Summer 2019 Update

Hey! It’s me. Just wanted to give a little update on what’s been going on this summer since…a lot has been going on.

Audiobooks - I released two audiobooks! You can grab Balam, Spring and The Narrows in audio form now, narrated by Mary Hildebrandt and Scott R. Smith, respectively.

Here’s what one reviewer said about Balam, which you can grab at Amazon, Audible, or iTunes:

The narrator, Mary Hildebrandt, did a fantastic job here, in my opinion. She has a pleasant sounding voice for one, but narrates in a way that you can hear the smile in her voice at times when it’s appropriate, and she made each character unique. There are also parts of this book that are legitimately feels-inducing, and she definitely induced those feels in me. There is a character who is manic AF and talks a mile a minute, and she narrated him just wonderfully. All told, she made it very easy to just turn the book on and listen to it for hours at a time.

And The Narrows is getting praise as well, so grab it from Amazon, Audible, or iTunes:

Riddle's ability to create interesting and believable characters is amazing. I cared about Oliver, Sophie and Davontae from the very beginning. The horror elements in the story are balanced, they blend naturally with the poignant internal struggles Oliver experiences and the heart-warming interactions he has with his friends.

Book 4 - I finished the first draft of my next book! There’s still a lot of work to do, but I’ve got a plan and rough timeline, so I believe it’s on track to release this Fall. Assuming I don’t majorly screw anything up. It takes place in the same world as Balam, albeit with a whole new set of characters in a different country. It’s a fun, weird adventure and I’m excited to give it some polish and unleash it on the world!

Newsletter - I started a newsletter so that you can be up to date with all my happenings. You can find the sign-up on my homepage. I won’t be emailing you often, so don’t worry about spam. Every once in a while I’ll send something out letting you know about progress on new books, when there’s a sale going on, cover art reveals, release dates, fun stuff like that. There also miiiiight be some cool freebies in the future for subscribers, so be sure to pop that email address in!

Anyway, that’s it for now. I’ll have some more news about book 4 in the near future, I hope. In the meantime, check out those audiobooks and subscribe to the newsletter! And as always, if you check out any of these books: first of all, thank you so much; and second of all, if you have time please leave a rating and possibly a review on Amazon and/or Goodreads. They truly help indie authors a great deal, so I’d appreciate it a ton!

See you soon ~

A Song of Guilt & Pressure

I wrote about 1,000 words of my new book today. Not a stellar amount, but not bad. The total word count is up to around 96,000 now, and I have a good amount of chapters left to write. It’ll surely be my longest book yet. It’s taken me several months of writing on and off, due to several factors such as being busy at work, being busy with other projects, and just general lack of inspiration. But I like how it’s turned out so far, and I think it’ll be a cool story. I hope.

As an indie author, it’s drilled into our heads that the best way to be successful is to write write write. And that hopefully all that writing is for a series, too. The latter is something I’m definitely failing in, considering I’m now writing my fourth standalone book. At least this one takes place in the same world as Balam! That’s a start, right? But the general consensus is: you need to be writing and releasing books frequently. That’s what retains readers, that’s what draws more in. The more books you have (cough in a series, ideally), the more read-through, the more Kindle Unlimited pages being read, the more copies you can sell, etc. etc. etc.

There are lots of indie authors who release multiple hundreds-of-pages books every year, and I genuinely don’t know how they do it. For some, that’s nearly 1,000 pages of content written, edited, and published every year. Even the authors who manage to pump out one 600-pager a year astound me. It takes a lot of time to plan, write, edit, and launch a book like that. How are you that productive? How are any of you productive enough to do it multiple times per year?

The point I’m getting at is that this is not my process. I simply don’t have the time or energy or inspiration to pump out that many words to hit deadlines like that. I can only write when I’m feeling really inspired and motivated; I’m not the type of person who can make themselves write 500 words a day no matter what. I have to be feeling it. Sometimes I’m feeling 500 words, sometimes I’m feeling 3,000. Sometimes I’m feeling 0.

This repeated sentiment in the indie writing community of needing to continually release content in order to be relevant and even a minor success has created a lot of guilt and pressure in my own process for the past several months. In the end it’s all self-imposed, sure, but it’s hard not to feel that way when so many people are saying “This is the way to be successful!” and you just…can’t do it.

I’ve been writing this current book for about six months now. According to some, I probably should’ve released two books in that time. At my current pace, I’m hoping to get this thing released in the fall, but even that I’m not 100% sure of. I’ve created this “fall” deadline in my head since that will be a year since my last book, and so every day where I don’t write or even just don’t write as much as I hoped fills me with guilt. Each of those days is a failure.

I keep trying to tell myself that there is no hard and fast rule, that all of us authors should just write at our own pace, release things when we’re ready. I tell myself that, hey, I actually did release two books last year (though one was considerably shorter than the other), so maybe I deserve some time to relax and just play games or read books. But then I think that I need a 2019 release, and the artificial pressure is back.

I’m trying to alleviate that guilt and pressure. Failing a lot of the time, but trying. And I guess that’s important.

I don’t know what the point of this post was. I guess just to get some of that pressure off my chest, and maybe see if any other authors feel the same way.

But anyway, I’m writing the next book, slowly but surely. I think it’s cool so far, and I’m looking forward to having everyone read Kali and Puk’s story. I’ll maybe have it out sometime in 2019, if I can manage.

We’ll see how it goes.

General 2018 Updates

Clearly I am bad about keeping this blog up to date. For much more frequent updates about everything, I highly suggest you follow me on Twitter and/or Instagram.

Anyway, some updates. 

As you're probably well aware, my latest novel Balam, Spring came out earlier this year! This is what I was writing during the NaNoWriMo 2016 blog posts. Lots of people have said lots of great things about it, which is honestly a huge relief and very cool to see. You can check out a bunch of reviews over on Goodreads

I've also entered both Balam and Wondrous into this year's Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off (SPFBO). There are a ton of details about the contest on that website, but the gist of it is 300 self-published fantasy books are entered, reviewed by 10 different blogs, and whittled down to 10 finalists, then finally 1 winner. Neither of my books have been reviewed yet, but Balam should be up on The Weatherwax Report on Sept. 19, so fingers crossed everyone likes it on the Weatherwax team!

In new writing news, I've written the first draft of a new novel that's currently in the hands of beta readers and is getting some pretty positive initial feedback (though there are still plenty of improvements to be made). Maybe that'll be out by the end of the year, but I'm thinking early next year is more likely. 

I've also outlined and started drafting my next book after that, which takes place in the same world as Balam! It takes place in a different part of that world, though, and I'm very excited to delve into some new cultures and creatures there. But that's all I'll say for now!

Anyways, thanks for stopping by. Have a good day. Bye!

NaNoWriMo 2016, Week 4

I went into NaNoWriMo 2016 with a general plan for this novel, but nothing concrete. While I knew how chapter one was going to play out, since then I've been making it up as I went (which, I know that's how all writing is obviously, but you know what I mean), and while I really like what I've got so far (which is a word count that is a little more than half of the entirety of Wondrous while still only covering act one of this book), I'm looking forward to the chaos of NaNoWriMo winding down now that I don't feel like I need to write thousands of words every single day. It'll give me time to sit down and outline the rest of the book so that I have more of a road map and can structure the events in the best way possible. 

Day Fifteen (11/21). I decided to skip ahead and write the last sequence of chapter 6, which I honestly think turned out pretty great. Got through a little over 2,200 words, so the NaNoWriMo word count goal is within my grasp! There are still two or three sections to write in chapter six, but I'm really pleased with how the opening and closing ended up. Possibly one of my favorite chapters so far. 

Day Sixteen (11/22). Wrote another 2,500 words and...hit the 50k goal! Officially completed the NaNoWriMo challenge eight days early, and it felt great. Still haven't finished chapter six, but I wrote another good portion of it and I know where I want it to go (for the most part). It's gonna be the longest chapter yet, but a lot of good stuff goes down. 

I'm glad I finished up NaNoWriMo on Tuesday, because I know that over the holiday weekend I'm gonna be very busy and not have any time to get writing done. I've gotten a good portion of this book done, but I don't think it's even halfway there yet; I might be on the tail-end of act one. But it's exciting to have come this far in just a month! Here's to hoping I keep up the momentum for the rest of the first draft process. And thanks to everyone who's been so supportive on twitter!

As a special treat, here's a tentative list of all the chapter names for what I've written so far: 

Prologue: Once
Chapter 1: Night Air
Chapter 2: Surely This Can't Be It
Chapter 3: Arrival
Chapter 4: The Body
Chapter 5: Sun to Moon
Chapter 6: Past the Cucumber Patch

NaNoWriMo 2016, Week 3

I went into this week over halfway done with the 50k word goal, though something much bigger was looming before November 30: the release of Pokemon Sun/Moon this Friday. I knew I'd want to spend a lot of my free time playing this once it came out (yes sorry I'm weak), so I tried to get down to business this week but ended up not feeling as inspired as I have the past two weeks. No biggie, though, because I'm still pretty far ahead of's daily par, and I got some pretty good work done anyway. 

Day Ten (11/14). Not a bad start to the week, but not my best either. Got through roughly 2,500 words in the morning, finishing up chapter four and having the first real interaction between two of our main characters. Things are heating up! I've gone through NaNoWriMo this year with barely a plan; I know roughly some events in the middle and at the end of the book, but by no means do I have an outline, and I'm kind of making things up as I go along. As I near the end of a chapter, I have an idea of what I want to happen in the following chapter, but beyond that it's up in the air. It's been a fun, interesting way to write, and I'm pleased with what I've got so far. 

Day Eleven (11/15). Another small day, only around 2,100 words. But I'm pretty far ahead, so I'm still confident that I'll finish the 50k before month's end without any issue. Spent the day starting chapter five, writing a bit of it and mentally planning where I want the chapter to go. 

Day Twelve (11/16). A pretty good day, overall. Wrote the rest of chapter five, which had some turns I wasn't expecting, which is always fun to discover while you write. I'm also starting to realize some turns I want the plot to take, and I've started a document with notes on which chapters to return to when November is over so I can add some foreshadowing and extra details to certain scenes. This is also the day I broke 41k! 

Day Thirteen (11/17). Not my best day of writing, but not my worst either. Wasn't feeling particularly inspired and wrote less than 2k words, but since I'm already so close to the 50k goal, I figured it would be fine to take a day to not push myself to write more if I wasn't feeling it. 

Day Fourteen (11/18). Another small-ish day, but 2,200 words isn't bad at all, and I'm super close to hitting the 50k word goal. I know I won't really write much of anything (if at all) over the Thanksgiving holidays, so it still might take me until Nov. 30 to get there, but I'm confident I'll get there! Today I continued writing chapter 6, and I realized that so far my word count is nearly half of the entirety of Wondrous, and I'm not even through act one of this new novel! I'm not sure yet if that's just because the pacing of this story is so different or because I will need to cut a lot of stuff in revisions (or both), but I'm enjoying writing the story in this new style that I haven't attempted before, which is very likely inspired by my reading 20ish Stephen King books over the past year. 

WORD COUNT: 44,816. 

Media I've Enjoyed This Week Instead of Writing Like I Should've Been:

Not much new music this week, but I'm highly anticipating the new album Starboy from The Weeknd next week. And Childish Gambino's new track "Redbone" is pretty great. 

I checked out Mike Birbiglia's latest movie, Don't Think Twice, which I have to say did not live up to the hype for me, but it was a pretty enjoyable dramedy, and I always like seeing Gillian Jacobs in stuff. On Sunday I'll be seeing Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, which I'm really looking forward to, so it's killing me that I have to wait two more days to see it. Two! 

I gladly welcomed the return of Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl after a few weeks away, and I've admittedly been watching a fair amount of Guy's Grocery Games, so judge me all you want, I don't care!

NaNoWriMo 2016: Mapping

I don't generally write on weekends. I don't know why. I don't really write during the evenings either. But I did get some work done on my NaNoWriMo book over the past weekend, though it wasn't any actual writing. 

My fantasy novel takes place entirely within one small coastal village, and the three main characters interact with a lot of recurring characters who live in the town. So, for my own sanity, I spent a little while compiling a list of all the townspeople I had already mentioned in the four chapters I'd written, along with their age/appearance/occupation/family members/misc. notes. That way I have an easy reference to turn to whenever I need to remember what someone looks like, or what their job is, or whatever else might become relevant whenever they're talking to one of our heroes. 

Another thing I did was take the town map I drew months ago (for the first, failed iteration of this story) and began marking which houses people lived in, keeping in mind factors such as: vicinity to their job, activities they enjoyed (for instance, one man particularly enjoys a nice ocean view, so he lives near the cliffside despite it being a bit of a walk to work), stuff like that. The inn, butcher, clinic, etc. have also all been mapped out. 

Having all of these locations in place not only makes the map another nice reference tool whenever I need to realign myself and see where everybody is physically located and where they need to go, but it could also potentially present some good storytelling opportunities. I want to adhere to this map; if my heroes are on one side of town, really in the thick of things, and realize that Bernard Tilling is the only person who could help them out of this bind, but he's all the way on the other side of town...well, then, my characters are going to have to improvise and think of a creative way out of their situation. It's limiting, but in a way that could force the characters (and of course, by extension, me) to be more creative. 

Anyway, I enjoyed putting together these little reference tools and thought others might enjoy hearing about them and possibly even incorporate them into their own writing process. It's certainly gotten me more excited about my book and has helped breathe life into this peculiar fantasy village. 

NaNoWriMo 2016, Week 2

I don't really write on the weekends (for whatever stupid reason), so I was probably already running behind other people when this week started, but oh well. Despite a pretty terrible Wednesday (both mentally and writing-ly), I managed to make a pretty dang good amount of progress this week. Even more than during week one! I also made an account on the NaNoWriMo website, so you can add me as a writing buddy if you'd like by clicking here.

Day Five (11/07). Inspiration wasn't really coming when I started writing in the morning and then I had about an hour-long interruption, but I somehow ended my writing day with the most words I've done in a single day so far this month! Got 5,498 down and finished off chapter two. The pacing and structure of this book so far is much different than Wondrous, which is both weird and exciting. But I'm roughly 50 pages into the book (after a prologue and two chapters) and still haven't even introduced the third main character yet, so we'll see if she makes her first appearance in chapter three. If not, she'll definitely be here by four. 

Day Six (11/08). Only about 2,400 words today, wasn't really feeling it. Not sure why. But I got a bit done, and what little I wrote today was originally going to be chapter three but I decided to move it to the end of chapter two instead. Fits better there, I think. Need to introduce our third main character soon, though.

Day Seven (11/09). Truthfully, the results of the election left me...less than motivated to write this day. But I felt like I should still get something on the page, no matter how little, so I jumped ahead in the book and wrote the death scene I had planned because that felt most appropriate. 

Day Eight (11/10). After having no motivation to write the day before, I managed to get through about 5,500 words, writing the entirety of chapter three. Which, I am happy to report, introduced our third main character! Now the gang's all gathered here in town and things can really start kicking off. 

Day Nine (11/11). I had the day off work so I woke up, took the dog out, and sat myself in front of the computer to write. Managed to write a little over 3,700 words, maybe half or two-thirds of chapter four, and I'm pretty pleased with what I got on the page!

WORD COUNT: 32,033.

Media I've Enjoyed This Week Instead of Writing Like I Should've Been

Childish Gambino announced his new album Awaken, My Love! and released the opening track from it, which I really enjoy. I'm super excited for an entire album of tracks like this on December 2nd. Already got my copy pre-ordered.

I also went to an advance screening of Arrival, which has become one of my favorite movies of the year. A really engrossing, beautiful sci-fi film that I suggest you check out. Denis Villeneuve continues to cement himself as one of my favorite working filmmakers. 

And finally, for TV, the new season of Red Oaks premiered on Amazon today. I've only checked out the first couple episodes so far, but I'm already really enjoying it and am glad to have this show back. It seems to not have a huge following, which is a shame. If you're an Amazon Prime subscriber in search of a good comedy, you should check it out. 

NaNoWriMo 2016, Week 1

I decided to try blogging about my experience with NaNoWriMo this month. I should preface this by saying I'm not going into November with the intention of writing a full novel; I've just been so busy prepping the release of Wondrous lately that I haven't had any time to write, so I'm using the event as an excuse to motivate myself into getting some writing done. Hopefully I can get 50k words into a new story, but who knows how far I'll actually come, haha. 

I've been kicking around three different novel ideas for a few months now, so it was hard narrowing it down and choosing just one to focus on. I have a horror idea tentatively titled Drainpipe, a contemporary dramedy with the working title Mascot (until I can think of something better), and a fantasy that I'm just referring to as Town until I come up with a title for that one. Ultimately, I decided I wanted to work on Town, since that's what I had the most planning already done for. I had characters, a setting, a lot of details for the world, fantasy races, etc. Drainpipe isn't much more than just a general premise right now, and Mascot has characters and an entire outline, but right now I'm feeling more into fantasy. 

Day One (11/1). I started off with a prologue that had not been in my mind at all during any iteration of this story, but when I sat down to write, the idea came to me and I decided to give it a shot. It's kind of unlike anything else I've written (kind of a romance), so it was pretty difficult, but I wrote almost 2,500 words of it so I'm pretty pleased. It's kind of disconnected from the rest of the story (though at the same time connected in a big way too), so I don't really need to worry about it before continuing with the bulk of the book, but I would like to come back to it and flesh things out to better get across what I was going for.

Day Two (11/2). I somehow ended up writing over 4,000 words in the morning, which is double what I'd planned to write that entire day. And the words aren't even very bad! I'm sure I'll feel differently a couple months down the line, but for now I think it's pretty good. It's about half of chapter one. I'm writing this book in a different style than I'm used to, and I like how it's turning out so far. 

Day Three (11/3). A lot of this day's writing was just adapting/editing the sole chapter I'd already written for the previous version of this story, but I also wrote a lot of new content to go in between/after what I already had. So combining old/new stuff, about 5,000 words were added, and I wrapped up chapter one!

Day Four (11/4). I was pretty busy, and once I finished the work I had to do, I wasn't feeling very motivated to write, but I still opened up my Word document and cranked out about 1,300 words. Not a bad start to chapter two, and overall not a bad start to NaNoWriMo. I'm not sure how busy I'll be in the coming weeks, but even if I don't hit the 50k goal, I'm still glad I got anything at all written for this project. But here's hoping! 

WORD COUNT: 12,950.

Media I've Enjoyed This Week Instead of Writing Like I Should've Been

My good friends in Waterparks just released their debut full-length album "Double Dare" today, so I've been jammin' that a lot. It's a really great album filled with catchy songs that you should check out if you like some fun in your music. My favorite tracks are "Take Her to the Moon," "Dizzy," and "It Follows." 

I also watched I Am the Pretty Thing That Lives in the House and Doctor Strange, the former of which I really did not get much out of, and the latter of which was alright but also Stephen Strange is kind of an insufferable person. Definitely a lower tier Marvel movie for me, which is disappointing after how much I loved Captain America: Civil War earlier this year. At least next up is Guardians of the Galaxy 2!

And finally, as far as television goes, I've been watching Channel Zero: Candle Cove, which is a new horror anthology series on SyFy. Season one stars Paul Schneider and is based on the creepypasta "Candle Cove." The first four episodes have been very intriguing, creepy, and tense, so I recommend it if American Horror Story has left a bad taste in your mouth. This week was also the finale of Atlanta, which had a fantastic first season and now I can't wait for season two. Hopefully we don't have to wait too long, though Donald Glover is off being busy in Marvel and Star Wars movies now..

WONDROUS Cover Art Reveal

I am thrilled to finally show off the beautiful cover art for my debut novel WONDROUS

Isn't that amazing? 

The artwork was illustrated by Aaron Griffin, an artist from London who works in the gaming industry at Gamesys Studios. You can learn more about Aaron and check out his incredible portfolio here