There are scenes that need to be filled out, and details that need to be changed. I also have a critique group going through it now to spot problems I can’t at the moment. How fast I move on to v 3 will depend on how soon I can sell the prequel story “Settling with Sea Serpents.”

  • Started March 6, 2014
  • Finished April 15, 2015
  • 51,990 words
  • 23 chapters
  • 3 parts
  • 95% the size of v 1
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Writing Research: Mongols

Settling with Sea Serpents Banner copy“Settling With Sea Serpents” takes place in a secondary world based on Korea at the time of the Mongol conquests. While the Mongol equivalent never appear as more than background events, I wanted to do some research to make sure I got details right. Here is some of what I learned.

Military Technology

While the Chinese didn’t have guns, they would put gunpowder inside cast iron shells to make thunder-crash bombs. As the name implies, they were quite loud and devastating – the shrapnel could pierce iron armor. The name was so awesome, I had to find a way to stick it in the story.

At first, the Mongols weren’t good at siege warfare. But as they captured Chinese and Arab engineers, they used the techniques of both to create devastating trebuchets. And when they couldn’t find stones to hurl into cities, they would hurl entire trees.


The Mongols were really good at sowing discord among their enemies, and then conquering them when they were divided. This is especially true in Europe. I borrowed from the history of China for my story though. It stands to reason that if the Jin Dynasty (north China) allied with the Song Dynasty (south China) both could probably have survived the Mongol conquerors. But the Song Dynasty decided instead to ally with the Mongols. After the Jin fell before Mongol and Song armies, the Song decided they were going to claim some of the Jin lands for themselves, without confirming that with the Mongols. The Mongols were not happy, and Kublai Khan spent the next several decades conquering them.

When the Mongols came to a city, they would give that city one chance to surrender. Some cities actually did, since it meant that only a few people (rulers/garrison) would be killed. If a city didn’t surrender, once the city fell, the Mongols would slaughter all civilians they could find, even coming back a few days later to find all those who hid during the first wave of destruction.

Even with all this slaughter, the Mongols did know how to find people who would be useful to them. They would take engineers, bureaucrats, even enemy generals into their empire and put them to work.

Fun Facts

The Mongols break the two cardinal rules: 1 – Never get involved in a land war in Asia. 2 – Never attack Russia in winter. And they wildly succeeded.

The Mongols were horrible with water. They attempted to invade Japan and Indonesia. Both attempts failed.

The Mongol Empire fell apart mostly because there was no clear line of succession after Genghis Khan died. So his descendants took to infighting and political maneuvering.


Wrath of the Khans: a 5 part podcast on Hardcore History by Dan Carlin

Genghis Khan & the Mongol Conquests 1190-1400 by Stephen Turnbull

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Settling With Sea Serpents v 3 is Done


I was surprised to find that when I was writing this draft, huge chunks of it actually stayed the same. This draft could almost be considered a minor draft rather than a major one. I expanded a bit on the role of the main character’s wife so she didn’t drop away for several scenes. I also worked on refining the climax and overhauled the epilogue. And besides some minor concerns, that was it.

My beta readers really liked this one, so that gives me confidence that this has a good shot in the markets. Still needs a pass to check for typos and such, and then we’ll find out what others think of it.

  • Started February 23, 2015
  • Finished March 5, 2015
  • 10,719 words long
  • 9 scenes
  • 105% the size of v 2
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Changestone v 4 is Done!

Changestone banner copy
The most common feedback I got with this story is people wanted more description. Unfortunately, that’s what I cut in order for this story to remain classified as flash-fiction (<1,000 words). So, when it got rejected by the pro flash-fiction sites, I decided it would be best to flesh the story out before submitting it places where I didn’t need to keep it so short.

In addition to adding back in description and the Spanish phrases I’d cut, I also created more of a character arc for the narrator. It’s what I need to set it apart from other “person discovers paranormal creatures living among humans” stories.

In all, I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. It may only need a minor edit before going back out on submission. I’ll let it sit for a bit before deciding.

  • Started February 4
  • Finished February 6
  • 1,566 words
  • 157% the size of v 3.1
  • Amount of Spanish: 2 words, 5 phrases
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Sarimanok Feather v 4 is Done!

Sarimanok Feather banner

On one rejection of “Sarimanok Feather” I received the following feedback: “I found the world interesting but the story was slow in building tension for my tastes.”

After some thought, I decided the story needed some drastic changes in order to get at the core of the story. I realized that I was introducing a milieu story, when in fact, this story is a character story. So I needed to cut down on the interesting description and focus on what my character really wanted in her life.

I ended up completely cutting the first 800 words of the story (a real darling) and completely reworked the ending. I think the story is more satisfying now, but probably needs some touchups in the new scenes. I’m not sure if that will be a minor or major effort, so I’ll let it sit so I can look at it again with fresh eyes.

  • Started January 30
  • Finished February 3
  • 2,023 words
  • 62% the size of v 3.1
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Settling With Sea Serpents v 2 is Done!

Settling with Sea Serpents Banner copyI always seem to choke when I get to the climax of this story. One reason is that I haven’t got a good grasp of the setting where it all takes place. Another is that I haven’t really solidified a good character arc for the protagonist, so the climax is lacking emotional punch.

Heykhon Map 001I haven’t done anything about the second problem, but for the first, I sat down and I drew a map, which you can now see. It’s a palace on an island, based on the Korean palace Gyeongbokgung. I have to say, I was very excited to see that Korean palaces had ponds in the middle of them, as my main character can control water. Now he doesn’t have to go all the way to the seashore in order to wreak havoc!

  • Started January 5, 2015
  • Finished January 23, 2015
  • 10,136 words long
  • 24 pages
  • 108% the size of v 1
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2014 Writing Income

There are a couple myths about writers that go around. 1 – All writers are starving artists and 2 – all writers are millionaires. To combat these myths with actual facts, some authors, like Jim C. Hines, have been disclosing the amount of money they have been making from their writing.

In the interest of science, I also want to provide a peek into my books to show what my experience has been, and what I have learned from it.

Books Published

  • Infant Insomnia – short story – $.99 – published January 2014.
  • Curelom Riders – flash fiction – free – published July 2014
  • The Best of the Rice of Life – cookbook – $3.99 e-book $9.99 print – published September 2014

Number Copies Sold/Downloaded 2014

Monthly Sales 2014

  • Infant Insomnia – 30
  • Curelom Riders – 466
  • The Best of the Rice of Life – 24

Net Monies Earned 2012 – 2014

Net Writing Income 2012-2014

  • Infant Insomnia – 2013: -$6, 2014: 8.25, Total: $2.25
  • The Best of the Rice of Life – $55.35
  • Sarimanok Feather – -$1.61 (mail submission)
  • blog (Amazon affiliate link) – 2012: $11.99, 2013: $.58, 2014: $14.05, Total: $26.62

For a first year of publishing, with pretty much 0 marketing, I think this is par for the course. I haven’t done much marketing mostly because the gains right now are so little with short stories. And with my son outgrowing his allergies, I haven’t felt a need to connect with that niche community as much.

I guess you could say I am now 3 years in on the 10 year path to being an overnight success. Better keep working!

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2015 Writing Goals

Settling with Sea Serpents Banner copy

So it’s time for me to plan out what I want to work on in the coming year.

  • 2 drafts of “Settling With Sea Serpents”
  • 1 draft of “Sarimanok Feather”
  • 1+ drafts of “Changestone”
  • Finish “Treasure of the Gods” v 2 and write v 3
  • Another draft of Lightning Born
  • Tweak covers for “Infant Insomnia” and “Curelom Riders”
  • Figure out how to get my stuff on Google Play

Again, Lightning Born is a stretch goal. I think my main focus this year is going to be polishing and seeking publication for my short fiction. “Changestone” is 1+ drafts, because I think it needs a major overhaul, as it’s just not working as a flash fiction. Too much stuff needs describing.

For the cover tweaks, I’m not happy with the typography on “Infant Insomnia” and the black and white version of “Curelom Riders” has no contrast between the dragon and the background. So I want to fix those up. It shouldn’t take long. I just need to figure out how to do it.

Now to get to it.

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