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Showing posts from June, 2010

Cool News

I've just launched the re-design of my website www.ritersbloc.com. It is a bit more focused than my old site, but also includes a nifty contact form in case anybody wants to get in touch with me.  Tweaking & more content will be added as time allows.
Also, in even bigger news, Marcher Lord Press titles are now available at ChristianBook.com.  This is a big win for Jeff and all of the MLP authors as it will help more people discover our books.
Time to run off to my day job.  It's been a crazy week there so far, but fun too as we're in the middle of launching two new curriculum lines!  Tru and Rio  If you're church is looking for some curriculum that really emphasises a relationship with God and looks to go beyond the Church and into the home, you'll want to check these out.

Gotta Stop Obsessing

Every time I sit down to write, I've got all sorts of great ideas for what I can do to push through this blockage I've been getting.

Then I start trying to get it onto the page and I start thinking about everything that has to come together to be able to keep this book at least to the level of Starfire and I freeze, second-guessing what I'm planning or writing.

I've got to learn to deal with that and remember to trust my instincts and just have fun with the writing, which is why I got started in the first place.

Book Review: A Star Curiously Singing

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A Star Curiously Singing is a great and thought provoking science fiction novel that centers around a debugger named Sandfly.

Debuggers are humans who have been taken at a young age and implanted with a device that lets them be continuously connected to the "stream" (a highly advanced internet-like network) that also allows them to talk with all of the technology used by their society. This makes them invaluable as they are the servants that keep this advanced society running.

But there is a downside to such power. The implant also keeps their thoughts and actions under strict control. At even the slightest hint of insubordinate thought the implant sends a "tweak" that causes great pain to the debugger.

This sets the background for a great story as Sandfly is tasked with discovering what caused a robot to tear itself apart during a deep space exploratory mission.
Kerry Nietz did a wonderful job bringing the characters to life and really giving  a sense of how stifli…

The Shenkai Pilgrims

The Shenkai Pilgrims are one of the largest and most influential religious groups in Karnian society. Since the events related in Starfire their numbers have swelled as they send out Heralds who proclaim that the time of The Return has come.

Shenkai Pilgrims believe that Saurians aren't native to the world they have come to call Sauria. But actually originated on a distant world among the stars. They claim that their diety Surka grew angry with them for seeking new homes among the stars and banished them from their homeworld to the planet Sauria, instilling them with the Dread. But they also believe that Surka will eventually lead them back home, once Saurians are deemed worthy.

They also believe that in the past a group of forebearers were selected by Surka to prepare Shenkai for the eventual return of the faithful.

This is going to be one of the main motivators of Downfall, as the Shenkai Pilgrims gain more influence and begin seeking out any ancient relics or powers that will p…

Fitful Starts

Ok, so things aren't going smoothly, but they are going.  I didn't meet my goal for last week with word counts.  I'm working on a smoother beginning to the story that will help lay down some critical info & foreshadowing that I need, but that combined with still working on getting back into a real writing groove isn't helping.

Right now I'm working on figuring out exactly what a Herald of Shenkai would say as part of spreading the news that the Shroud is a sign brought about by the Hand of Surka as a sign that soon Surka will lead the faithful back to Shenkai.

And I've got to do it in a way that doesn't leave people with a blank stare as they try to figure out what was just said!  Fun!

Anyway, as part of my plan to get back into all of this I'm going to start doing this blog in the morning (instead of watching the news or browsing forums) since it becomes far to easy to ignore once the evening starts.  Hopefully this will help with my consistency.

The Book Club Network

I recently joined a pretty cool new social network called the Book Club Network that is all about helping book clubs connect with each other and with authors.

You can create your own page, groups and post about events, while discussing interesting topics that are unique to book clubs.

You can check it out here!

Wordcount, Booksigning & Starfire Discussion Questions

It's Monday!  late, but still Monday.

Right now my Downfall master document is sitting at 6,338 words.  Pathetic? Maybe so.  My goal for this week is to double that.  Which will be a big achievement.
This Saturday I'll be up at the Happy Dragon Book Festival in Boulder, CO with Donita K. Paul and my wife, Tiffany Stockton.
Here's the details: Laughing Dragon Children's Book & Literacy Festival:  June 12, 2010, Boulder, CO,  10-5,  Glenn Miller Ballroom, CU-Boulder.  FREE!!!
Tiff and I should get there sometime between noon and one.

Finally, if you're interested, here are 10 discussion questions I came up with for Starfire.  Answer them if you like. Or, if you would like, post your own discussion question!
1. Starfire was set in an alien culture on a strange world. How did the unfamiliar setting and words affect your enjoyment of the story?

2. Who was your favorite character? Why?

3. If you could have any of the animals or plants from Starfire as a pet, which would it be?

4. …

Clive Staples Award, Get Read Up and Prepared to Vote

Lots of great nominees for the Clive Staples award this year... though I may be a bit biased for one of them (third from the bottom)!

Voting will start in July, but you'll need to have read at least two of these books to qualify.  So make sure you pick some up to kick off your Summer reading!  You won't be disappointed.


A Star Curiously SingingKerry Nietz, Marcher Lord Press Blaggard’s MoonGeorge Bryan Polivka, Harvest House By Darkness HidJill Williamson, Marcher Lord Press Curse of the Spider KingWayne Batson and Christopher Hopper, Thomas Nelson Publishing The EnclaveKaren Hancock, Bethany House Eternity FallsKirk Outerbridge, Marcher Lord Press Faery Rebels: Spell HunterRJ Anderson, HarperCollins The FirstbornConlan Brown, Realms Hunter Brown and the Consuming FireChristopher and Allen Miller, Warner Press Lost MissionAthol Dickson, Howard Books LunaticTed Dekker and Kaci Hill, Thomas Nelson North! Or Be EatenAndrew Peterson, Waterbrook Press OffworldRobin Par…

New Beginnings

So opened up my working document of Downfall and am starting back at the beginning, working through what has been written and smoothing things up.  I always find that the first three chapters are the hardest to write.  I think that's because I'm still getting a feel for exactly who all the characters are and the tone that the novel is going to take.  Plus there is just soooo much foreshadowing to get done, setting up events and ideas that will pay off later.

Plus with the sequel I still have a lot of world introduction to do. That combined with dropping in information to remind/inform about the last book makes for a tense balance of giving out just enough information.  Once I get those chapters just right I think the rest of the book will come much faster.

As for now, here's my current first line:


“The Hand of Surka has spun the shroud that envelops our world to proclaim that our return to Shenkai is near.”

If you have read Starfire, what is your biggest hope for the sequel…

Yes I"m a Terrible Blogger

Sorry for the false re-start yet again. :p  So many things going on now, and so much stuff that I've let distract me.

So the deadline for Downfall isn't gonna be reached in time for a Fall release, but it may work out for the best.

Here are some things I plan on doing to re-invigorate my writing life:

1# Get back in touch with writing communities and fan communities.  I've been focusing my attention on too many things that aren't writing related and thus it is fairly natural to expect writing to be a smaller part of my life.

2# Post here every day, keeping it focused on my writing and what is or isn't happening with it.

3# Post a weekly wordcount summary, even if I haven't made much progress just to keep myself accountable.

4# Finish the Ritersbloc.com redesign and get it uploaded.

5# Don't spend hours watching replays of Starcraft 2 matches or various shows on Netflix!

So that's the plan.  Let's see how well it works. :)