Changes to the Blog

As of this morning, I made a few minor changes to this blog.

Firstly, I updated my Works page to include links to the Fantastic Depths anthology and a link to the short story I posted on this blog last month, The Most Beautiful Island in the World.

Secondly, I added a new Contact page, complete with a contact form, for anyone who wants to send me a message privately. Been meaning to add one for a while and I finally got around to it earlier this morning.

That’s about all for now, so see ya,

-Tim

Another victory

Today I finished the third draft of my upcoming novel, The Mad Voyage of Prince Malock.

I am done rewriting or, as some writers call it, ‘redrafting.’ I will put it aside for now, work on a few short stories, and then come back to it to do some editing. I could do the editing right away, as I know of several problems that need to be addressed, but this draft was a lot harder for me to write than the last two and I would like to focus on something else for a while, just to give my mind a break.

After I edit out those errors, I will then give it to some friends of mine to look over. And after that, I will get it ready for publishing, which should be sometime later this year if all goes according to plan. So excited.

-Tim

Heartbleed Security Update

Here is some useful info on how WordPress has dealt with the Heartbleed vulnerability. Nice to know they’re on it.
-Tim

The WordPress.com Blog

Last week, a very serious bug in OpenSSL was disclosed.  OpenSSL, a set of open source tools to handle secure communication, is used by most Internet websites.  This bug, nicknamed Heartbleed, allowed an attacker to read sensitive information from vulnerable servers and possibly steal things like passwords, cookies, and encryption keys.

Was WordPress.com vulnerable to Heartbleed?

Yes. WordPress.com servers were running the latest version of OpenSSL, which was vulnerable. We generally run the latest version of OpenSSL to enable performance enhancements, such as SPDY, for our users. The non-vulnerable versions of OpenSSL were over two years old.

Has WordPress.com fixed the issue?

Yes. We patched all of our servers within a few hours of the public disclosure.

Has WordPress.com replaced all SSL certificates and private keys?

Yes. Out of an abundance of caution, we have replaced all of our SSL certificates, along with regenerating all of the associated…

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Worldbuilding and short stories

Short stories generally do not require as much worldbuilding as novels.

That may seem an obvious thing to say, but it’s something I sometimes struggle with when I’m writing fantasy or science-fiction short stories. Unless I set a short story in a universe I have written in before, it means coming up with a new world to write in. I try not to do a whole lot. Whereas with a novel I might map out the history of the world (to varying depths depending on the needs of the story, of course), with a short story I will stick strictly to what I need and never make notes on it, again unless it happens to be set in a world I’ve already written in before.

Still, despite that, writing short stories can be difficult for me because I run into a couple of temptations.

The first is to expand the short story into a full-length novel. This isn’t an entirely bad thing to happen, mind you, but I don’t always want to write a novel because I’m not always interested in fleshing out a world or universe in immense detail. Sometimes I just want to explore a simple idea, without having to commit to the length of time a novel usually requires.

The other temptation is to not use any of my good ideas. This thought stems from my fear that I might “waste” a really good idea that I could use for a novel later on, but it’s a really silly fear when you think about it. I don’t believe there is such a thing as a “wasted” idea. After all, there’s nothing stopping me from taking that same idea later on and expanding upon it in greater detail in a novel.

Nonetheless, every time I sit down to write a speculative fiction short story set in a universe I’ve never written before, I feel like I have to do the same amount of worldbuilding I would do for a novel. This is where I am thankful for the Ambage, my writers’ group. For both of the anthologies that I’ve contributed to so far — Constellations and Fantastic Depths — I’ve forced myself just to write my stories and do only as much worldbuilding as each story requires, no more, no less.

Once I get past this irrational desire to worldbuild in excess, however, short stories are usually great fun for me to write. Not quite as fun as novels, true, but they are still fun, as writing should be.

-Tim

Fantastic Depths: Now Available

The anthology is out!
Includes my short stories, “The Creator’s Dilemma,” “Not Malicious, Just Unlucky,” and “The Gift of Valgink,” as well as many other awesome stories from other great writers. Buy it today or as soon as you can!
-Tim

The Ambage

Our latest collaboration–a fantasy anthology–is now available for order!

Fantastic Depths

(artwork by John Matz)

Buy it from:

Createspace.com

Amazon.com

An excerpt can be read on Amazon.com (click “Look Inside”); below is the blurb from the back of the book:

Fantastic Depths is the fourth collection of short fiction published by the Ambage, presenting nearly forty stories written within the fantasy genre by over twenty authors. It features writing from returning authors such as E.R. Alwardby, Nate Deisinger, Nicholas Farrell, W.R. Krueger, and Caleb Peiffer (author of The Second Death), as well as several other new and returning authors.

From dragons to bumblebees; from epic quests to normal lives forever altered by the spark of magic-the stories here explore the depths of ideas and the limitless possibilities of imagination to charm and enchant readers.

This was a fun one, and definitely my favorite so far–and it has nearly 100…

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Taking Charge of my Business

I hope to make a career out of writing fiction.

That is a rather ambitious dream, when you consider all of the obstacles that new and old writers alike must constantly deal with. Scams seem to be around every corner, plenty of people will take your rights and your money with a smile on their face, there’s a ton of misinformation about writing and publishing everywhere you look, and sometimes you get sick and you miss a few days of writing and you think, this is it, this proves I’m not a writer, that I’m a fraud, that I’ll never make any money off this. Even though you have not yet published even one book yet.

Indeed, there is no guarantee I’ll ever make a living at this. Joe Konrath calls publishing a lottery and I am starting to think there’s some truth to that metaphor when you consider the millions of books published each year, traditional, indie, or otherwise, and how many new writers give up early on. Indie-/self-publishing has made it easier to make a living writing fiction, true, but it still takes a while to build a dedicated readership who will buy basically anything you write.

Nonetheless, I still want this to be my career. I’m taking a long-term view of the business, trying to give myself time and space to learn and make mistakes and to write a lot of books. It’s not easy because I want to be published now and I want to be making a living now, too, but I still have a lot to learn and it wouldn’t do for me to upload my first novel to Amazon or some other website right away until I’ve got a proper grasp of things like formatting and cover design, for example.

This is why I am indie-publishing, actually. I would like to have as much control over my business as I can, even if that doesn’t guarantee me anything except a lot of hard work. Indie-publishing gives me that control and indie-publishing is a viable option in today’s world, so I’m gonna give it a go and see where that takes me.

Oddly, I am excited for my future, maybe because I have set realistic goals. Right now, all I want to do is make enough money off my fiction (both novels and short stories and maybe other things, too, later on) to live off of. True, it may take a while for me to achieve that goal, but it seems far more reasonable that uploading one book to Amazon or Barnes & Noble or Kobo or whatever and expecting it to sell a million copies within its first few weeks or months.

Whenever I get worried or depressed about my future as a writer, I remind myself to keep writing and learning and to never give up. I believe that as long as I do that, then maybe someday I’ll achieve my dream of becoming a fulltime career writer. Maybe.

I can only hope.

-Tim