An Explanation: The End of the Blog

So, starting an author platform is a daunting task. There are so many things that people say you HAVE to do, and then they go on to say that everything varies from one person to another.

Which is completely true, unfortunately.

There are few things that are constants from one author to another.

And as someone who has always been by the book (pun intended), someone who feels pressured to do what I “have” to do, in this case, it means I started this blog a few years ago when I started my author platform.

Having a blog was just the thing all authors were supposed to do.

So, I did it.

I set up my website, started my blog, set a schedule, and I never missed a post. Sometimes I forgot to tell people on social media that the post was up, but I always posted.

Every single week.

Not because I ever imagined myself to be some great blogger. Not because it made me happy.

But because I felt like I had to do it.

That’s kinda been the running theme of my life, honestly. I do a lot of things that I “have” to do simply because others said I needed to.

Even when it isn’t what I want for my life. Even when it stresses me out. Even when it takes time away from things I actually enjoy.

And though this blog hasn’t been all bad, it does stress me out, and it certainly takes time away from actually writing.

For two days, I’ve been agonizing over this, trying to figure out what the fuck I was going to write about tonight, which made the twelve hour shifts I worked both those days even worse. Instead of thinking about the scenes I’m working through for my books, instead of coming up with cover designs, instead of focusing on music or an audiobook, I was stressing out, trying to figure out something, anything that I could teach in this blog.

Which inevitably leads to a spiral of imposter syndrome, wherein I question whether I even have anything to teach or whether I’m just a big fat phony.


It’s finally time.

Unless someone specifically requests a topic on social media, in a reply to my newsletter (subscribe below to hear about my books and my life every week), or in a message, I won’t be continuing the blog as an informational thing, nor will I be holding myself to the weekly or adjusted every other week schedule that I’ve held myself to in the past.

This will basically become a place for me to post maps or playlists or little world details for my books. I’ll post about inspiration for stories, as well as cover reveals. I might post major milestones in my writing process (finishing a round of edits or coming up with a cover design).

Basically, this blog will become sporadic, and it will definitely focus on my books rather than the craft of writing.

Don’t worry, whenever I post on here, I’ll let you know on my various social media pages (links below), or you can just check in whenever you want an update. 🙂

So, here’s to more time for writing the books that brought you here in the first place.

One stop shop for all my author links.

Choosing a Font for your Book: A Quick Guide

Picking a font can be daunting. There are about a million to choose from, and it’s important. So where to start?

Maybe by narrowing it down.

There are some fonts that are more common in certain genres or in certain age groups, so you should probably do some research to see what other books like yours are being printed in.

But you should also take into account what step in the process you’re at.


Anything that helps you get it written works. You can use Wing Dingz, as long as it helps you finish the book.

Side note: There’s a rumor that writing with the font Comic Sans will help write faster.


Abide by the guidelines each publisher or agent has set forth on their website.


Traditional publishers likely make this decision.

Self-publishing means it’s up to you and your formatter. Times New Roman is common. Garamond (a personal favorite) and Palatino are nice.

There are fonts available that help with dyslexia, as well as one called Dyslexie that was specifically designed to help people with that disorder. So, if you’re writing books specifically for people with Dyslexia, that might be something to consider.

Basically, there are a lot of options and variables to consider, even just within the realm of serif and sans fonts (where you should likely start because those types tend to be easy to digest). There’s no hard and fast rule. But there are common fonts, the most prevalent being Times New Roman.

But unless you’re self-publishing, it isn’t really something you need to worry about. And if you are, do some research to see if there are common fonts in your genre and pick one that you like, one that’s easy to read.

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Know Your Fluff (Creating depth instead of filling pages)

Personally, I hate excess fluff in books. I don’t need to know what a side character had for breakfast three days ago. I don’t need the exact steps count from one side of a room to another. I don’t need the movements a character is doing broken down into a blow by blow description of opening a door.

It just feels like a waste.

It’s extra words to slow down the narrative and extra pages to drive the print cost up.But how do you know what’s fluff and what isn’t? (Outside of those super obvious examples above.)Here are four questions to ask yourself.

Does it thicken the plot?

If a character goes to the store for groceries, we probably don’t need to read about it. Not unless they run into someone there and get into a fight, or if the grocery store is just a front for the underground magical society they didn’t know about until they stumbled through a back door or something.

In most cases, you can just skip the grocery buying and get to the plot.

Does it develop the characters?

We don’t need every detail of a character’s childhood. Maybe they scraped their knee at the age of four in a bike accident, but unless that experience scarred them mentally or introduced them to someone that affected their character, it isn’t necessary information.

Does it build the world?

Fantasy and sci-fi books need world building. You don’t have to beat your readers over the head with it, but they do need the information.

Is it meaningful?

Basically, you need details to paint a picture for your readers, but those details need to add meaning too. For instance, specifying the pattern of lace isn’t necessary unless the characters bond over lace or something.

Certain genres lend themselves better to extra detail. Historical fiction, especially set in Victorian times, gives a bit of leeway with this because it’s kind-of a thing for lace trim and brocade and all that extra shit to be described.

But even then, there is definitely such a thing as too much.

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Static vs. Dynamic Characters (And uses for each)

Static characters are characters that don’t change or develop much over the course of a story. They can be well rounded. They can be fully fleshed out with a rich backstory and a relatable personality. But those things likely won’t shift much over the course of the story.

As such, they’re commonly cast as secondary characters. A best friend that’s always good for a laugh. A big brother that always does right by his siblings.

That sort of thing.

But they don’t always have to be secondary characters. (We’ll come back to this.)

Dynamic characters change and develop. They learn lessons or crumble beneath the weight of their problems. The story and the events within it shape them into something new.

Main characters are often challenged by the stories they’re in. They face adversity, and very few people can do that without being shaken, without being changed. Thus, most main characters are dynamic.

But those roles aren’t fixed.

A secondary character may crumble beneath the weight of their own problems, or they might rise to meet a challenge with their main character friend. This isn’t exactly uncommon.

But a static character as a lead?

Yep. It can be done.

These characters fully believe in what they’re doing and their way of life. Their story isn’t so much about the way their world changes them, but about the way they change the world around them to fit their beliefs.

They likely face a lot of opposition, and the challenge for them is staying true to themselves, staying strong. They may waver a bit, but without a substantial change in their worldview, they’re still technically a static character.

And while dynamic characters are a personal favorite, static characters can still be interesting, if only for their strength and perseverance.

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Know your stuff! The Importance of Research

There’s this piece of advice that floats around writing circles that I absolutely hate. “Write what you know.”

I hate it for a couple reasons.

For starters, it’s become a means of gatekeeping. People use it to tell people they shouldn’t write a character of a gender or sexual orientation or race that’s different from their own. People also use it to tell others not to write characters in a situation that they’ve never experienced, like mental illness or extreme poverty.

And I hate that.

It completely negates the fact that we can learn. We can do research and broaden our horizons and grow as human beings.

We can come to understand other people in ways we didn’t before, and books are a wonderful way to do that.

“Write what you know” also limits what a person can write in other ways.

If authors only ever wrote what they know, every character would be a bookworm of some sort, and the fantasy/sci-fi genres wouldn’t exist. Magic isn’t real, and aliens aren’t officially recognized as real, so no one “knows” them to write them. Same with zombies or super-advanced technology.

And then there are the hobbies and things that people could never write without first diving into them.

So, instead of, “Write what you know,” I’m an advocate for research.

For example, if a character is a mechanic, learn a little bit about cars.

It won’t hurt you to know how to change your oil. (And knowing how doesn’t mean you can’t just pay someone else to do it.) It won’t hurt you to know that if a pully on the motor is bent, it might shred the serpentine belt (over time), which fucks a lot of shit up (goodbye power steering and engine cooling, for instance).

It also doesn’t hurt to know that Stop Leak is a thing, but most mechanics would recommend replacing the head or the head gasket rather than using it because it’s more of a band-aid than an actual fix, and could leave you stranded on the side of the road later on with all the fluids draining out of the engine. (Personal experience from my days as a broke ass college student taught me that one.)

If a character is an archer, you probably need to research archery.

It won’t hurt you to know that the extended arm will ache more than the arm drawing the string if you hold for too long (same tension because of the whole equal and opposite reaction thing, plus the weight of holding the arm and bow out away from the body), or that double jointed elbows might mean the string clips your elbow on release if your elbow is at full lock.

If a character suffers from depression, you probably need to know about intrusive thoughts and the complete and total lack of energy that sometimes holds a person in an existential crisis on the couch, stopping them from doing things they know full well that they need to do while simultaneously making them feel like shit for not doing those things.

If a character is a lesbian, you should probably do some research and learn that not all lesbians have a high sex drive or fit the typical “butch” stereotype. And they aren’t lesbians just because they haven’t met the right man.

My point is, these are things you should learn, things you should research.

Not things that should stop you from writing a character the way they’re supposed to be written.

This doesn’t mean you have to be an expert in every hobby your character undertakes (unless the character is supposed to be an expert and that knowledge affects the story). At least get the basics, though.

Do your characters (and real people) justice.

Research appropriately.

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Sometimes Book Characters Need to Die (But when?)

My recent book, A Blessed Darkness, has prompted a few people to ask what made me decide to write it the way I did. I don’t want to spoil it (if you’ve read it, you know what I’m talking about), but there are a couple deaths that took people by surprise.

And this isn’t the first time. (Annabelle, I’m looking at you.)

Basically, I don’t deal in plot armor.

So, how do I decide if a character should live or die?

It’s not an easy thing to kill off a character, especially a main character. (Yes, I’ve killed a main character or two, but I won’t say which book or if it’s even published yet. No spoilers here.)

At any rate, character deaths should be done properly and only when necessary. These fictional people deserve that much.

So, here’s my criteria for whether or not a character (main or side) should die:

Is it necessary for the story?

If the story demands a death, write it. If the MC has a friend or family member that’s keeping them from going on a magical destined quest, if the death of a loved one sends your MC on a quest for revenge, if the MC has to sacrifice their own life to save their family or the entire realm and there’s no way around it, then write the death.

If the story falls apart without that death, write it.

Is it what would actually happen?

Please, don’t just drop an anvil on your protagonist while they’re walking along in an open field. Your book likely isn’t a coyote/roadrunner cartoon.

Plausible deaths only please.

For example: Someone succumbing to illness while a plague ravages the land or being killed in a dragon attack during the return of dragons to the land or dying by the blade of their power-hungry younger sibling for the sake of the throne. These make sense and would/could actually happen.

Is it what those characters would actually do?

Character integrity/continuity is of the utmost importance. This one, I honor above all else. I want my characters realistic, so if they kill or die, it has to line up with what they would do in that given situation (or what their killer would do).

A heartless character hellbent on murdering your MC isn’t likely to walk away from a perfect setup. They’re going to come at your MC with all they have. Either figure out how to make that perfect setup slightly imperfect so your MC has a chance… or write the death scene.

If a character would actually kill someone else, if a disease would actually ravage their mother or son, if a character has shown the courage and devotion necessary to step in front of a bullet for another person, write it.

What kind of impact/meaning does that character’s death have?

For some stories, the symbolism needs to come forward. Sometimes, that demands a martyr.

Unfortunate for the character, but sometimes necessary.

Is it simply for shock value?

If you kill a character for no reason but to shock readers… Just don’t. Please, don’t do this. Obviously, it’s your book, you’re free to do what you want, but if it doesn’t make sense, if it’s random and doesn’t line up with anything else in the book and you’re just doing it to be edgy, please don’t.

Your characters (and your readers) deserve better than that.

When not to kill a character:

If it’s not necessary and doesn’t make sense for the characters, story, meaning, and/or realism, don’t kill the character.

Something else to consider: Some genres expect a happily ever after (and thus, demand plot armor), so killing main characters likely isn’t a good idea.

Romance, for instance, demands a HEA or at least a HFN. Dead MCs means you better market that as romantic fiction or tragic romance. If you market it as straight-up romance then kill off your MC rather than giving the ending that’s expected in that genre, hardcore romance fans will probably be very upset.

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Editing Your Manuscript To Death: Knowing When To Stop

Editing a manuscript is a long and (sometimes) grueling process. It’s a necessary step, because no manuscript is perfect.

But how do you know when to stop?

How do you keep from falling into an endless cycle of revisions?

Write the whole book first.

Don’t edit your first chapter five times instead of writing chapter two. This is a good way to never finish the book.

There are exceptions to this. Some people can make editing as they write work for them and still finish books. For instance, I edit as I go, but only minimal edits (fixing misspelled words as I type them, things like that). Sometimes, I’ll stop progressing to go back and make a change earlier in the manuscript, but only if it’s a pivotal thing, something that I need to do because it alters the character arcs or plot.

Everything else gets tacked on at the end of the manuscript with a note that says, “Add such and such to this specific scene.”

That’s enough to convince my brain to let it go for the moment while ensuring that it gets fixed after the book is finished.

If you’re wondering if your first chapter is good enough for you to stop editing it and write the next chapter, the answer is yes. Write the next chapter.

Once the book is finished, if you fall into a cycle of fifteen to twenty rounds of edits, and you’re unsure whether it’s done, try these:

Step away from it for a little while.

If you’ve pored over your book time and again, and you don’t know if needs something adjusted or removed or added…

Step away from it for a week or more.

Coming back with fresh eyes is insanely helpful for seeing things you didn’t see before, or for realizing that you were overthinking.

Hire a pro for at least one round of edits.

Please. At least one round of editing needs to be done by a professional. I promise, they’ll see things you didn’t, and it’ll help you get some peace of mind.

Accept that there will always be a typo or two (or ten) left scattered throughout the book.

A book is the product of a human, and humans are incapable of perfection. I believe the industry standard is somewhere around 1 typo for every 10,000 words, but obviously you’re not going to count them. If you could find them to count them, you’d just fix them.

But if you feel like you’re close to that point, as long as you’ve done story and grammar edits in addition to hunting for typos, you’re probably good.

When in doubt, have someone else (someone you trust to be honest with you) take a look.

Honestly, you should have someone else look at your book before publication, no matter what. Be it critique partners, alpha readers, or beta readers, you need other people’s eyes on your work.

Your brain will fill in words where they’re missing because you know what’s supposed to be there. Other people don’t, so they’ll like see these things.

Your brain will also fill in backstory and world building because you know what’s supposed to be there. Again, other people don’t. They can show you what you’ve missed. (Or what you’ve overexplained.)

Or tell you when they think it’s ready and that you’re just doubting yourself unnecessarily.

Doing this before sending your manuscript to a professional editor could actually save you money. Every problem fixed before the pro gets their hands on it means one less thing for them to find, and thus, potentially fewer rounds needed with a pro.

But basically, when it gets to a point where all you’re doing is taking out a comma or addressing a typo once every ten (ish) pages, or better yet, when you get your manuscript back from the pro and can scroll through ten (ish) pages between corrections, publish that bitch!

Stop tearing your hair out hunting the four typos that slipped through seven rounds of edits.

(Btw, seven rounds is my average for editing, including the professional edit and a sweep with Grammarly. Older works got more to bring them up from my early writing abilities to my current abilities.)

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

The Post-Book Void: Inside a Writer’s Mind

Finishing a book is huge. It’s a major accomplishment, something to be proud of. As such, it comes with a sense of excitement and awe at this thing you’ve just managed.

But then, there’s this strange little thing that happens after that.

It’s a kind of… blank space. A lull. A rut.

It’s like all the juice has been squeezed out of the orange, except… that orange is your brain.

Part of it is due to the knowledge that writing the book is only a very small portion of the process, and let’s be real here, the rest of it can be pretty daunting.

But there’s also just this weird empty space left in your brain that was once taken up by that story and those characters. The time in the day that was occupied by thinking of what those characters would do or say or wish for…

Is just open.

The story leaves a bit of a vacuum in its wake, and the brain just doesn’t know what to do with that time or energy, so that little section seems to collapse in on itself. Almost like the shaky exhaustion when adrenaline fades after a close call.

Now, normally, I have so many projects going on at one time that the vacuum is filled by a different project.

But in the past couple weeks, I released a book (A Blessed Darkness), finished the first round of edits in The Sword and The Savage (view on Goodreads here), finished the first draft of book one of The Regonia Chronicles, and finished the first draft of book one of Blood is Thicker.

That was a lot of projects coming to an end all at once, and while that means the initial feeling of accomplishment and was greater, it also means that the vacuum left in its wake was stronger.

It’s such a strange thing.

Yes, I do have more things in the works. Editing book two of The Regonia Chronicles, writing book two of Blood is Thicker, for instance. (I’m awaiting beta reader feedback on The Sword and The Savage, otherwise I’d jump into round two of edits.)

But there’s still this open space in my thoughts, like all those characters took their stuff and moved out.

And for Elairie and Beluroan (A Blessed Darkness), that’s kinda the case. That book is released, and I won’t be diving into their lives again. Their story is written.

It’s weird, saying goodbye to people that feel real but aren’t.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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A Blessed Darkness: The Inspiration of the Book

Inspiration can come from anywhere. This book came from me being a little weird about video games.

You see, a friend from work wanted me to play a new video game with him. I like video games, and it seemed interesting. So I got the game, made my character, and started leveling to the point where we could actually play together. (Tutorial shit, basically.)

But the race I chose wouldn’t be able to play with his character.

So, I made a new character.

But then, I wanted backstories for them. I wanted to ship them together (for those who don’t know, basically I wanted to build a romance between them).

Because I just can’t resist.

I always make backstories for my game characters.

Now, having only just started the game, I knew absolutely nothing of the lore. That meant I couldn’t come up with a backstory that actually fit in the world.

And my schedule just wasn’t lining up with my friend’s.

So I just made up my own world, dropped two people of different Elven races into it (keeping hair color, eye color, and the names I gave them), and figured out a reason for them to meet.

Basically, I used the character creation thing on a video game for the character aesthetic, got too impatient to wait to learn the lore, and just made my own. Lol.

I never even ended up learning the lore for the game. Namely because I never played that game again. >.<

I normally play on console, and it was the first game I tried on PC. I just couldn’t get used to the controls. Using the arrows to move just felt clumsy compared to the joysticks of console controllers, so I kept running into things and getting stuck on little obstacles and stupid irritating stuff like that.

So, the game didn’t stick.

But I ended up writing a book instead. Lol.

Now, that was a few years ago. I ended up writing other books and publishing them first because the level of editing this one needed was quite a bit more intensive than the books I wrote after it. With every book, I learn more and thus, the next book’s first draft is better than the last.

But A Blessed Darkness is finally ready for the world.

I just hope the world is ready for A Blessed Darkness, because I’ll be honest, this one is not a typical romantic fantasy.

It hurts. Lol.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

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Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.

Fantasy Maps Made Easy

So many readers love a good map to accompany their books, and for good reason. It’s a nice little extra bit of world building and helps to orient a person in a fictional world.

But unless you’re extremely familiar with graphic design, making the map yourself could prove difficult. Hiring the work out could prove expensive (as it should, graphic design work require time, effort, and a lot of practice).

But there are a couple alternatives that allow you to make your own map and (for a reasonable price) use them for commercial purposes, i.e. in a book. If you’re making a map for a non-commercial purpose (a personal Dungeons & Dragons campaign with friends, perhaps), I’m not sure the same fees would apply.

So, without further adieu, the map making resources you came here for.


This lovely website lets you build a custom map from the ground up. Well, from the sea bed up, because at the start, it’s all water.

You start out by selecting the overall feel you want the map to have, be it parchment or watercolor. You also choose whether it’s a battle map, regional map, or world map.

Then, you start shaping continents with a tool that raises land up out of the water. You can adjust the edges of that tool to be smooth or rough (for more realistic coastlines). You can sink areas back down to make lakes. There’s a separate tool for drawing paths, which could be used for thin snaking rivers or trade routes or whatever you want.

With the geography roughed out, you can choose from a bunch of “Stamp” options. These are used for the compass and scale, banners and bridges, towns and buildings, mountains and trees, even mythical creatures.

There’s a pretty wide assortment, so you’ll just have to play around and find the ones you like the best. It automatically defaults to the ones that match the style you chose for your map, but you can change the filters and select from any stamps, regardless of style.

There’s also an option to add text (with the option to curve it to fit banners) and brushes for different textures and colors. It has some trial and error involved for sure, but once you get the hang of it, it’s pretty fun.

And you can come out the other side with some amazing maps.

The cost to use the maps for commercial use?

$25 a year or $5 a month.

Here’s the official terms of service if you want to read them. Don’t worry, it’s only 8 pages or reasonably sized text.

Azgaar’s Fantasy Map Generator

As you may have guessed from the word “generator” in the link above, this one makes a complete, randomized world for you. Of course, you can change it, altering altitudes and coastlines to fit what you have in mind for your world if you don’t like a few parts of the random map. Or you can generate a new one altogether.

One of the really cool things about this one is that it’s really in depth. It populates the world for you, throwing in a variety of cultures (derived from real world influences as well as existing fictional races), countries, political factions, religions, trade routes, etc.

It accounts for precipitation based on topography, temperature based on a country’s position on the globe. It even has a layer option to show military forces.

And if you click on the cities, it pulls up a small map of the city streets.

All the various layers and options are available for you to tweak if you click the little bitty triangle in the top left of the screen.

Now, since I’ve only discovered this map generator recently, I’m by no means an expert in what can be done with it. But I can see its potential, and there are a multitude of tutorials on YouTube to help you get the most out of it.

Cost for commercial licensing?

Judging by the reply the creator left for a Redditor, all they ask is that you mention that you used their generator.

Which is astonishing and unbelievably cool of them.

The license itself is linked in that post, but if you’d rather skip straight to the license (which says free) here it is. They even made that simple. It’s less than one page.

Subscribe for sneak peeks and updates on my upcoming books (and get a free short story).

Check out my gritty, literary sci-fi and fantasy books here.

Find me on Goodreads.

Want to help fund this blog and my writing efforts? You can support me directly here.