Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Where Have I Been?

It’s been a while, hasn’t it?

Many months have passed since my last blog post. I didn’t just fall off the writing world radar, I plummeted into the abyss. Readers and fellow writers have reached out to me expressing concern or curiosity and received little or no response from me in return. I’ve been utterly incommunicado and for that, I’m sorry.

During that long stretch of time, I haven’t written much, either. Honestly, I have not written at all. I’ve wanted to, setting dates and deadlines for myself that come and go without me typing a single word. It’s a sin writers should never commit, yet I have. The reason for my sabbatical is a deeply personal one.

My marriage ended.

Now, before the obligatory “Ohhh, I’m sorry’s” begin rolling in, let me say this: my separation had been exceedingly amicable. After my ex and I finally sold our house, we purchased separates homes near one another for the sake of our kids. We hold no animosity toward one other and have handled the situation as best as two adults can. Our children are adjusting well to their new reality, spending equal time between mom and dad’s house. Is this the life I planned on having when I said “I do?” Of course not. But the best laid plans, blah, blah blah…

Initially, as this massive shift in my life was ongoing, it was impossible to concentrate on writing. When the urge to write began simmering again, I found myself afraid to reopen all my works in progress. It’s hard picking up something you left off six months ago, especially a mostly completed novel.

I’m here to say that I’ve finally done so.

My life is in a good place now. In recent months, I’ve been getting together my new house and exploring the neighborhood. After a bitter, are-you-freaking-kidding-me winter, nice weather and warm sun has finally arrived. Oh, and I’ve met a wonderful woman with whom I’m incredibly happy. All of this has contributed to me being ready for the writing bug to sink its mandibles into me.

I’ve begun edits on a big short story that I’ve allowed to languish for months. Once that’s complete, I shall resume finishing book three in the Children of the White Lions series (it’s 80% done). After that, I want to work on another project that I’ve been kicking around for well over a year.

The storm has cleared.

Good days ahead.

-- R.T.

Monday, August 5, 2013

I’m Still Here

It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything. 

Sorry. I’ve been busy.

One of the things that kept me away is actually something about which I am legally unable to give any details. No fun, huh? I will say this: it will be neat when I am able to tell folks what it was/is.

I was part of a ridiculously successful Kickstarter project that took the anthology from 2012’s Origins convention and made it available for wide release. The goal was to raise $7,500 and the final figure was over $28,000. Nifty, huh?

The publisher hunt progresses. There was an exciting moment back in May/June where I was ready to jump up and down whilst screaming, when, through no fault of my own, things fell apart. Frustration is too mild a word for my feelings on the matter.

So, I continue to do the only thing I can: write. I’m currently at the 38% mark of editing book three in the Children of the White Lion series. Beta readers are trailing me (they’re at around chapter 10) and providing excellent feedback.

That’s it for now. Short and sweet. So short, in fact, that I’ll use up a bit more space by passing along a neat note sent to me by a reader:

“Your books have a special place in my collection. My significant others’ twin 8 year old boys have been getting a few pages each day of Progeny as I tend to reread books as a new one is getting ready for release, I like to make sure I keep the story straight in my head. The boys love the way you describe the magic, its easy for them to picture the strings of color while I'm reading.

I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of book three. I constantly have been checking to see what's happening with it (I guess I should be happy that I'm not waiting 6 years for the next book like I have gotten use to with another one of my favorite book series...damn you Song of Fire and Ice!!!!!) Your books have been just as great and I'm sure like the first two I won't be able to put down the third book until I've gotten all the way through it.”

I love hearing stuff like this.

I purposely wrote these books so that a parent can read them then pass them along to their kid and feel good about doing so. Or the opposite. A kid can read them and then give it to their parent, knowing he or she will also enjoy it.

Having a parent actually READ it to their kids? Even better.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Want a signed copy?

So, post-Origins, I found myself with a handful of leftover copies of both Progeny and Prophecy. As I'm not going to any other conventions this year (to sell books), I decided to host a pair of giveaways at GoodReads.com:

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Progeny (The Children of the White Lions, #1) by R.T. Kaelin

Progeny (The Children of the White Lions, #1)

by R.T. Kaelin

Giveaway ends July 21, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Prophecy by R.T. Kaelin


by R.T. Kaelin

Giveaway ends July 21, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
Enter to win

If you're interested, head on over there and register for a copy.


Tuesday, June 18, 2013

A Picture Is Worth...5526 Words?

I swear this will be my last post about this Kickstarter campaign, at least for a while. But this was too cool to let slip by.

With the repurposing of Time Traveled Tales, illustrations by Matt Slay have been included for every short. Matt is a heck of an artist, best known for his work for IDW’s Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Comics and several Upper Deck Marvel projects. Until this project, I had never met nor spoken with Matt—still haven’t—nor had I seen his work. Yet here I am proclaiming that he’s a great artist.

You know why?

Because he read Market, my short story in Time Traveled Tales, and promptly nailed the illustration:

Nundle at his floundering stall in Deepwell

Many fans have shared with me that Nundle Babblebrook is their favorite character from the books. So, when I decided to write a number of short story prequels to the series, Nundle’s backstory (something I already had worked up as it comes into play in book three) was a natural place to start.

Market gives readers a peek into Nundle’s past, capturing the tomble at his lowest, right before his life took a sudden turn.

Check out the some of the other great illustrations (I love the one for My Faire Lady, Jean Rabe’s story) at the Kickstarter campaign. If you choose to back the effort, I’d suggest you take a close look at the following level:

At $20, you will receive a Limited Edition Challenge Coin, featuring one of Matt Slay's amazing illustrations from the anthology, plus the eBook edition of Time Traveled Tales. Additionally, you will get an email from one of the authors in the anthology personally thanking you for your contribution to this project.

The coins are awesome. Here are two of the designs that include the illustrations done for stories by Maxwell Alexander Drake and Donald Bingle. 


Take a moment to peruse the campaign or share it with those who might be interested.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Authors, Writing, and Games! Oh, My! (Origins 2013 Recap)

You’d think four days of standing around a convention hall, chatting with people about books, sitting on panels to discuss writing, and hanging out with other authors would be an enjoyable, somewhat relaxing way to spend a long weekend.

You’d be wrong.

Not about the enjoyable part, of course. All that stuff I just listed? Awesome.

But the relaxing part? Heh. Nope. By Sunday night, I was drained. But that’s okay, because the rest of it was—again—awesome.

Here’s the blow-by-blow accounting:


My 2013 Origins Setup
Set-up day. This is where everyone gets into the hall and puts together their display. Once I got my booth situated in The Library, I hung out with the other authors there already, reconnecting with people I only “see” virtually for much of the fall/winter/spring.

I met up with Michael Stackpole, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Janine Spendlove, Bryan Young, Dylan Birtolo, and Jennifer Brozek. Some of us grabbed dinner together then headed off to bed early for the convention’s Thursday start. 


I had one panel Thursday, “Military Tactics,” where we talked about what we as authors do prior to writing a big battle scene and our varying approaches as have the action plays out. Timothy Zahn was in audience (nifty, huh?) and lent his expertise.

Heroes and A Hero By Any Other Name
That evening, I had my half-hour reading in which I read my short story, Interview, from the Origins anthology, Heroes!

The story is a total departure from my epic fantasy roots and revolves around Alex, a young man who works at the local Sav-n-Shop bagging groceries. Alex shows up for an interview with Lawman, the city’s biggest superhero, thinking it is for an assistant's position, only to learn it’s to be Lawman’s new sidekick. There are syrup jokes, a couple SpongeBob references, and a line about having an accident in the bathroom. So, yeah…just like my epic fantasy stuff.

Mark Dos Santos' illustration. Nailed it.

A second anthology released at the con, A Hero by Any Other Name, included shorts from Michael Stackpole, Aaron Allston, Maxwell Alexander Drake, Bryan Young, Janine Spendlove, others, and me. I continued Alex’s story—he was too much fun to write—and got an awesome illustration to go along with it by Mark Dos Santos. All of the artwork in the anthology was great and Mark, whom I have never met, did a great job with all of it. Seriously. I provided an outline only and he absolutely nailed the scene as I described.


Friday was a slow day with a single panel, “The Myth of Writer's Block” but I got to meet a bunch of people, including one Batgirl. Had dinner with a couple authors, including Gregory A. Wilson and Aaron Rosenberg (who I met for the first time—nice guy, sharp wit). The evening was spent chilling out with a few folks, playing some games (Origins is a game convention, after all).

Then came Saturday. Busy, busy Saturday.


The convention sold day passes only for that day, meaning the hall’s crowd at least doubled from Friday’s attendance.  

Pat Rothfuss secretly using the Force while we're distracted
I had three panels, the first being “Writing the Trilogy” hosted by Timothy Zahn with Bradley P. Beaulieu, Patrick Rothfuss, Sheryl Nantus, and me. Of all the panels I did over the weekend, it was the best attended. I wonder why.

It was a lot of fun talking about how we all approach writing trilogies/series, the most difficult aspects of doing so, and our different writing approaches. It was interesting, and somewhat reassuring, to hear that Rothfuss, Zahn, and Beaulieu have all suffered through many of the same struggles I have regarding multi-book efforts.

After that, I had a panel with Michael Stackpole, Aaron Rosenberg, Dylan Birtolo, and Tracy Chowdhury on “A Rose By Any Other Name…” The point of the panel was to chat about book titles, but we spent a lot of time discussing our approaches to naming in general: characters, places, etc.

Later in the day, Bryan Young, Aaron Rosenberg, Ron Garner, and I put the fear of God into people regarding Self-Publishing. Fifteen minutes into the panel, we had to start talking people back off the ledge. It’s a lot—A LOT—of work, people. Just know what you are getting yourself into.

That night, I participated in Origins’ Upgraded Play event where convention organizers escort a group of gamers to a private room where they get to play with a “celebrity.” They got me. Heh.

For the first time in my life, I played Call of Cthulhu, an RPG game semi-based on the writings of H.P. Lovecraft in which the characters try to accomplish some goal without going insane. My group was great, showing incredible patience with me as I learned the game. It was a lot of fun that resulted with my character—along with another player’s—sacrificing two of them to ‘win’ the scenario. My apologies to the merchant and the eunuch. It had to be done.


Sunday was laid-back. The crowds were smaller and in the afternoon, my family came to visit. Nikalys wore his Ironman costume (superhero theme, remember?) and Kennedy sat on my lap for a while, imploring passersby to “Buy my daddy’s book!”

All-in-all, it was a great weekend. I visited with old fans and professionals as well as met some new. Patrick Tomlinson and I chatted about motorcycles and I met Jaym Gates in person for the first time. I’m already looking forward to next year.

Good days ahead.


PS - I specifically want to thank Kelly Swails for both organizing everything for The Library and editing the Heroes! anthology. Wrangling twenty-plus authors is not easy to do. Thanks, Kelly!