Newsletter Notes: Stuck in the Mud

Writing has gotten off course into the mud and needs a tow out.

A few years back, on a rainy evening some young guests arrived at the house and tried parking wherever. A few of them were stuck in the mud. One of the drivers decided to pull off the driveway into an area where an underground water line had been repaired. The car was in mud up to the axle when I arrived home. All the young people worked to get the car out, but just made it worse. The car sunk deeper as the hole got bigger.

I knew the vehicle could only come out of the mud hole with a wrecker and we called one.

Meanwhile, there was at least one more car parked where it could get no traction. Everyone wanted to try and push it out again. I stopped that plan, grabbed a big chain I had, then towed this car out of the mud with my old Honda Pilot.

The wrecker soon arrived and pulled the other car out of the mud hole.

It was an instructive night for some young people without life experience. Aside from the obvious “watch where you park in the rain”, there were several other points to be made such as: don’t try to spin tires in mud, you can’t lift or push heavy objects out of mud, pull vehicles out of mud, know what you can get out of the mud with which kind of a tow, and more. The reason I pulled one car out and not the other was experience. One was just in need of relocation for traction – a simple tow to the right place. The other was too deep to extract from the hole without a wrecker.

Why is this story relevant? That’s where I am with writing and the business of it. My year plus of health problems has left me far behind on everything. I tried for several months to do it all at once, or as fast as possible. That’s a mindset like trying to drive out of a mud hole and you can easily make the situation much worse and certainly frustrating. Such times mean taking a step back and assessing the situation with a critical eye using life experience. I needed to know what needed a minor tow and what needed a wrecker.

After a few months of scrambling through a lot of writing and writing-business projects while getting some tasks completed, I finally stepped back and re-assessed everything. The holidays were a good time for this observation and led to some honest realizations that my goals would require some additional work, much of which I won’t detail here. Suffice it to say, I decided what needed the most effort and what didn’t against priorities that had changed over the last year plus. For instance, I really wanted to upgrade my website with better page content and overall organization. Along the way, I realized it was deeper in the mud than expected with a retired WordPress theme. It needed a wrecker.

That wasn’t the only unforeseen problem that revealed itself, but several goals required taking further steps back in order to achieve them. It took honestly assessing time and available energy to address them all. It meant, creating a priority for everything based on needs and what was required. Some are a simple tow out of the mud, if that. Other goals will take a little longer. However, I’ve decided I may be stuck in the mud, but I’m going approach these problems with a sense of pulling them out the best way available.

As such, the website can wait temporarily with some work-around solutions. Other goals, like publication of new books need focused attention, specifically work on The Cursed Mage Case Files. January was a step-back month on the road to pulling CMCF out of the mud. I found the series plot needed enhancement once I read a series of historical articles. These were timely and led to some minor changes in The Unseen Hand which will enhance the series. It was progress even if it didn’t look like it. More importantly, the cover arrived and it looks great. That development was a big step forward and made me realize I want to order my covers sooner in my publication process because they provide a motivating visual of what the book will become.


I’m still working on pulling things out of the proverbial mud, but I’m making progress each day even if it seems very little. Each small step puts me further along with overall goals as I hope to gain momentum. Later on, I hope to address specifics of where The Unseen Hand is, timing of the publication, a blurb, and even an excerpt or two. For now, I’m busy towing everything out of the mud as necessary.

Meanwhile, The Bow of Hart Saga experienced several months of very good sales resulting in additional reviews. If you’re interested in that series, have a look at these links for more information.

Discover the World of Denaria

Read the series FAQ

View the series maps and read how they were created

Also, there’s a short little free book about Magic Gadgets in The Order of the Dark Rose available to email subscribers. You can click over to it to find the subscription form or use the one on the side.

Likewise, I’ve added Archer’s Aim Press store with merchandise based on the artwork from books I’ve written. Have a look at those if you’re interested.

Stirring from Hibernation

Greetings to Archer’s Aim readers! I haven’t been working on the blog for a while much to my own frustration. A combination of factors have kept me tied up so the blog has not been active too much in recent months. If you’ve noticed more activity recently it’s because I’m putting a little more time into the site. My focus slipped on a number of activities last year with a thyroid issue that has been addressed over the last few months.

I had hoped to have one or two books released long before now but the issues I had over last summer and fall really affected completing projects. When my doctor told me the problem, I reacted with, “That explains a lot.” I probably should have noticed from some symptoms that are familiar but they were not pronounced enough to make me think it was anything other than just being worn out from work, writing and other responsibilities. But it was enough to noticeably hold up my writing schedule. Lesson learned.

With the little health problem, I was often physically and mentally tired so the blog suffered as well as my writing productivity. I’m happy to say that it’s all taken care of and I’m back in the saddle of late and doing much better with my energy for life in general. It’s much like waking up from hibernation and I hope things stay a little more even for a while.

Of late, I’ve re-doubled my writing efforts and made a lot of progress with several projects. I have one book, All Things Forgotten, back from my editor and plan to begin a serious overhaul of the manuscript sometime next week if all goes well. After that, it will be more editing and some feedback from readers, working toward publication during the summer.

Otherwise, my longer novels code-named “Mage” and “Glove” were recently pitched to a few publishers while on a working vacation cruise/conference. Both of these manuscripts have been requested to be reviewed by publishers present at the conference and my agent is also submitting them elsewhere. I should know more about the fate of these WIPs in terms of how they will be published within a few months.

I‘m also hiking forward with another book starting the Broken Shield Chronicles. This manuscript is soon to be finished and will go to my editor. My hope is to publish this book later in the year.

Otherwise, I’m also beginning plans for some sequels to The Bow of Hart Saga. I’m not yet certain the extent of the work but I’ll share more as the planning moves along. The current plan is to publish a novella series that bridges the events of the first series with those of the second series. This shorter series will use new characters with a few existing ones in a parallel story-line into which the next events involving Athson, Limbreth and others will flow. Some of the work for the novella series was started a few years back and were scratched to keep The Bow of Hart Saga as a more concise plot. But with the sequel, there are details that need revealing through this short series to help create context for the main sequel.

I keep pushing onward because I simply love reading and writing books. It’s hard to explain how much better I feel but it is noticeable in how much I accomplish so things are moving along much faster than just a few months ago. There is also the intention on my part to update this site when I can afford it so look for news about that change along with others as the year progresses. Follow me here, my newsletter, my Amazon Author page, my BookBub page or request access to my private Goodreads group for more specific news and opportunities for pre-release copies of new books and some possible freebies. Following on BookBub and Amazon are great ways to receive notifications about my latest books. If you’ve already read The Bow of Hart Saga, please share the books on your social media accounts.


Spark’s Corner Vol. 1

The real Spark has kindly agreed to help out with my newsletter and here was his first effort from a few weeks ago (with a bit of assistance from me):

Hello! I’m really excited about recent developments. As many readers know, I talk with my tail wags and I’ve let it be know for a long time that I want a pet cat. My old cat was named Becky and she was with the family when I arrived but she died several years ago.

Well, just a few weeks ago a little stray kitten showed up near the house and I convinced everyone to keep him. He’s really small just now and I’m not allowed to play with him yet since I might hurt him without meaning to – I’m so big compared to him. But I’m really friendly and have introduced myself.

The kitten’s name is Minou and he’s very playful – I can hardly contain my excitement. I wish he’d grow faster. And what’s more is that I love babies and small children. The family has to pull me away from them because I get so excited around them – I’m just friendly that way (I’d take a job as a greeter somewhere if I could since I’m such a people-dog).

Anyway, that’s all I wanted to say today. I’ll be back next month with more about what I’ve been doing. Maybe I’ll get a treat for this. I love treats!

Spark will be back next month after the next newsletter edition. Hopefully, he won’t be so fixated on the kitten and he’ll share a few more tidbits.