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Jay Cantrell: Blog

It Gets Better

February 13, 2018
Posted at 12:09 pm

My longtime collaborator Zom, proofreader extraordinaire and all-around man about town, has culled through the first part of The Rise of Azkoval.

As always, he's managed to fix 98 percent of my errors -- and as always, that still leaves a few in every chapter. (Zom is great -- he's not a miracle worker).

The good news is that I'm still not charging the reader for the mistakes that slipped through.

Jay C.

A Couple of Things I Forgot to Mention ...

February 9, 2018
Posted at 12:50 pm

... about the Rise of Azkoval.

The most important is that until right before I started to post, I hadn't sent the files to my trusty proofer Zom.

The story has been around so long that I thought he'd already looked it over. The errors in the first part of the story make it pretty evident that he didn't.

So, for those wondering (and commenting) on the roughness of the first part, that's why.

Zom has the story now but I asked him to start his work with Part II. I'll come back and repair the first 18 chapters when he's done his magic on the other 70 or so.

Secondly, there are no cross-overs in this story (although an eagle-eyed reader did note that one of the lands on the crude map I included is named Heilman).

So don't look for Jorgarn (or anybody else I created) to make an appearance. The setting is similar to Always on Guard but, as I wrote to a reader, it's a world away.

I'm sure I forgot other things but my time is short right now so I'll leave it here.

Jay C.

Well, Here We Go

January 29, 2018
Posted at 11:52 am
Updated: February 2, 2018 - 2:23 pm

Today is the start of The Rise of Azkoval, my newest attempt at world building.

It's another story set in fictional medieval times.

I will use my normal posting schedule, mostly Monday and Friday but sometimes Tuesday or Saturday if I forget.

I'm not sure how long the story will be. I have 74 chapters written but the last few aren't sequential. So I will guess about 80-85 chapters. It should close in mid-summer unless something unforeseeable comes to pass.

I hope the readers will enjoy this story.

Jay C.

The Problem with Promises

December 18, 2017
Posted at 1:36 pm

This isn't a reference to a classic Star Trek episode, The Trouble with Tribbles (which, (random trivia alert), premiered 50 years ago this month).

This post is about the perils of an amateur writer making plans and revealing them in spaces such as this one.

Over the years, I've tried to keep readers apprised of what was coming in the pipeline. Some of the stories I've advertised have fallen by the wayside for a variety of reasons but I still get a couple of messages each year about some story I mentioned in 2013 or 2014 that never made it to the site.

You would have thought that I would have learned a lesson.

Yeah, I'm pretty stubborn.

So, here is where we are. The writing has been slow for the past couple of years.

In 2016-17, I've written less than 90 total chapters. That was about three months of output from 2010-15.

I wrote about 1,400 chapters in those four or five years - and about 800 of them found their way to the site in the form of stories.

At the start of 2016, I had two unreleased stories completely written, Runaway Train and Learning Curves, and another 85 percent done, The Rise of Azkoval.

As we near the end of 2017, I have zero stories completed and Azkoval still languishing at 85 percent.

The worst part is that Azkoval will be easy to finish it. I have it outlined and I have the pieces in place to wrap it up in about 10 days if I put my mind to it. It only needs six or seven chapters to be concluded. And still it sits unfinished.

Therein lies the crux of this post.

The stories I need to finish - Azkoval that goes next, the final part of Andy and Regan, the continuation of Learning Curves that I've promised - they aren't the stories I want to write. These aren't the characters that are bouncing around in my head right now - and they haven't been on my mind much in the past two or three years.

But I've tried to force myself to work on Unimaginable Lives or Azkoval or Learning Curves II. When I get time to write, I will dutifully open one of these stories - and then go find something else to do.

I will write nothing for weeks on end. If I write anything at all, it's on something completely unrelated to what I need to write.

I have hoped beyond hope that some spark of inspiration will hit my feeble brain and I'll sit down and crank out the missing parts of Azkoval in a weekend. Then I would move and knock down Lives in a few months.

Thus far, it hasn't been the case and I don't see the situation changing in the near future.

So, I'm going to do something that I promised myself I would never do again: I'm going to start posting a story at the first of the year that I haven't completely finished and pray that I use the pressure to sit down and write the missing sections before they have to be posted. They are near the end of the story so I have some time. It's not how I like to operate but desperate times call for desperate measures.

In the meantime, I'm going to try writing the stories I want to write for awhile. Maybe if I squeeze these characters out of my brain, there will be room for Regan and Andy or Hailey and Phil to come back for a visit.

Or, maybe it will be time to admit the truth.

Perhaps I've written all I was meant to write. Perhaps the stories in my head are all played out.

I hope not. I think the story that has been percolating in my brain for the past few months could be a good one. I think another story I've thought about might be pretty cool if I can make it work. I think some of the places I planned to take the characters of my promised continuations have real potential.

But as things stand right now, I can't foresee having Unimaginable Lives ready for a 2018 release. I would need to finish writing it by June to get it edited, proofread and formatted in time to go on the site at this time next year. I just can't see things working out like that.

As much as I hate to admit it, my promises are worthless.

Best wishes to all,
Jay C.

Learning Curves

October 16, 2017
Posted at 12:28 pm

I've posted the final two chapters for this story.

Phil and Hailey will return in 2021 or 2022 (I hope) to continue their tales.

The working title is "Lessons Left to Learn."

I plan to take a short break (six to eight weeks) before I begin posting my next story.

I'll give more details as the posting date grows closer.