Tag Archives: Jon’s Trilogy

Arcs

It would be great from a business perspective if my characters stayed static throughout the course of a long series of novels. Adventure after adventure could follow in the endless timeline of a cast from whom the audience knew just what to expect. From the standpoint of realism and plausibility, of course, that’s not how things happen in the Dale Amidei universe.

Jon’s Trilogy is an example. His three titles took things, it seemed to me, as far as the character was going to go. When they finished, I had the distinct impression it was time to let Doctor Jon go back to a normal life … as normal as it could be remaining in association with Deborah Vosse, Daniel Sean Ritter, and eventually Boone, anyway. Those are different stories and ones we will address here eventually, God willing.

Ritter has Sean’s File, which is the man’s story from age nine onward. Growth there is a natural part of his continuing exposition. Portraying the change of the same person across years is possibly a factor leading to many readers designating him as their favorite character. That the man appears in every one of my novels to date likely says something about my personal attachment to the Colonel as well.

Boone’s File was meant to be a story of change from the beginning, where perhaps previously it was engineered out of a commitment to plausibility. My bio has always stated that I write in the real world, with real-world language and violence (and, when appropriate to the storyline, sexual situations). Constructing tales where the reader may easily suspend disbelief means persons appearing therein will change and grow. Every good guideline for storytelling says as much.

OLSJ_225x337DSWith Boone’s third on the horizon, I’m able to reflect on her very satisfying development. She has character and romance arcs spanning the six novels in which she appears and which will, again if we are so blessed, be brought to market over the course of the next three years or so. Writing as I have has made her tangible for me, and the results comprise a wholeness I am so glad to have been allowed to witness before anyone else.

Change should be embraced, not feared. In Professor Tolkien’s universe, the great failing of the rulers of Men in Numenor was the inability to accept their limited span. They envied the Uttermost West its Undying Lands, and so eventually brought ruin on themselves. As usual, though he denied any intent of allegory, with that theme J.R.R. Tolkien was portraying the essential link between valid faith and character.

The philosophy necessarily entails accepting limitations for one’s characters as well. They will not operate at a peak level of efficiency through thirty novels. They cannot dispatch endless numbers of villains without paying the price of self-doubt and conscience. They are unable to avoid necessary pain inherent in living well. Embraced, such seems to have only produced added dimension to my work.

My virtual people seem real to me because they have experienced stages of personal development I have observed in others, in persons both characterized and actual. From feedback so far, it seems others value the same effect to an even greater extent.

Boone’s third, One Last Scent of Jasmine, is now preparing to publish next month. The project has remained eminently satisfying throughout the process of bringing it forward. My longest novel prior to The Anvil of the Craftsman’s Revised and Extended Edition, it is, as described by the Editress, an amazing weave compiled into a great ending.

Boone’s story goes on as of this writing, of course, but it will not always. I know it, and she knows it. Though neither of us has been graced with having seen that ending yet, it will be the process of living through to the end which neither of us takes for granted or fears in the least. This, as Tolkien intimated so well, is what the Powers require of the faithful, lest we lose vital hope to futile delusion whispering the world is otherwise.

Choose to Love, -DA

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Entry Points

Discoverability is one key to the success of an independent author. As I plead in the end matter of every novel, we have no publicity department or promotional budget outside of our own efforts.

The content edit of Novel5/ Boone1, Absinthe and Chocolate, is nearing completion. The first title of my third series Boone’s File looms larger on the horizon every day toward a projected release this summer. Three series will be the eventual result, God willing. All, I confess. are set in the same universe as the novel that started things off, The Anvil of the Craftsman.

Jon’s Trilogy, Sean’s File, and Boone’s File share to the extent possible a familiar cast of characters. It seemed to be the thing to do, and one does not meet people like these every day. The engaging spark of General Peter McAllen, the stoic bad-assery of Daniel Sean Ritter, and even the somewhat cynical and perpetual administrative confusion of Bernie Schuster now have become part of the landscape. I don’t think I could let any of them go if I tried.

With three series, new readers will have three places to start: whether with Anvil, my free offering, Operation Naji—which is Ritter’s back story—or with Boone’s debut in Absinthe. Three routes into my world will hopefully allow me show to show the maximum number of literary guests around for a while… for as long as I write, actually.

These novels are entry points, and I appreciate the utility of multiple chances to gain an audience for what I have to say. Whether I’m read in chronological order or by date of publication, I want the experience to be the same: satisfying enough to encourage my audience to tell many others.

I still, and always shall, pursue that happily viral popularity that best-quality writing can provoke. Without readers, as I’ve said before, an author’s voice is only imagination, and they mean the world to me. I thought I was good with words until it came time to tell you all how much.

Choose to Love, -DA

Collection One now available on Kindle!

Available today: Collection One

The nearly 1,100 pages of Dale Amidei Collection One are live on Amazon! My first four novels have garnered over 96% of the available stars in customer ratings. This title is a chance for new readers on Kindle to save half over separate purchases.

“Anvil,” as always, remains a free download for those who’d like to try before they buy. Please spread the word!

C1 Cover

Standing Down

Today is a special day. It marks the end of my Year in the Chair, which was the fulfillment of an ambition to devote twelve months to the full-time writing of fiction. I held that ambition since at least 1998, and a less refined vision for much longer than that.

As a child, something struck me about reading as soon as I mastered the skill. It was the play of words across the page, bringing with them a caravan load of imagery and the ability to transport and suspend the reader in a world created by their crafter. Later, as age refined my perspective, I noticed how words preserved the thoughts of the author, and realized that our inner processes make up so much of what we are. Those are lost to the world with us, unless we are remembered in some way. Writing can do that. I believe authoring a work is taking a shot at immortality: the secret dream of everyone writing with intent. The opportunity came, so I did just that.

I started the YITC with three novels completed and one published—Jon’s Trilogy—consisting of The Anvil of the Craftsman, The Britteridge Heresy, and Killing Doctor Jon. The lead title’s supporting alpha-male character begged for a prequel, and writing it made up the first effort of my Year. Operation Naji is the worthy effort of presenting the first portion of my spooky USAF officer’s back-story. It will be my next release and is up for publication this summer through Single Candle Press.

Another character grew and blossomed in my mind as the YITC continued: Rebecca Boone Hildebrandt. Her character is a different sort of lead. She finds her footing in the sand of the world rather than on the bedrock of Jon Anthony’s faith. Boone is a flawed character. In many ways, she is the victim of her own bad decisions—her courage and dedication to duty notwithstanding. She is and continues to be a work in progress, and portraying her as such came to be the point of her novels: Absinthe and Chocolate, The Bonus Pool and One Last Scent of Jasmine.

The same Special Operator to whom so many of my readers attached in Anvil afterward demanded a second installment of his history. It is King of a Lesser Hill, one that takes place in 1995 during the height of the conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The installment makes up the middle title of his previously unseen life prior to 2006. The novel is everything that I wanted it to be, and stands as a perfect companion piece to Operation Naji.

So, I began the Year with three novels and finish with eight. The first trio is in the marketplace. All are full-length, which I personally consider to be above 80,000 words. Boone’s third stretched slightly longer than Anvil and is my most extensive to date. Her fourth, with the working title of Meat for the Lion, is my current WIP, and the third title of my military alpha’s back-story grows in my mind. Writing—for a writer—never really ends.

What does disappear, unfortunately, is the emotional carrying capacity of so many authors, when little reward for thousands of hours of their labor seems forthcoming. Once today’s hours are logged, I will have worked the Chair for more than 2,570 hours in the past year, when a 40-hour workweek would have consumed 2,080. I will have averaged fifty-plus-hour weeks with no time off save that required by family duties. Excluding the two weeks we spent losing Mother, each of the other days has a work-related entry.

Frankly, I am dragging myself across this finish line. Accomplished author Joe Konrath frequently says that self-publishing is a marathon and not a sprint, and I would agree. The vision from a past Olympic race comes to mind. A stumbling runner, covered with her own feces, staved off helping hands as she crossed the line on her own in a finish followed by a collapse. It is the perfect representation of the experience of writing fiction and attempting to have one’s effort result in a tangible return.

The real challenge in traditional or self-publishing is marketing. This is an environment where technology has made producing an electronic title a viable goal for anyone with a personal computer. Putting up a quality work is now the equivalent of playing a violin in the din of a machine shop. The effort itself might be beautiful, but it is unlikely that many will notice.

I have accumulated forty-two reviews on Amazon across three novels, and all of them are perfect scores, save for the questionable opinion expressed in a single three-star. I’ve given away more than twelve thousand one hundred copies of Anvil, that novel I love so much. So far, one-half of one percent of those downloading have returned to pick up another of the modestly-priced titles in Jon’s Trilogy. With eleven thousand-plus novels appearing every month, apparently there are too many other free titles available, and some of those are just as good as mine. Point-five-percent sell-through ain’t gonna feed the parakeet, much less the bulldog.

Another problem with pursuing success in self-publishing is the inability of even those who have achieved significant sales to explain fully why it happened. Some titles of equal quality and presentation achieve that wonderfully viral condition, and many others do not, and no one really knows the reasons successes occur. The emergence of marketing targeted to genre-specific subscriber lists may be starting to change that, and will be the focus of efforts once Operation Naji is edited, formatted and out the door. Hopefully, that happy strategy will turn things around in our SCP balance sheets.

Until then, I will be taking time to read friends’ work and relax while I look for an opportunity allowing contribution to society in a more appreciable way. Boone’s fourth novel—and Sean’s third—will continue as time allows. When or if they are finished, I will have matched the quantitative full-length output of Ernest Hemingway. It might be time then to stop altogether, or continue on. One never knows until the new day arrives, fresh with the promise of a blank page.

This final day of my Year in the Chair, as every one on which the sun has set before, is both an end and a beginning. To lose sight of that actuality is to improperly manage perspective, and shirk our duties to both our Craftsman and ourselves. Let it never be so.

Choose to Love, -DA