New Website!

Hey everyone,

I have finally launched my new website over at www.ajpowers.com – which will now become my primary website/blog, and what I will keep up to date. Please update your bookmarks to that URL for future posts.

You can sign up to receive email alerts for whenever that blog is updated by entering your email address on the right side of the page. You can also sign up for my newsletter which is different from the blog alerts. My newsletter will contain all sorts of information, including goodies and giveaways that the regular blog won’t post. You can sign up for it here. Don’t worry, I do not spam it, so you won’t have to worry about getting hounded with emails every day, even every week.

If you head on over to www.ajpowers.com you can check out a synopsis of my upcoming release, As the Ash Fell. I look forward to seeing you there!

-AJ

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Alpha Edits Complete!

The other night I passed another milestone of my young writing career. I finished the preliminary edit pass on my first novel! I am very excited about this occasion, as it has been a very long time in the making.

I started writing this story back in March of 2014. It was an idea I had kicking around my head for a little while — a situation the protagonist found himself in rather than a plot. So after a few weeks of pondering it I wrote a couple of chapters before I decided it just wasn’t going to be what I wanted to write. My wife asked if she could take a look at what I had, so I printed it out and she read it that night. She said something along the lines of “you’re not finishing this?” I responded “probably not,” to which she replied “yes you are, because I want to read the rest.”

You might think “Oh she’s just saying that,” and normally I would agree, but that’s a commonality I think I can say Stephen King and I have — our wives are our harshest critics. She wouldn’t have said that if she didn’t mean it. That’s certainly not a bad thing; she knows that sugar coating things just to make me happy will not do me any good in the long term. She has been blunt with me in the past on any of my artistic endeavors (whether art or writing), and the end result always benefits from it. Having said that, when she told me she wanted to read more, I thought it wise to continue building on the story I had.

So, 10 months, 2 shipped games, and (most importantly) a newborn son later, that same story is now a 125k word novel. I am so thrilled to have completed it, especially after some lengthy gaps in writing due to the day job, freelance, an infant, and various house guests. It was the kind of situation where I was ready to throw in the towel more than once, but my wife pushed me to keep going, and I am glad she did.

As I did the initial edit pass I was able to read the whole thing (for the first time) in a relatively short time frame. Much to my surprise, I didn’t hate it. In fact, I kind of liked it.

This is not to be taken as an arrogant or prideful comment, it’s not going to be up to me whether other readers enjoy it — well, I guess in a sense it is, but you know what I mean. By that I mean I actually had fun reading it as a story, which is something I was worried about after just the first ten chapters of writing it. I started second guessing every decision I made, started critiquing chapters I had not written (or read) in months. I thought the whole thing was going to be a befuddled disaster that even I, the author, wouldn’t be able to make heads or tails of (sorry, hun, I know you hate when I end sentences on prepositions). So when I read it for the first time (I don’t read my manuscript while I am writing it, a suggestion I took from Stephen King’s On Writing), I was pleased with how much more smoothly the story flowed than what I had anticipated.

Of course, my opinion is just that, an opinion. Now that the draft is in the hands of two very capable critics (and more to come), I may end up being the only one feeling that way; time will tell. One thing is for sure, though. I have my first full length novel under my belt, and success or fail, that is huge.

At this point I am hoping to have the story sent out to my beta readers in about a month or so, and then the final release sometime in late March to early April. I would love to just get the book out in the next couple of weeks, but I’m forcing myself to take a slow and careful approach. I am already receiving great feedback and planning for some changes, and I know I’ll only receive more constructive criticism as more people get their hands on it. This will allow me to (hopefully) release a very smooth and polished novel. You really only get one shot at a debut novel as an author, and I want to make sure it counts.

Thank you to all the folks out there that have been encouraging me as I finished this project up. I am excited to share with the world the labor of my love over the past year, and hope that it is an enjoyable experience for you when it launches here shortly.

Stay tuned for upcoming news on the title, cover art, and other projects in the near future. For now, I will focus on cover art for J.T. O’Connell’s upcoming release The Remaking (it’s a good one, I’ve already had the pleasure of reading it) as well as the cover for my own book. And then, most importantly, taking it easy in the evenings again — at least until I start the next idea I have in my head. 🙂

Until next time,

AJ

 

 

 

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Edits, Facebook, and Covers.

I have begun the first pass of edits on my WIP. Initially I had planned to just make a handful of changes to the story, remove or tweak a few areas before I handed it off to my alpha readers. However, as I read the opening chapter, more for fun than anything, I realized that I needed a first pass edit on the entire thing before kicking it off. I am so glad I decided to do this, as I have discovered several issues that would have easily confused my alpha readers, distracting them from giving the specific feedback I am seeking. I am sure they will still discover a few of these types of problems (one of the reasons I am doing this process) but I would certainly like to eliminate as many as I can before letting anyone else read it. With Christmas in the rear view mirror — as well as the crazy busy times that come with it — I am hoping to pick up the pace with my edits and get this thing ready to go before the end of the month (at the very latest).

As I finish up with edits and get the book out to my Alpha readers (only a very small, personally known group of folks), then I will begin working on a new cover art piece for a book I am very excited about: The Remaking by the talented J.T. O’Connell. I had the pleasure of being a beta reader for this book, and will also have the privilege of being the cover artist. I can’t wait to do this cover, and reveal it to you all afterwards.

Then, after I finish that cover and while my own book is going through beta reading and edits, I will be working on the cover art for that one, too. I am very excited about doing it, but have no idea what I want to do with it, yet. Knowing me, it’ll be a huge undertaking, hopefully I don’t drop the ball with it.

Finally, I have a Facebook Author page online. I’ve needed to get this up and running for a while, and with my book releasing soon I figure now is the time. It’ll be a bit slow going for the first little bit, but I hope to be making regular posts there soon. If you haven’t liked it already, please do so — I would greatly appreciate it.

Well, that should do it for now. I’m looking forward to a productive 2015, and hope to have multiple releases this year. So stay tuned.

-AJ

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Novel Rough Draft Complete!

Howdy,

 

So I have some big news that you probably already figured out from the title of this post. The last Sunday of November I hit a huge milestone in my writing efforts — I finished my first novel’s rough draft! Coming in right around 125,000 words, it was an indescribable feeling to type the final words and hit save, knowing I was finished with that story (even though there is a good deal of edits ahead of me).

To say it was an exciting moment would be an understatement. I’ve successfully completed short stories before, and made a 40,000 word dent into my first novel attempt, but never have I gone past 50,000, nor have I ever completed a full length book draft.

I started editing some plot points earlier on in the book that had changed dynamically over the course of writing as well as cleaning up some wording and other small issues that came to my mind. After that I plan to hand it off to a few alpha readers before I make the final preparations for beta readers. I am hoping that the beta readers will have their copy by the end of January (though that might be a stretch, now) and Hopefully a final release by end of February or early March.

It’s been an incredible journey. I started writing it back in March of this year and made significant progress in a short amount of time. Then, as the day job got busy shipping a big project, followed by some freelance work and the birth of my son, writing slowed to an eventual stop by June, not to be touched again until September/October. In the last 2 months or so I hammered out about 40,000 words to wrap things up. I was certainly worried I wasn’t going to finish, that it would be just another incomplete work that would likely never see the light of day. Not so!

I will have more news as the release nears, including a cover art reveal (as well as a title reveal for that matter) and a tentative release date as things progress.

Until next time, hope y’all have a Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

-AJ

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New Cover Piece

Howdy y’all. It’s been too long, but things have been busy. I am just shy of 90k words on my novel progress. Not sure what the end wordcount will be, but likely close to 100k or so. Life circumstances had brought it to a halt for a while, but things are looking promising to start back up soon. However, in the mean time, I did manage to finish a new cover piece for my father, William Powers, who will be releasing this short story soon. Once it’s released I will link to the proper pages.

If you have any cover art needs for your book, please contact me and we can discuss your needs. Hopefully, after I finish my current WIP, I will get a page devoted to cover art, and will have some new (and even a few updated) pieces to add.

secondhand_cindy

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Progress update on my writing.

Well, I hit a significant word count milestone recently. About two weeks ago I reached 43,000 words which was 1,000 longer than the lengthiest effort in the past (of a story I may still finish some day). That was a huge boost for me, because I was still going strong, where as with the previous attempt I had already started to fizzle out on my writing. And as I am writing this (at work, on my lunch break) my WIP at home is sitting at just over 60,000 words. The story is really starting to get momentum as I approach the final stretch.

There have sure been some bumpy sections that have been much harder to write than others. Some felt like I was just trudging through tar, other times I felt like Clark Griswold sledding down the hill in Christmas Vacation; my typing unable to keep up with my brain. While there are still some plot elements that need to be worked out, I think overall it’s going to come together nicely.

As for release information, right now I am hoping for a September/October release. Though I am going to push myself to have the rough draft finished in the next couple of weeks, I will still need to read over it myself (following Steven King’s advice on not reading the manuscript until the rough draft is finished), then make adjustments of my own at which point it will be kicked off to my lovely wife/editor and one or two alpha readers, then after the editing pass is completed I will be sending it out to a small group of beta readers. Oh yeah, and about that time give or take we’ll be having a baby, so things might get a little bit crazy 🙂 but hopefully the readers will give good feedback, at which point I’ll finish it up, do the cover art work, and send it to the presses.

If you are interested in being a beta reader, please shoot me an email: fluduh AT gmail DOTCOM – I am going to keep the beta readership small, so let me know soon so I can make sure to add you to the list. Check out my previous post for a bit of insight on what the book is about. It’s a post apocalyptic genre.

I am very excited to be completing this book. While it’s been great to get back into writing, and has been enjoyable, I am excited to move on to my next book which will not be a followup to this book or anything I’ve written in the past. It’s an idea I’ve kicked around in my head for years and I think my current writing has been a good exercise to get back into the swing of writing, and now I am ready to take on this beast of an idea.

I am looking forward to the coming release, and to hear what y’all think of it.

Best,

 

AJ

 

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New book WIP

My second post in under two months, it’s been a while. I am going to try and post here more frequently, and as hard as it might be to believe, I actually have been working on a new book that I can’t wait to reveal!

Without going into too much detail, the new story is set in a post-apocalyptic world and follows around a young man (late teens/early twenties) as he works to provide and defend those that rely on him. I am currently sitting around 19k words in my WIP, so it is coming along quite well. I have had this idea floating around my head for a while, and I wasn’t sure I wanted to go down the post-apocalyptic road at first. Don’t get me wrong, I love the PA setting, whether a movie (Book of Eli), book (The Road, One Second After), or video game (Last of Us), but it is clearly a popular genre that is very saturated with both mainstream and indie authors frothing at the mouth to get their books in front of your eyes. I wasn’t planning on doing a book in that genre (at least anytime soon) because I didn’t want to have to compete with so many great reads for someone to see my work, and I also worried about my story feeling similar to all the other stories out there – after all it’s pretty hard to come up with something that hasn’t already been done in that genre before. Content with my decision to lock the idea in the vault for all of ever, I ended up telling my wife the basic premise of the story and she looked at me and said “I really want to read that story, so you need to write it!”

So I started typing. I mean, how am I going to tell my pregnant wife “no” on a request like that? Which is a nice segue into the next portion of this post. As mentioned in my previous post, my wife is expecting. With our son due at the end of July (just in time for the 105+ temps here in Texas), things are going to be crazy around here. Though this summer is going to be crazy, my goal is to have this rough draft finished by the end of this month, maybe stretching a little into June, then do a once over on it and get it in the hands of the beta readers followed by an edit and hopefully late summer release. Barring any unexpected craziness, this should be doable. But then again, craziness seems to find me pretty consistently.

Will give you some more info on this book as the weeks draw on. Once I get the rough draft done I plan to start blocking out the cover art and while the beta readers are going through it I plan to do the final cover, which I will reveal shortly after I finish.

I am so excited to be back into writing. I wrote 15k words alone last week. This week we had family in town so very little got done (as expected) but now I am going to be back in the swing of things, and will be jamming away on this again with regularity.

Thanks for reading, hope y’all are having a good one.

-AJ

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