Tag Archives: book

Cover Reveal Ramblings – 4/1/17

My apologies for the delay in a new post, but with the warmer weather, I’ve been extremely busy with things on the farm and at my job.

Just a quick update, editing on book five is progressing nicely, so hopefully, the book will be ready for release by the end of this month or early May. I can’t wait to share this final installment of The Brotherhood of Dwarves series with my readers, especially those who have been waiting since book four was first released.

Because I’m back to being a self-published author, I had to find some cost cutting measures to get this book ready for publication. I decided to knock off some rust and polish up my artistic skills to do this cover myself. I think I managed to mimic the style of the first four covers quite well, and I think readers will love it as much as I do. So without further ado, here is the cover for book five:

Monday Night Ramblings – 3/13/17

When I was still an educator, I stressed the importance of persistence to my students.  Every semester, I would share the famous quote from Calvin Coolidge:

Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful people with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “press on” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.

Life has a way of placing obstacles in your way, and they will test your resolve to follow through on achieving your goals. It’s no secret that I’ve faced my fair share of adversity, and many times, I’ve thought that I would never overcome some of the challenges I’ve faced. On the darkest nights, I felt as if my life had been meaningless because I hadn’t been able to complete all five books of the Brotherhood of Dwarves series. That shortcoming irritated me like a splinter in my psyche.

However, last night, I finished the rough draft of book five. It took a total of 14 years (probably twice as long as it reasonably should have), but through perseverance, I was able to see it to the end. No matter what else, that story has been told the way it was envisioned when it first came to me. Obviously, there is still a lot of editing to do, and then the hard work of promotion begins, but the story is there. At this moment, it still doesn’t feel real, but I have achieved the primary goal I set for myself.

Finishing a book is a great rush. There’s a sense of accomplishment that not much else measures up to. Finishing a series is something else entirely. These characters have been a part of my life through so many ups and downs, and in some ways, they were the solid ground beneath my feet when everything else felt like quicksand. To have finished their tale is bittersweet, albeit more sweet. Now, I get to begin the other projects that I’ve wanted to work on and start achieving the other goals I’ve set for myself. And as I conquer these new challenges, I will press on with persistence.

Saturday Night Ramblings – 1/21/17

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Well, I survived the holidays and have managed to remain fairly productive. Book five is coming along very well. In fact, I’m about to start the final chapter. That’s right. I’m up to the last chapter of the entire series. After all this time, it feels surreal to type those words. So far, I’m really pleased with the manuscript. There are a handful of places in the middle that need to be ironed out, but overall, this is the most intense book of the entire series. I can’t wait for the fans of the series to read it and experience the culmination of these characters’ journeys. Hopefully the editing process won’t take too long, and the final draft will be available in the near future. Soon, I’ll be hiring the artist to develop the cover for this one. As soon as I have the final proof of that, I’ll share it on here.

Once book five is complete, I have a couple of other projects I’ll be working on. Both are really exciting and have a lot of potential. Those of you who have read the first novella of the Sam Skeen Series will be excited to hear that I’ll be working on the second of those tales. The other project I can’t really discuss publicly yet, but once I can, I’ll share on here as well.

Overall, life is progressing forward fairly well. I’m happy with the series’ sales growth since the relaunch (it’s amazing what can happen when a publisher actually promotes the books they publish). If you remember my previous entry, I’ve managed to heal the rift with my friend, and we are back to being the closest of friends again. I’m also still surrounded by some of the most amazing friends a person could ask for, so I have no complaints about life at the moment. I still believe that my brightest days are ahead of me, and I will keep striving to build that reality.

Feedback Friday – 9/9/16

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Welcome to the first installment of Feedback Friday, where I’ll answer your writing-related questions. If you want your question featured here, just leave a comment anywhere on this blog with the words “Feedback Friday” somewhere in your question or you can shoot me an email at thirdaxe at gmail dot com. Please, make sure you put “Feedback Friday” as the subject line.

Our first question comes from Heather in South Carolina, who wants to know the primary differences between a comma, a full colon, and a semicolon so that she knows when to use each one correctly.

In the written language, commas are intended to create a brief pause, mostly in order to separate ideas in the reader’s mind. For instance, if you have a series of three or more items such as a pen, a piece of paper, and an idea, use commas to separate out each of the items so they don’t run together and create confusion. You do not need a comma to separate two items joined by a conjunction, like Jack and Jill, because there is no need for a pause. The conjunction takes care of that.

You should also use commas to set off any kind of an introductory clause. For example, this is one type of introductory clause that needs to be set off with a comma. Because commas are the most misused piece of punctuation, I will eventually have a video in the lecture series dedicated just to their usage. Notice how at the end of the “because” statement, we need a slight pause to show that the introductory element is ending and the main sentence is beginning. Using commas after introductory statements increases clarity and decreases the chance of misunderstanding.

You also need commas to separate two full sentences joined by a conjunction. For instance, I want to make sure that you understand the basic fundamentals of when to use a comma, but I also don’t want to insult your intelligence by making it too simple. To that end, I’ll provide examples embedded throughout this post to illustrate when you should use them, so you can absorb for yourself the rhythm of when you need that pause.

There are many more rules for when you should or should not use a comma, but for now, let’s just focus on those three as the most important fundamentals.

To understand the semicolon, you must understand not only the comma but also the period. If the comma creates a pause, the period represents a full stop. You use periods to indicate to the audience that that thought has concluded and are now transitioning to a new thought. The semicolon is somewhere between a full stop and a pause. Typically, there are two primary instances when you should use a semicolon:

1) If you have two complete sentences that you want to link together, BUT you do not want to use a conjunction because you want to show a connection between those two thoughts, the semicolon links them together. Friendship is the most valuable gift in life; it can heal almost any wound and makes each day a little brighter. Notice how the semicolon joins those two complete thoughts. A period or a conjunction would slow down the reader too much and lose the connection between the sentiments. A comma is too weak of a pause, so the semicolon is the perfect happy median between the two.

2) If you have a complex series, you need to set off the main elements with semicolons to make it clear where each one begins and ends. For instance, in this blog entry we are covering commas, which create a pause in written language; periods, which create a full stop; and semicolons, which fall somewhere in between a full stop and a pause. If we only used commas to separate those three main elements, that phrase would be nearly unreadable because it would be too cluttered. The semicolon shows perfectly where the major breaks should occur.

Finally, we have the full colon. Typically, the colon is used to introduce a series/list or further clarify some thought. If you noticed earlier, before my series of two points about semicolons, I used a colon to introduce that a list was to follow. We can do that in a sentence, too. For instance, a good sentence contains several key elements: a clear subject, a strong verb, and proper punctuation for starters.

You can also use the  colon to further clarify. This falls under two primary subcategories: 1) introducing a concluding explanation and 2) introducing an appositive (if you’re unsure of what an appositive is, that could be the next Feedback Friday segment). For the concluding explanation, consider the following example. A homemade meal nourishes the soul: it involves time, preparation, and attention to detail. While you could argue that a semicolon would serve here just as well, in this particular example, the colon more definitively shows that the second sentence more clearly explains the first. For introducing an appositive, think about this example. Homemade meals taste better for one simple reason: love. In both of these examples, the colon is used to set off an element that provides more explanation or clarification for what preceded it.

So there’s your explanation of the primary differences between a comma, a semicolon, and a colon. Hope to see you back here next week for our next Friday Feedback.

Vocabulary Wednesday – September 7, 2016

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My apologies for my absence from the blog. I’ve been working on the videos, typing on a couple of side manuscripts that I want to release, and writing on book five, so something had to give. Unfortunately the blog is what got neglected.

From now on for the vocabulary entries, I’m only going to offer ten new words each week because twenty just takes too much time to create. I’d rather deliver ten quality words a week than not get the entry completed. So without further ado, here are you Vocabulary Wednesday words for this week:

Badinage – (n) playful banter.  (v) to banter or tease with. [origin is from the French  word badin – to joke. First appeared in English in the the mid-1600’s] Usage: Having been friends for over 30 years, we have developed a badinage that is both predictable and comforting.

Baleful – (adj) menacing; pernicious; obsolete; wretched; miserable. [origin from Old English bealofull. First appeared about 1000 AD] Usage: His baleful stare caused the onlookers to back away slowly.

Bastinado – (n) punishment by beating the feet with a stick; the stick used. (v) to punish in this manner. [origin from the Spanish word bastonada. First appeared in English in the late 1500’s] Usage: The magistrate ordered bastinado for the five protestors to be carried out at sunrise.

Billet – (n) a sleeping spot for a sailor or soldier; an assignment/job; ticket/note; a stick of wood. (v) to assign a sleeping spot. [origin from Middle English bylet or billett. First appeared in English in the late 1300’s] Usage: After two days of non-stop drills, we collapsed on our billets and slept the sleep of the truly exhausted.

Blandish – (v) to coax by flattery or caresses. [origin from Middle English blandisshen. First appeared in English in the mid- to late-1300’s] Usage: This dance was one we had danced many times, her blandishing me with all the right words and me caving in as I knew I would.

Brassard – (n) a mourning band worn on the arm; a badge worn on the arm. [origin from the French word bras – arm. First appeared in English in the early-1800’s] Usage: As was custom in the village, the mourners donned their brassards before moving to the chapel for the receiving of friends and family.

Brigand – (n) a robber; a bandit. [origin is a variant of Middle English briga, Middle French brigand , and Old Italian brigante – companion, member of an armed company. First appeared in English in the mid-1300’s] Usage: The brigands rushed forward from their hiding places and attacked our company without warning.

Brocade – (n) a rich silken fabric with a raised pattern. (v) to weave with a raised design or figure [origin Spanish brocado and Italian broccato – embossed. First appeared in English in the mid-1500’s] Usage: The brocade table napkins were an elegant touch to the ceremony.

Bucolic – (adj) pastoral; rustic. (n) a poem dealing with simple country life. [origin from the Latin būcolicus and Greek boukolikós – rustic. First appeared in English in the mid-1500’s] Usage: With the clucks of chickens and the brays of donkeys, the farm was the ideal bucolic setting.

Burin – (n) an engraving tool for cutting furrows in metal. [origin from French and Italian burino -graving tool. First appeared in English in the mid-1600’s] Usage: The craftsman handled the burin deftly, developing a stylish pattern within minutes.

Apologies

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My apologies for no updates on the blog recently. I’ve been working like crazy to get the writing process videos finished for the beginning of the college semester, and there just haven’t been enough hours in the day to get everything done. Hopefully next week I can get rolling with all the new segments on the blog and online classroom. Until then, you should totally subscribe to my YouTube channel.