Where Did THAT Come From: Essem and Co, Ularti

Ularti, the owner of the tramp freighter Vanner, keeps Jetay and Khed in indentured servitude, and is one of the main antagonists in Shadow Captain. Jetay’s story arc, as previously told is that of the drifter Drafted Into a Good Cause, and frequently in that arc, there’s a character who the drifter used to work with, who represents the pull away from the Good Cause. I didn’t have a good sense of what that might be in this case, until I hit on the “Hansel and Gretel” framing for Jetay’s situation.

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Where Did THAT Come From: Lanati, Menevis and Family

This is actually a fairly large body of characters spread across the two volumes of Star Master, even if they didn’t require as much work on my part as Shenti and her family did.

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Where Did THAT Come From: Why Such a Jumble of Influences

I began making up stories at a fairly young age, 5 or 6 years old, I think. At that age, my family moved around a fair amount, lived out of hotels from time to time, and some of our videotapes didn’t necessarily have the whole movie on them.

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NaNoWriMo2021

Doing something a bit different this year, trying to work on three projects at once:

Star Master Book 2: I finished the rough draft of this sequel to Shadow Captain. I think it was a couple of weeks ago, but there are some missing scenes I’d like to add if I can.

Star Master Book 3: I have the epilogue written and a general idea of what leads up to it, and another general idea of where the story starts. The middle is kind of fuzzy.

ThornMaster: This is a prequel/side story about the parents of Shenti, a supporting character in the Star Master series, currently being serialized in Kindle Vella. I have three episodes published, and the climax written as well. There’s a few key moments plotted out.

I’m hoping having multiple choices for things to work on will help with the 12K, 15K, 30K, and 40K blahs. We will see.

My NaNoWriMo Word document this year is laid out a little differently from the usual. The last couple of years, I’ve been putting the day’s date in “Heading 1,” allowing me to autogenerate a linked table of contents that allows me to jump from the front of the document to whatever I was last working on.

This year, each of the projects above are in “Heading 1,” and the plot points I know about and want to work on are in “Heading 2,” under their respective projects, which makes them subheadings to those projects. The day’s date will be in “Heading 3,” under whatever plot point I am working on that day. (Let’s not think too hard about what happens if I work on multiple projects or plot points on the same day.)

And since no National Novel Writing Month is complete at Casa Jaglion Press without someone singing about having a long ways to go and a short time to get there:

Kindle Vella is Here!

Mauti and her brother Embo have had their memories damaged by an evil psychic. Now Embo is desperately traveling from planet to planet in search of his missing fiancee, and Mauti is trapped in a dead-end job working for a shady politician. The mysterious duelist Roukazor may be Mauti’s only chance of escape, but Embo thinks Roukazor is the one who attacked Mauti’s mind. Can they trust him? They may have no choice if they want to survive….

Vella is a new piece of the Amazon/Kindle family, geared towards serialized fiction. I’ve started a serial called Thorn Master, set in the Star Master universe. It deals with the adventures of Roukazor and Mauti, the parents of Shenti, the mysterious spy from the Star Master series. This takes place about 27-30 years before the events of the first Star Master book. You can read the first couple of episodes for free here. I am currently working simultaneously on Thorn Master and Star Master Book 2, and hope to have the first draft of Star Master Book 2 completed later this summer, with an eye towards publication somewhere between December 2021 and February 2022.

End of Year Wrap-Up

This year, the writing and publishing went fairly well. With the help of some family members who graciously became my beta readers/proofreaders, I finished, polished, and published a new book in a new (for me) genre, and finished NaNoWriMo2020 in spite of some setbacks. I cut severely back on my marketing costs, which had gotten out of hand in past years, and only got back into active marketing at the very end of the year, coinciding with the new release. So far it’s going better than I had any reason to expect. The modest royalties from my book sales and pages read in Kindle Unlimited to date, would almost cover the costs of my test ads on Bookbub and my low budget ad spend on Bookbub and Amazon. We’ll see how long this moment of almost breaking even lasts.

My hope was to finish and publish my first space opera, start working on the sequel while I was polishing the first one, and maybe write the second half of the sequel for NaNoWriMo2020. I didn’t manage that, and given the extra time that the Covid shutdown bought me, first during administrative leave and then with telework, I feel like I could have done more. But it took me a long time to feel my way through the second half of the first space opera, and a moderately long time to clean up the initial complete draft of the book. I finished that cleanup/polishing process only a few days before NaNoWriMo, and it left my creative energies kind of drained. I’ve found at least three short scenes and two longer sections that need major reworking in the second space opera, before I proceed anything further with it.

Still I wrote 100,000 more or less useable words over the course of the year (second half of first space opera+first half of second space opera), polished and published my longest book to date, created its cover, and constructed a wallet-friendly promotional campaign for its launch.

Plans for next year? Try to have Star Master Book 2 published by the end of 2021; refresh the Ancestors of Jaiya series (proofreading and new covers) somewhere along the way. Write as much as I can of Star Master Book 3, and keep daydreaming and outlining that high fantasy idea that keeps popping up. We’ll see how all that works out.

I Think I Can, I Think I Can

There’s a lot of stuff going on in the world, most of which I can’t do anything about. I will vote in my country’s elections when circumstances permit, I will pray for a good outcome from them, and I will try to be extra-nice to the poll-watchers in the family, because they deserve it. Aside from that, all I can do is focus on my day job and the writing….

State of the Space Opera: Somewhere between 66%-70% revised and polished. If I am very fortunate, I will be done with that by the end of October 2020 and hand it over to my volunteer editors/proofreaders for review. If things work out, I will spend December 2020 prepping it for publication.

State of the Space Opera’s Sequel: Completed a rough outline in Excel, ran it through Word, and imported to Scrivener. I hope to start writing it on November 1 for NaNoWriMo2020.

State of the Space Opera Series as a Whole: Right now, I am not sure whether it wants to be 3 books or 4. If the first two don’t sell significantly better than the Jaiya metaseries did, the space opera series will definitely end up as a trilogy.

Further down the pipeline: revision and cover refresh for the Ancestors of Jaiya series, along with a single volume collection. A concept for a high fantasy series: just a character, plus a vague idea of the setting. (This is about the stage of development the space opera was at in 2015-2016.)

Jaiya Series Collection Released

2020 Jaiya Collection Final

Three Books in One!

Hello! I hope you and your families are all well in this time of uncertainty. While on administration leave due to COVID19, I finally found time to replace the cover art on the original Jaiya Series and compile the three individual novels into one volume. This compilation is available at AmazonBarnes and NobleAppleGoogle, and Kobo. Just click on the name of the bookstore of your choice to be taken to it. I’ve included a synopsis for the collection below.

Journey to the country of Jaiya, in a world not quite like ours. Here, humans ride trains, drive cars, and use cell phones, but they share their world with insect people and trollfolk, and stranger things lurk in the shadows…

Marrying a Monster: As a favor to her parents, Rina agrees to come back to her hometown and take part in an old local custom: a symbolic marriage between the town’s women and the Mountain King, a mythical guardian spirit no one really believes in. But the Mountain King really exists: a monstrous being that feeds on fear and suffering. Rina’s only hope for survival may be Vipin, the dashing scholar hunting the Mountain King, but Vipin is hiding a few secrets of his own…

Waking the Dreamlost: In a place like Jaiya, a woman can’t just back out of an arranged marriage to a bigshot, even if her amnesia keeps her from remembering when and how she agreed to it. Her engagement to a politician makes Itana a target for terrorist attacks, but a former soldier named Marish keeps rescuing her, and gives her a chance at real love. She doesn’t remember hiring him to find out who is stealing her memories, but he is determined to finish the job…or die trying!

Loving a Deathseer: In a place like Jaiya, a servant has to obey his employers’ every whim, even if the whim isn’t in the job description. Erno spends his days rushing around while his wealthy employers bark orders at him. By night, he cases out his employers’ homes and sells the information to his burglar friends. He has only three rules: don’t get close to anyone, don’t let anyone get hurt, and don’t let anyone get framed for the crime. But his latest job will plunge him into a world of political intrigue,and test his rules to the breaking point. His only chance at redemption lies in the love of a persecuted young woman named Zeni, with the power to foresee his death….