Well, God keeps moving! After my publisher, Yo Pro Productions read only seven pages of book 2, she offered me a contract for "Rebellion". I am blown away. While tiding up some quick edits on book 2, I am busy working on Book 3, the final install to the Obsidian Cross Saga, Justice.
      And, of course, as my mind works in every direction, I thought about the novels I already started and although interesting, none have touched me to move on them yet. So, I decided to start another concept and see where it goes. It will be a historical fiction crossing medieval England's war of the Roses time period with English mythology. The story lines seem to mesh, so I will see where this takes me.
      I am very pleased with the Obsidian Cross Saga since my publisher mentioned it would be doubtful she could get two books done by December for a big book festival in Ohio. She proved me wrong. ;)
        Folks, let me say this. Do not doubt God's word and his aspirations for you. The worst thing about the journey He has you on is not trusting what you believe, but to follow what He says. It is His timing, not yours. While He plans and works things out, just go with the flow. And as an author, that means write.
     Therefore, I will get back to my work while I wait for edits and artwork for "Birthright". More to come.
      Take care,
      Nick
 
     Well, it has been a minute since I last posted anything. Frankly, I've been busy with work, family, and writing. I've sorted through projects, eliminating some, working on others. And the more I wrote, the more God pushed me into completing certain novels. 
       The great news is that Yo Productions, a small but up and coming Christian publishing company accepted my first novel in the The Obsidian Cross Saga, Birthright. It's release date is in mid June 2017. They are also reviewing my second novel in the series, Rebellion while I work at completing the third book in the trilogy, Justice. I am very excited in that Yolonda Sanders, owner of Yo Productions, has a dream that ties into my views of writing. It looks to be a great fit.
      There are other WIPs I'm dabbling into here and there. Their updates are posted on the Books page of the website. Yo Productions is also planning a book festival in Etna, Ohio in December 2017 where I, along with four other authors, will be featured novelists. They plan on having 20-25 authors attending. I think it will be very cool indeed. Well, back to the writing board. Keep tuned in. Take care. ;)
        
 
Howdy again,

Well, I just finished editing the first book of this planned trilogy, Birthright. It was fun to go back and reacquaint myself with the characters. I like intrigue in my story lines; therefore, I liked reading the conflict among a group of characters toward the latter part of the book.

After editing Birthright, it pushed me to edit what I had written so far in the second book, Destiny. This book jumped more into intrigue and plot thickening only in the first five chapters. Took a few twists to make things more interesting, so I had to modify the outline a tad. All in all, it is coming along well, I think.

I thought of a title for my third book in the series, but am unsure at this time. Not too worried about Book 3 since I only have close to 20,000 words on Book 2 done. Even delved more into introducing a love interest as well for Niklas. We will see where this leads us, but it is looking to be a good historical fiction read.

Stay tuned. More to come.
Take care,
​Nick  
 
Hey all,
      Yep, it's been a long while since I have posted anything on this blog. Sometimes, life gets busy. I took a 5 month hiatus and didn't write, just to rest my brain and spend more time with my kids. But the talents God has gifted me with slowly crept up into the brain... coaxing me to start writing.
      But what? I dunno.
      I have had success with what I've written so far, and started five other novels, 1 complete, and the rest partials. And that is what has driven me nuts. Lots of great ideas, but the inability to stick with one story. That is what made me pull away for a bit... you know, to gather my senses.
      Glad I did. I had to focus on God more. I wanted Him to guide me in my writing. It has been hard. Still searching for exactly what He wants. I still feel I have lessons to bless others woven into the words of my worlds. That is one main reason I write. To reach those in a different medium. God blesses folks with talents to be used to His glory. Writing is one of my gifts, and I'm trying to use it the best I can. 
      Still learning, still trying, still perfecting. Regardless, it is a cool journey.
      Therefore, I will post snipets, blurbs, and samples of my WIP's to encourage and entice others to follow their dreams. Whether it is writing, teaching, or any other goal, just follow it, but let God guide you.
      That's all for now. Drop me a line if you have the need to chat.
​       Take care, Nick
 
Picture
Hey all, it's been a while, so I'd figure I would post a bit on my new book idea that has engrossed me for the past 3 weeks or so. By the way, my wife suggested I get some author cards made since I never had any. A sample is here on the left. Cool, huh?


Anyways, the new idea is a Civil War historical fiction set in 1864 Louisiana entitled "The Cross and the Bayonet". This is a unique story in that it incorporates a cornucopia of people from different races fighting for different things in a war they were avoiding. It takes place when a rogue Union general is given the 'black flag' to wage war on the southern populace in conjunction with other Union operations to bring the Confederate army to its knees. When the main character, Horus Cain, a free black man and successful business man has his family murdered by Jayhawkers and other pro-Unionists, his view and the life of many are changed. His Christian principles are challenged when he and the surrounding townsfolk enter the war to defend family, home, and Louisiana.

This becomes fairly interesting and tricky in that I have to keep voices, accents, and views separate as I write about the men involved. Speaking as an educated black man, switching to a French Creole, jump to a poor southern slave, then a Greek, perhaps an Italian, and even an Indian will make for a very creative story and dialogue. Since I'm Greek, and being around conversations where Greek and English was spoken between various people, I shouldn't have too much fuss writing this.

As of now, I'm on chapter five, and I may post a rough draft writing sample for you all to peruse through. I've finished a Teutonic knights novel and begun its second story. It will be a duology, but unsure if it will go to a trilogy. Trilogies are a lot of work. I also am nearing the end of the first draft of a historical fiction "A Haunt of Jackals", the story of Jeremiah with a medieval twist. For some reason, I've stalemated on this, and ended up switching to "The Cross and the Bayonet". I'm hoping to get plenty of human emotion an the tragedy of the Civil War across to the reader. My novel Enemy in the Ranks did a pretty good job doing so.

Oh well, enough for now. Drop a line if you'd like.
Take care,
Nick

 
        It has been a while, but here I am. I will be posting something on my upcoming projects on the next blog. Yet for now, we are heading in a different direction.
        There are many times when life deals you stuff...okay, crap. Whether it comes from school, work, family, friends, relationships, hobbies, etc. What do you do about it? I mean, how do you handle it? Do you stress? Freak out and find a tall tower with a rifle? Scream and badger others? Or do you move on, continue with life, and crush the attempts of life's chains from holding you down? I prefer to do several things.
        First, I give it to Jesus. He didn't suffer and die for you to ignore Him. There was purpose behind what He did, what He said, and how He did and say what He did and said. Wow, confused? Don't be. His presence and ability to handle our battles far outweigh our meager attempts at saying "I can handle it". We can't. You know and I know we cannot, so don't even try. And forget about trying to handle someone else's. Second, I continue with life: work, hobby, relaxing at home or in a moment of peace. You can fill in the blank here with a myriad of things. 
        I also find that when I do give my problems to Jesus, I escape. Writing is one way. Another way, for me, is to delve into my hobbies. And the cool thing about all this is to watch God show up in a way you never thought of to remedy the situation you never expected could or would be fixed. 
        So, again, I ask...with things against you, and with God on your side, why worry?
 
I truly hate when I am reading a book and there is a word repeated over and over and over and...well, you get my point. I am not talking about simple short words like "and, the, etc.". A good editor will catch these. I am talking about bigger words.

For example, I read a book where the word "chiseled" was used a bit too often on several pages to describe a man's features. There is a thing called a thesaurus. Use it. Repetitive words pull me away from being absorbed into the story. Change it up. Besides, if you have a weak vocabulary, this is a good way to strengthen it.

Now, my rant doesn't just pertain to words, but scenes as well. If you are going to describe a common scene that you know appears more than once in your story, change the description. Don't keep saying "the crackling hearth was ablaze" EVERY time you mention a fireplace. Be creative and figure out different ways to describe a roaring fire. You can Google your question on a particular feature you are trying to describe and something will come up. I am not privy to a specific website that will do this. Yet, I know they are out there.

Not much else today. Keep writing and do not be afraid to express your thoughts the way you see it. Who knows, your voice may be the next big thing.
Take care,
Nick
 
How many times have you read stories of all types where the dialogue is just plain boring? Was it bad enough that you wanted to skip it to prevent yourself from falling asleep? Yeah, me too.

In reading some topics on dialogue, I couldn’t help but think how true it is to have an intriguing dialogue, attention grabbing conversation that pulls you into the story. It doesn’t have to be an intense attack by the characters. The wording can also be more relaxed and calm as the scene requires it. But it needs to be there, especially for fiction.

Okay, then how do you indicate conflict? Swords? Battleaxes? Murder? Nope. An unexpected response, lying, evading the given question, even changing the subject is all good. If you can create two different goals in the same conversation, then you have something. That is, if one character directs his questioning in one path, and the second character detours the queries with answers in an opposite direction. Good conflict can create the outcome you desire in the reader’s mind simply through your words. You won’t have to elaborate on a subject to infer your point. The clashing dialogue does it for you.

In my trilogy The Relics of Nanthara, my most controversial character, and probably my favorite, was Azin. You never knew what he was going to say, or what he was going to do. In reading several examples of how he reacted early on in his introduction, it became clear he was capable of anything!

So remember, the embattling conversation should be consistent throughout your story. Adding another character only allows a new thread of conflict which carries the story deeper. Your captivating conversations should not end until the story is finished.

Take care,

Nick

 
I know authors are burdened when having to create characters. A ton of questions inundate the mind, stressing a storyline with a mass of confusion. What do they look like? Hair color? Mannerisms? Loves, dislikes? Clothing?

Well, for starters, many writers create their character from their imagination. But what happens if this doesn’t work? What then? Well, I have one idea you can test. Try looking at people you know as your source: family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, schoolmates. You’d be amazed at what you can come up with. Most of the work has already been done for you. How? The person you are studying is living the character. All you have to do is capture his/her description on paper and add some dialogue to get things rolling.

In a conversation with a friend of mine, he discussed the neighbors in the town he grew up in and thought of writing a book based on their lives. Trust me, his description involved such a myriad of character types, any writer would be eager to take the idea.

            Another place of “unique study” is…wait for it…Wal-Mart! If you don’t believe me, go to Google Images or Youtube and type in “People of Wal-Mart” and you’ll understand. Try going into one, take a seat, and watch. Be sure to have a mini-recorder, pen and pad, or a video device. You don’t want to miss these folks wandering about. Hopefully, you can do this without attracting law enforcement.

            Old photo albums from your relatives might conjure up an idea or two as well as yearbooks. At the next family gathering, sit around with your relatives and get some of the older folks to share family stories. I’ve done this before and I’m glad I did. I would have never dreamt of some of the colorful antics my relatives have done. Again, another source for character development! I hope you enjoyed this little tidbit since my temporary dormancy.

Take care,

Nick

 
        Story Ideas from the Bible? Really? You're kidding, right? Actually, I am not. Even though I am not as well versed in the Bible as I should be, I discovered an avenue of looking for a story idea I never thought I would use. The Bible. 
        If you take a moment, wipe the dust off it's barely used cover, you'd be amazed. Yes, the "dust line" is sad, but true. Since putting away the fantasy genre, I knew historical fiction would be enjoyable for me. I had already had a Civil War novel about done, so I finished it and pondered on a new idea.  I drew a blank...until I sat down one day to read. I opened up to Jeremiah and began reading from around the 8th or 9th chapter. The more I read, my mind started clicking.
        I thought, "Hmm, I didn't realize how much he went through." Then I came across a scripture which described the desolation Jerusalem would suffer, stating it would become a "haunt of jackals." God slammed me in the head. I heard Him say, "Here is your new title."
        As I started researching the book of Jeremiah and his life, the amount of his sufferings entered a new realm of reality...and a story formed. I ended up adding a medieval twist to it since I enjoy writing more about medieval times than ancient, but the historical perspective is accurate. This is only one idea. The Bible has many, and you can use even a portion of a parable or a story in the scriptures to write about. The neat thing is as you write, your words will hopefully touch others. And researching is not a bad idea; it allows you to read from the Bible and perhaps enter a more in-depth study of your topic. Either way, you win.
        So, next time you are in need of a story, think about the Bible. It never hurts to read, and you'll be better for it.

Take care,
Nick