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Sunday, December 17, 2017

Mea Culpa: An Update on The Myridian Constellation (formerly Dark Sea Annals)

What was it Douglas Adams said about deadlines? "I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by." So, dear readers, it is with profound exasperation that I let you know I am not able to get the new version of Errant King or book 3, The Forsaken Continent, out in stores by Christmas. And this comes on the heels of about 25 missed deadlines regarding this series.

In a perfect world, with a perfect author, The Myridian Constellation (formerly The Dark Sea Annals) would be into its 5th book. The original publisher wouldn't have collapsed and the return of series publishing rights wouldn't have taken years—so long that I wrote The Dreamtreaders Trilogy while I waited. But, it's not a perfect world, and things dragged on. And I'm not a perfect author. I made book deadline promises to my long-suffering readers over and over again, but I did not keep them. 

Yes, there have been many extenuating circumstances, many of a personal or family nature that required or consumed time. We all know how life can get. And, I could bore you with details of how self-publishing, the process, takes away so much time from actual writing. But, I know I could have used the time God's given me better. So, I apologize.

Rather than offer you another deadline, (WHOOSH), ouch, I'll give you an update instead. I am @80% finished the revisions for The Errant King, Author-ized Edition. Frustratingly, I've discovered a massive timeline error that requires me to completely revamp the series chronology. On the bright side, delving so deeply into The Errant King has provided some wonderful new material. This version should be so much better than the original. And, as an added bonus in the new version, there will be no characters killed off early in the book only to show up later in perfect health!

The Forsaken Continent, you might recall, was originally going to be Mirror of Souls. But that manuscript surpassed 200,000 words. So, after much toil and thought, I split the manuscript into two distinct novels: The Forsaken Continent (Book 3) and Mirror of Souls (Book 4). In essence, both novels are written, but I still have work to do. And I don't want to rush and put out an inferior product. I believe God has something special planned for these books and this series, and I feel deeply that this will be a kind of life's work legacy when all is said and done. So, I ask, patient readers, for you to be patient once more. If you cannot wait, I'll understand. I'll update you in the future, but I won't make release promises again until a given manuscript is through revisions.

Much love. Never alone.
-Wayne Thomas Batson, December 2017

Saturday, November 18, 2017

Blackened Keyboard Friday: November 24th

It's almost Thanksgiving. Mmmmm...can you smell it? No, I don't mean the roasting turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, gravy, and pumpkin pie! No, I'm talking about the effervescent scent of ash and soot and charred plastic! Yeah, now can you smell it? Mmmmm...

That's right it's almost time for Blackened Keyboard Friday! Spurning the marketing gimmicks, sales, lines, and stampedes, I'll be comfy at home and writing all day. And...I'm asking you to join me. Regardless of your time zone, come aboard the Lunatic Writing Ship as we sail for record-setting word count madness! 

Interested? Here are the particulars:

1) Anytime on Friday, November 24th, join my Blackened Friday posting on Facebook. In the comments, introduce yourself and your writing project. Give us your starting word count.

2) Write like maniac for as long as you want within the 24 hour 11/24 window.

3) Then, post your final word count and your sum total of NEW words written.


A) If you beat me, I will put your name into the acknowledgements section of the next book I release: likely "Errant King - The New Author-ized Version" just before Christmas. 

B) If you score the highest NEW words written count, I will either: 1) if you're an author with books to sell, I'll put an ad for your book(s) into Errant King—at no charge! (You'll have to send me the completely finished, print-ready ad.)  -OR- 2) If you're not an author with books (YET!), I'll give you your choice of getting a character named after you in a future book or getting a free critique from me on ONE of your fiction chapters!

FELLOWSHIP OPPORTUNITY: I'm going to start a "Secret" Blackened Keyboard Friday Group on Facebook. Let me know if you want an invite. That way, we can have writing fellowship with whoever's writing at the time. We can share writing blurbs, ask for help (I need a word for excited but needs to be more powerful), and, of course, the ever present possibility of inane banter. 

Until then, limber up those fingers. Get ready to singe those keys! Kick the tires and light the fires, big daddy!


Friday, September 01, 2017

The New Improved "Author-ized" edition of Sword in the Stars is HERE!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen, I am STOKED to announce, the new "Author-ized Edition" of Sword in the Stars is now available in paperback!

I have to admit, I was a little shocked to see how thick it is. I mean, I knew I added a few thousand words, but WOW! Get ready for a serious journey!

I want you all to know that CreateSpace forced the price to this height. The minimum was $22.36. In order for me to make a decent profit, I made it $24.99. 

SPECIAL OFFER: From now until the end of Labor Day, all the profits from Sword in the Stars will go to help Houston. If you're going to get one (or three), please purchase in this window. I'd love to send a nice donation to help those who've been blasted by Harvey.

Thank you, readers, for being so patient! There's more to come!

Tuesday, August 08, 2017

Cross Promotion Opportunity

Hey, fellow authors! I'm getting ready to publish the new "Sword in the Stars," both in paperback and ebook (kindle). I've never believed in author competition. If someone reads my stuff, I'm thrilled, but I'm not trying to keep readers all for myself. How dumb would that be? People read my books and look for something else. Great! To that end, I'd like to offer to my fellow authors the opportunity to publish a full page ad for your book(s) to appear in the back of "A Sword in the Stars." Here are the specifics:

Also, I need to let you know, I have room for only 15-20 ads. My interior designer said we'd go beyond CreateSpace's page count if we go any more than that. Sorry! First come first serve!

1) The ad would cost $25; payment via check in the mail or PayPal. If Paypal look for me under this email: mdbatfam (at) yahoo (dot) com

2) The ad would need to be "PRINT AS IS" in pdf, should look good in color or B/W. Kindle ad will be color. Print ad will be B/w

3) Probably should be books in the fantasy / scify / adventure genres

4) I have to protect my readership, so please, if your books are "anti-Christian," sexually explicit, or sensationally violent, I can't take the ad. If you send me something "iffy," I might have to turn it down. No offense intended. Seriously.

5) The ad can be for selfpubbed or professionally pubbed books. Again, cross promotion is awesome!

6) Please message me on facebook or email me (batguy21784 (at) yahoo (dot) com) if you're interested.

7) Thank you!

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Have you enjoyed my work? Consider being a Patron of the Arts!

Greetings, Marvelous Readers! I try not to do this very often, but this summer is a pivotal time for me as an author. For the first time ever, I am NOT under contract with a traditional publishing house. Everything I'm writing will be completely self published. And over the next six months, I hope to be publishing FIVE novels, Myridian Constellation Books 1-4 (formerly Dark Sea Annals): A Sword in the Stars (Author-ized Edition), The Errant King (Author-ized Edition), The Forsaken Continent (Late June), Mirror of Souls (August), and GHOST 2: Minister of Fire (October).

And so, if you've enjoyed my stories or, by God's grace, have been built-up, encouraged, or inspired by my writing, would you consider becoming a Patron of the Arts on behalf of my future stories? In Ye Olde Days of Yesteryear, artists, musicians, and writers were sponsored by private citizens who wanted to make sure more of their favorite creative works could be produced.
But in 2017, becoming a patron of the arts couldn't be easier. 

If you're still reading, thank you. If you're thinking you might like to become a patron for me, check this out: 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Rent "A Glimpse of Heaven," Have a heavenly vacation...and a signed book!

Mary Lu Dovel Batson and I are here in North Topsail Beach, NC, and the weather is stunningly nice. 76 degrees today. The sun, like rippling diamonds, on the ocean is mesmerizing. We've named our beach house "A Glimpse of Heaven," and just the view from any of the five decks will tell you why we named the place as we have.

Just wanted to let you know that we are now accepting rentals for this season. You'll be shocked at how affordable the weekly rates are. If you are looking for a gorgeous beach vacation this spring or summer or fall, click the link below and get your reservation!

Then, private message me, and I'll send you a signed book of your choice from my 17 published books as a thank you for renting our beach house.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Love is More than a Feeling

There are many kinds of love, but all too often what this culture calls love is more like affection or even infatuation or attraction. Nothing wrong with the love we "feel." It's wonderful when we really feel it. But relying on feelings as the sole proof of love is one of the dumbest things we could ever do. Forgive me for being blunt, but some of us (chiefly me) need to be hit with a hammer sometimes to get the point. Feelings are fickle. They come and go. Feelings can be impacted by 10,000 variables that have nothing to do with real love. Too little sleep, too much sleep, a poor diet, not enough of a certain vitamin, the time of year, the time of month (cough), clouds, body chemistry, etc. etc. etc. Love is far more than a feeling, and if we forget that, we will crash and burn in our relationships with people…and with God. For years, I struggled with not "feeling" the love of God. I wanted warm fuzzies, hugs from God, to hear and feel Him near. Seemed like some other people got that, but not me. So I quite literally found my faith shipwrecked in despair…because of feelings.

In contrast, the bible tells us that "Greater love has no man than this: that he lay down his life for a friend." John 15:13. That's agape love right there, folks. Selfless, sacrificial, unconditional love. Boom. Just this past year, I've come to grips with this reality, and it has changed my life. I don't have to feel God's love. I don't have to beg Him for love. I don't have to base my confidence of God's love on what I feel. The scriptures tell us that God took love to a whole new level: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." Romans 5:8. Let that sink in. While we were still sinners, meaning when we cared nothing for God or for Jesus. When we went about our merry way, seeking self above all things. When we spent our lives on our own appetites—Christ died for us. Christ. Died. For. Us.

Forget feelings. They will come and they will go. But you can KNOW that God loves you because He lay down His life for you. He took action. He saved us. Believe it, and you'll know you're loved by God. Happy Valentine's Day. 

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Politics versus Unity in Christ: Which One is Winning?

34 “A new command I give you: Love ONE ANOTHER. As I have loved you, so you must love ONE ANOTHER. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love ONE ANOTHER.” John 13:34-35

20 “My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in me through their message, 21 that all of them may be ONE, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me. 22 I have given them the glory that you gave me, that they may be ONE as we are ONE— 23 I in them and you in me—so that they may be brought to complete UNITY. Then the world will know that you sent me and have loved them even as you have loved me." John 17: 20-23

"1 But I, brothers,[a] could not address you as spiritual people, but as people of the flesh, as infants in Christ. 2 I fed you with milk, not solid food, for you were not ready for it. And even now you are not yet ready, 3 for you are still of the flesh. For while there is JEALOUSY and STRIFE among you, are you not of the FLESH and behaving only in a HUMAN way? 4 For when one says, “I follow Paul,” and another, “I follow Apollos,” are you not being merely HUMAN?"

"5 What then is Apollos? What is Paul? Servants through whom you believed, as the Lord assigned to each. 6 I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the growth. 7 So neither he who plants nor he who waters is anything, but only God who gives the growth. 8 He who plants and he who waters are ONE, and each will receive his wages according to his labor. 9 For we are God's fellow workers. You are God's field, God's building." 1 Cor 3: 1-9

"18 Let no one deceive himself. If anyone among you thinks that he is WISE in this AGE, let him become a fool that he may become wise. 19 For the WISDOM of this WORLD is FOLLY with God. For it is written, “He catches the wise in their craftiness,” 20 and again, “The Lord knows the thoughts of the wise, that they are futile.” 21 So let no one boast in MEN. For all things are yours, 22 whether Paul or Apollos or Cephas or the world or life or death or the present or the future—all are yours, 23 and you are Christ's, and Christ is God's." 1 Cor 3: 18-23.

"14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. 15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point YOU THINK DIFFERENTLY, that too GOD WILL MAKE CLEAR TO YOU. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained."

So why the scripture barrage on unity? Do you really need to ask? I am calling out to all of my Christian brothers and sisters (and myself) to take a quick soul check based on these verses. If facebook, private conversations, flurries of sarcastic jabs, etc. are any indication, Christians (many of whom I know and love dearly) are dividing publicly about President Trump and a whole host of political issues. And many of us, in the act of making divisive comments, are splintering the Body of Christ. All the while, the nonbelieving world says, "see how they disagree and don't love one another." And satan is laughing. 

So I have a few suggestions, for myself, and for my Christian friends and family:

#1: Stop it. Just stop. Stop the Facebook posts, stop obsessing over politics. Stop thinking you know better than all your other brothers and sisters. And honestly, stop acting like you know more than God. Do you think God's in heaven wringing his hands thinking, "Oh, no, Trump is president! Look at that horrifying policy he just signed into law. That's trouble, right there. What ever shall I do?" Do any of you really think you have a perfect godly perspective on everything that is happening? And, even in a worldly sense, do you really think you know what's going on at the highest levels of government? It's House of Cards on steroids mixed with trigonometry! And you think you've got it all figured out? Get real. Just stop. Go back and consider 1 Cor 3: 18-23. In delving so deeply and so obsessively into politics, are you trying to be Wise in this world? Maybe, it's time to pull out a bit and be a fool for God.

#2: Pray. Pray for our president. Pray for our government. Pray for senators and representatives. Pray for our nation. Since Trump has become president, how many times have you actually prayed for the man? How much time do you spend praying versus venting politics on Facebook, Twitter, etc?

#3: Consider Who's Watching: I recently saw a post highlighting every single thing that Trump has done wrong and not once mentioning anything his administration has done right. And the worst thing about this post is that it was a Christian addressing other Christians and basically lobbing guilt trip bombs, saying things like are you going to be the kind of Christian I need to explain to my kids? And why? Because we're not ALL screaming and yelling about the terrible things Trump is doing. That's like Paul objecting to factions forming to follow him and other factions following Apollos. Are there genuine Christians who are republicans? Of course there are. Are there genuine Christians who are democrats? Of course! So start acting like it. The world is watching. Our children are watching. And, since His vigilance never sleeps, God is watching. Will they, will HE see unity?

#4 Go private. If you absolutely need to discuss political issues with your fellow Christians, send private messages. Call people and do lunch (at an uncrowded restaurant) and talk it over. Run it through scripture and see if you can agree. If not, pray, submit to God and allow Him to make things clear between you.

#5 And finally, put love first. Sure, someone might be a hand or a foot or an eye or an arm, but we are ONE body. Sure, someone might be a republican or a democrat or libertarian or even undecided, but we are all ONE body. Spend less time plotting how to annihilate the political stance of another and much more time determining ways to love each other.

Monday, January 16, 2017

Christians, Take a Page from MLK: We Must Wear Down Our Enemies with our Ability to Love Them.

My favorite MLK quote. I pray that all Christians could adopt such a love battle cry as this (thinking of myself as chiefly in need of it). But if we all did as Jesus told us to do and loved our enemies, the world course would be altered forever.

"I’ve seen too much hate to want to hate, myself, and every time I see it, I say to myself, hate is too great a burden to bear. Somehow we must be able to stand up against our most bitter opponents and say:”We shall match your capacity to inflict suffering by our capacity to endure suffering. We will meet your physical force with soul force. Do to us what you will and we will still love you. We cannot in all good conscience obey your unjust laws and abide by the unjust system, because non-cooperation with evil is as much a moral obligation as is cooperation with good, so throw us in jail and we will still love you. Bomb our homes and threaten our children, and, as difficult as it is, we will still love you. Send your hooded perpetrators of violence into our communities at the midnight hour and drag us out on some wayside road and leave us half-dead as you beat us, and we will still love you. Send your propaganda agents around the country and make it appear that we are not fit, culturally and otherwise, for integration, but we’ll still love you. But be assured that we’ll wear you down by our capacity to suffer, and one day we will win our freedom. We will not only win freedom for ourselves; we will appeal to your heart and conscience that we will win you in the process, and our victory will be a double victory." Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Want to Be an Author? Read this First.

I was contacted the other day by a young writer who was working on a project for a class. She wanted to ask a published author a few questions about the trade. They were such good question and led to some very detailed answers that I thought others should have access to them too. Seriously, if you are an aspiring writer and want to be a published author, read this first:

1. What does the day-to-day work in your field look like? Pertaining to writing, that is.

It'd be impossible to pin down what the day-to-day is in my field because writers are a wacky breed. Not a one of us does it the same way. Stephen King writes 10 pages a day no matter what. Me, I can't do that. I can't even create a set writing time. My life is so fluid with family and teaching demands that I just write whenever I can. When I can write, I put the headphones on, listen to epic trailer music, and dive into story mode.

2. What are some key considerations you'd tell someone like me who's considering this field? That is, considering making writing part of one's income?

I'd recommend just that: making writing PART of your income. At first, no one, I mean NO ONE has ever heard of you or your books, so you need to have a primary source of income. Perhaps something that compliments your writing like being an editor or an English teacher. Once you have safe income in place, you can go to town on your writing, either going the traditional / legacy route with a publishing house or self pubbing on Amazon Kindle etc. If you do the selfpub route, consider submitting your novels to a service like BookBub. You can often start a readership through such services.

3. What skills would be important for me to have in this field?
Besides the obvious, I suppose. Lol.

I suspect "writing" might be a good skill to have. 0,o Seriously, though, there are a couple of subsets of writing that you need. First, I highly recommend taking a few classes in poetry (contemporary, if pos) because, in it, you will learn to make every word count. And that is SO key. When you tell a story, you are not telling every detail of someone's life, but only the highlights and most meaningful qualities that will form the basis for your character's decisions in the novel. Don't just pick good words or words that "will do," but rather, pick the best words. Try to use connotative words, words that trigger a reaction or feeling in the reader. Don't say "she sat down." Say she slumped. Don't say he walked across the room. Say he lunged. Don't describe a winter tree as bereft of leaves. Say the tree was black and rigid with branches and limbs like a thousand spiders linked in some unholy dance.

Secondly, work on suspense techniques because that, my young swordmaiden, is THE name of the game. You must make your readers wait for what they want. Be cruel in that way. Use mystery, the unknown, intense emotion, danger, unusual events, clues that stick out like a sore thumb—you will have the reader flipping pages like some kind of mad librarian! And do this right at the start. Your first sentence better grip the reader by the throat. Then, the first paragraph, should yank them forward. Then, the first page must shake them senseless. And your first chapter, well, your first chapter should end on such a potent cliffhanger that the reader will very nearly rip the page trying to get to the next chapter.


4. What are some of the unique challenges I might encounter in this career?  

There are several unique challenges that I've faced, and I'm not totally certain they are common to all writers, but for what it's worth: The first major challenge is wearing too many hats. When I got my first publishing contract, I was already a Dad of four young children, a husband of a wonderful wife, and a full time English teacher. Still am all of those things except that the kids are all in their late teens now. {Sigh}. Finding time to write was difficult. My wife was incredible, bearing a ton of extra burdens so that I could head to the library or the local Panera and spend the day writing. But the worst thing about it is that no matter what I was spending my time doing, it always "felt" like I should have been working on something else. If I spent the day sledding with my kids, I loved it and cherished that time, but always on the back of my mind: the deadline or the lesson plan. If I was writing, I would constantly think of my wife and kids and how I wasn't there for them. No matter what I did or was doing, I felt the pang of other responsibilities. Time. That's the big thing about writing. Novels take an absurd amount of time from your life. And, while it might be a ton of fun to invent worlds and races of people, creatures, etc, to do so, means letting the real world go by, real people and relationships are missed. Writers must sacrifice hours, days, weeks, and months. And it's time you cannot get back. Honestly, if I didn't feel that God wanted me to write these stories, I don't think I would have been able to keep doing it. Time is precious. What I wouldn't give now for an hour to play with my kids when they were young! Of course, I can still play with them now, but they can pretty much beat me up. lol

The second challenge was living up to the expectations and demands of the publishers. When I signed the dotted line for The Door Within Trilogy, I paid no attention at all to the deadlines. I was, more or less, mesmerized by the dream come true of being an author. But suddenly, I needed to write 75,000 words in three months. And then, I had to do it again for book 3. But there can often be creative differences too. I had to do research and fight and email battle with my publisher who didn't think the main character in The Door Within should be named Aidan. It's too uncommon, they said. Too unusual. I loved "Aidan" because it had roots in Irish (Gaelic), and it meant "little fire." To defend the name, I researched baby name sites and found that for that particular year, Aidan was the most common boy name given to newborn boys. The publisher conceded. Yay!

But they don't always.

There were times that I had to cut parts that I loved or add parts that seemed pedestrian. And there was once, during the writing of Curse of the Spider King (cowritten with Christopher Hopper) that I think the publisher was close to firing us—or whatever it's called when a publisher cuts you loose. The contention came over the ending of the book, which CH and I believed to be an AWESOME cliffhanger. But the publisher felt like it didn't follow the usual story arc or allow enough closure. Eventually, we came to a compromise, but it was a painful one. There was another unique situation that kind of blew my mind. Publishers, especially big publishing houses, tend to have "profit" worked out to a formula. And so they plan everything out ahead of time, often including the side of the book's binding, how many pages, etc. I'd always thought that the author just writes the story, however long it may be, and then, you edit out what needs cutting, and VOILA! A book. But with my publisher, I most often worked on a word count of @75-100K words. But with Isle of Swords, I went way over that. It was originally 120K, and so, after much discussion, I had to cut 20,000 words. That was an arduous and heartbreaking task.


5. Yikes, I imagine that would be. I wouldn't have guessed, though. I love Isle of Swords as it is. If you had to do it over, what would you do differently? 

If I had to do the author portion of my life over, there's a ton that I would change. 1) I would get published earlier. I took 13 years to publish The Door Within. But most of that was a lack of persistence and discipline on my part. God was patient and still opened the door later for me, but I wish I'd started earlier. It would have been so much better for my family financially. 2) I'd ruthlessly cut other "hobbies" from my life and use that extra time to spend with my wife and kids. On top of the time I needed for writing, I often took too much so-called "me" time for things like golf, tennis, video games, etc. What an idiot I was. Nothing wrong with any of those things, but those hours are gone. Jesus tries to tell us in His word, "if you lose your life for my sake, you'll find life, but if you keep it to yourself, you lose it." I was quite literally a fool for spending so much time with selfish pastimes. Please don't misunderstand, I was a very involved husband and father, but I could have been more. I should have been more. I'm sure there are other things I would change, but those are the main two.

Thank you, that's a lot of awesome advice. I appreciate the time you took to answer all these questions.

You're very welcome. It was kind of cathartic to explore all that you asked. I'm going to publish the whole Q&A on my blog. Hopefully, other aspiring young writers will learn a bit from it.

I hope so, too. You were one of my main inspirations to start writing. I don't know if God will guide me to opportunities in this field yet, but I'm sure your advice will be helpful if He does.

Well, aww, thank you for saying so. I pray that you'll take whatever path God lays out for you. It'll be an adventure, that much I can promise you. And, as you know, adventures always begin with the unexpected...