New Series Cover Reveal and Update

Dear readers,

I am excited to update you on the progress of my upcoming Fantasy Series as well as share Cover Art and Blurb for the first installment.


As the manuscript had become too long, I made the decision to break book one into a trilogy (or possibly a tetralogy/pentalogy depending on how things go) I came to this decision about six months ago after weighing the pros and cons.

First, let’s get the most obvious out of the way. Releasing three to five books means more revenue. I won’t insult your intelligence by pretending there is no financial consideration to this decision. But I am being honest when I say the following factors had equal or more influence.

Second, conversion to a series will provide a better release schedule, which is something that I’ve never been known for. At the time of this writing, book one is almost ready for the editor, rough drafts for book 2 and most of book three are already written. This means I will hopefully be able to release the first three entries within 6 months to a year of each other. Obviously, that isn’t a promise—I won’t ever release a book I’m not yet satisfied with. That said, more releases published in more rapid succession does wonders for my ability to promote this series.

Third, I want to release hardbacks. In the past, page counts disqualified most the books in the Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs. By breaking this series into three or more installments, I will be able to release hardbacks without leaving the readers who purchase them in a situation where they’ll be unable to complete their collection in the same format.

Last, and most important to me, breaking the books into a longer series will allow readers to absorb the world’s history/lore in smaller bites and give me much more room for character development. I believe that this will enable me to avoid massive info dumps, which can be tedious for readers.

Now, enough with the insight into my decision making, let’s get to the more exciting stuff.


This first series is intended to set up a larger connected universe, books that will fall under the umbrella of working title “A World of Kiir Novel.” I say ‘working title’ because I don’t have to decide what the Universe will be called until the first series is completed. I have A LOT of ideas for spin off novels and solo adventures concerning characters established in this first series.


I should note that this next idea is something I’m excited about but don’t want to promise, as there might be unforeseen logistical issues. In concept, I really want to release an associated “free” product readers will be able to get access to with purchase of any book in the series. While working on the first books, I’ve been keeping extensive notes on the world and its lore. I hope to turn these notes into an appendix/compendium/encyclopedia (maybe a wiki) of sorts, with lots of associated artwork.

In practice, the idea is meant to go something like this:

Reader: “Shucks, book two mentioned something called ‘The Swaying Lands’, it wasn’t critical to the story yet, still I’d like to know a little more about it. BUT WAIT! Maybe there is an entry in the compendium! Golly, there it is, with maps and pictures no less! T. Ellery sure is my hero.” 

What… Why are you looking at me like that? You don’t say golly or shucks?


Basically, the idea of a “complete” encyclopedia becomes a moving target with each release. Making this available runs the risk of dropping potential spoilers for future books or spin-off series.

To address this, it may need to be a free document download that comes with optional versions depending on where you are in the series at any given time, and a complete version for when you’ve finished the latest book release.

So, if you’re reading book one, and want more details on something, you’d be able to download a document for book one. I’ll make sure all the spoiler warning notifications are there to stop you, but if you decide to ignore them and download the complete compendium for the entire series, well… for this to work… you’ll have to exercise some self-restraint.


And now, for the moment you’ve all been waiting for – I am thrilled to reveal the cover art for book one. I love it, and I’ve been waiting a long time to share it with you!
Stay tuned for more details on ebook, paperback, hardback, and audiobook release dates.

Bard Hard

The Lost Son of The Teurig | Book 1

“You’ll find, this is not the story of a wise man who went through life making wise decisions,” the Bard said.

All souls enter the afterlife screaming, but Renly Teurig’s didn’t make a sound. Intrigued, the goddess Neuillya came to hear the Bard’s story.

Born of the Teurig, a renowned company of performers, a young musician unwittingly buys a lute crafted by the gods and finds himself bound to a celestial muse. Exile, tragedy, and chaos follow. As Renly struggles to master the lute’s power and understand the mysterious forces that threaten his world, his days become a series of supernatural encounters, daring gambles, and near-death escapes.

Bard Hard is a high-fantasy epic that combines immersive world-building and magic systems with a humorous narrator. It takes readers on their first journey into the fantastical world of Kiir, following the life and times of one of its most enigmatic and conflicted inhabitants. With epic quests, thrilling battles, and unexpected twists and turns, it’s a story of destiny, identity, truth, and the power of storytelling.

Pre-Update Preview About New Series

I have been thinking of posting an update about the new series all week. This will essentially be the tl;dr version of that post.

I’ll be doing a cover reveal soon, and explaining where I am at with the new series in long form. The short version of the “where I am at with it.”

About 6 months ago, I decided to break the book into 3. What will now be book one is almost ready for the editor. (Days, perhaps weeks, unless something goes really wrong). Now, because I’ve broken the original book into 3. I have the rough draft of book 2 already written. I also have well over half of a rough draft for book 3. My hope with all this is to have a much faster release schedule then in the past.

Of course, all of what I’ve said above is kind a dependent on beta reader reception. If its not liked, It’ll need an overhaul.

(For now, here is a cool piece of AI generated art for one of the main characters)

Confessions of A Gym Membership Salesman

Okay, so… most of this was a reply to a reader who’d found out I’d worked at a gym and wanted to know what I thought about being a personal trainer as a side hustle. I got long-winded, strolled down memory lane a bit. I don’t know, you might get a kick out of it.

Between the ages of 21 and 32, I was at the gym about 5 days a week. I worked at [Fake Gym Name] for a while, but I was a membership salesman. I spent a lot of time with personal trainers, worked out with them a lot, learned a ton from them… but I never was one myself.

That was over a decade ago.  At the time, personal training as a side hustle would have been a tough gig. To make a living, it required a full-time commitment. You had to be filling 6-8 hours of your day with clients and spending the time you weren’t training them getting more clients.

It was a hard time for that sort of thing, the economy had just crapped its pants (which, you know… it’s probably about to do again) and a personal trainer was looking for a person who (1) was motivated about their fitness (2) had a lot of expendable income (3) was coachable.

The third one is more important than it seems. If they don’t listen to you on things like diet, they don’t get the results they want. If they spend a lot of money not getting the results they want, you don’t get referrals, and they don’t buy more training sessions.

All that said, I was the best at selling personal training packages to folks who’d come in to buy a gym membership. I’m bragging a bit, but I’m not being hyperbolic, [Fake Gym Name] actually awarded me a trophy for this. It’s this ridiculous (but also kinda awesome) glass pillar that says: “Life Changer”.  

Back then, the secret to selling the personal training packages was…

Okay, you probably weren’t expecting a story but, whatever, buckle in, here we go…

[Fake Gym] kept trying to get me to teach other salesmen how to increase the number of personal training packages they were able to sell as add-ons when someone came in for a gym membership. I confess to playing dumb, pretending it wasn’t teachable, that I must have just had the right charisma. I don’t think they were fooled because… well… no one will ever accuse me of having ‘charisma’.

Occasionally, my managers would do a “training” exercise where they’d have me do a mock tour/pitch. Basically, show them around the facilities as though they were a customer. They’d tell me they just want to sharpen my craft. Course, the other salesmen didn’t seem to get these pop quiz tours as often … So… I generally left out any of my ‘how to sell personal training’ methodology when this happened.

Well, that and I wasn’t selling the personal training the way [Fake Gym Name] wanted it done, but I’ll get to that in a bit.

What you must understand–It was a terrible job if you actually had to “do it” the way they expected you to. Lots of cold calls, lead generation… that sort of thing. Not my wheelhouse. I got away with a lot of laziness because I’d found a way to make myself somewhat indispensable selling the personal training and I didn’t want to lose that by teaching everyone how to do it. I had just graduated from college. I had a degree in molecular biology, and I was looking for a job at a lab. The gym was keeping me employed until an opportunity came along… but you know how it goes with employers… One must maintain the illusion that gym sales was the career I was passionate about.

Actually, I eventually had to confess that I was looking for another job to one of my managers. He wanted to promote me and the only thing worse than the job I had was the next step up (more cold calls, more lead generation, more coaching of the other salesmen, more getting yelled at for not meeting corporate sales expectations… not much more money). I ended up turning the promotion down.

I’m going off on too many tangents…

The formula for selling Personal Training was three things:

(1) I worked out every day, so I “looked” like I knew what I was talking about.

(2) I’d always slip in a mention of my degree. Early on I picked up a change in customers if they realized I wasn’t some stereotypical gym d-bag from an 80’s movie. They also kind of flipped a switch in their thinking, started assuming that a molecular biology degree informed my physical fitness knowledge (which was like 7% true, mostly… BS)

Now, once establishing yourself as an intelligent authority on the topic, who ‘looked’ the part…

(3) Sell personal training as an educational decision.

Remember how I said I wasn’t pitching personal training the way [Fake Gym Name] wanted me to? Well, that’s because they wanted it to be pitched as something you keep coming back for again and again. It’s a terrible angle. “You can keep paying us for personal training indefinitely, sound great or what?”

People just saw a never-ending bill and personal training isn’t cheap. Remember 2008, economy bad… etc

I would sell it by saying that if they spent 5 sessions with a personal trainer, they would learn the things they needed to know about getting results that eluded them in the past. How to make a workout plan, how to build their diet around it, how to rotate their targeted muscle groups blah blah blah. The reason this is effective is because we’ve all had the experience of deciding it’s time to get in shape, not getting any traction, and quitting. I was basically telling them that a lack of education was what kept that cycle repeating itself.

I had a whole speech describing what it would look like if they came to the gym with no idea what they were doing… it was very accurate speech, because I spent 8 hours a day at a gym watching people who didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

Thing is, this worked for me because I “wasn’t” lying to them. [Fake Gym Name] was happy to have me lie to make sales at the time, but I’m transparent as hell when I try to lie. Basically, (1) it really does help to have a personal trainer build a personal training regimen for you (2) you do learn a ton from them.

See if you aren’t a sociopath, it’s hard to sell someone something you don’t believe in yourself, but I had no reservations about the paragraph above, so I could be persuasive about it.

Back to the point, I wasn’t supposed to sell PT as a thing the customer thought they weren’t going to need more of. See, that’s the other thing, I almost never tried to sell more than a 5-session package. Because I knew that just repeating the exercises you did with a Personal Trainer over 5 training sessions would be a launch pad for most people that would get them through the hardest part of getting started at the gym.

That said, lots of personal trainers were able to sell those clients additional training packages even after I did this, for the obvious reasons… a coach makes it easier…

Update on next upcoming novel

I haven’t dropped an update in a while, so it is time to fix that situation.

I have a new WIP (work in progress). I don’t have a working title for it yet, but in my head I’ve been calling it: “Bard-Hard.”

THIS WILL PROBABLY NOT BE THE FINAL TITLE. Too gimmicky even if it makes me smile.

Still, I look forward to thinking of its sequels as Bard-Harder… Bard Hard with a Vengence…

For now, I’m just going to refer to this WIP as “Bard-Hard” for the remainder of this update.

I began writing “Bard-Hard” about mid-September when my kids started Kindergarten. Currently, I’m 145 pages (roughly 60k words) into the first draft.

Now, I had started another book between The Never Army and “Bard Hard” and I was about 300 pages in before I knew that it wasn’t going to come together. I only bring this up because I sent out some early project announcements about said previous WIP and I don’t want folks getting confused. Anyhow, I haven’t thrown that previous WIP in the trash. The main problem with that story: it was too ambitious to be the first book in a fantasy series. The world I needed it to exist in requires more time to be fleshed out before jumping into where that story takes place. “Bard-Hard” will likely be the first stepping stone that eventually leads to that grandeur ambition.

The Paperback is (finally) here!

Good news today folks!

For the first time ever, the entire series is available in Paperback Edition. To celebrate, all the books are on sale for a limited time! (Unfortunately, this deal on paperbacks won’t last long, see below)

The Never Hero | Normally $15.99 | Currently $10.99
The Never Paradox | Normally $20.99 | Currently $14.99
The Never Army |Will be $25.99 | Currently $20.99

Outside the the United States?Prices/links above reflect the US. All books are discounted equivalently (according to currency) for any Amazon site you may visit.

Audiobook Update: I’ve spoken to Steven Barnett recently, and while we never make any guarantees on these things (it will always be quality over speed) he is confident he’ll be done recording before the end of March.

Sales Price: In order to discount the paperbacks, I had to disable ‘Expanded Distribution.’ This means that as long as the books are discounted they are not available to any retailers outside of Amazon. So, I can only offer these prices for a limited time. For more information on Expanded Distribution see Link: https://kdp.amazon.com/en_US/help/topic/GQTT4W3T5AYK7L45

Author Interview With NeoStarling

This interview was a lot of fun. NeoStarling and I talk story, characters, and the upcoming finale. In the past my podcast appearances have been centered on the life of an indie author, this discussion was almost entirely Q&A about The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs themselves. Big thanks to NeoStarling for the opportunity to nerd out!

Vol 3 | Title & Cover Reveal

Confession, title reveals make me far more nervous than cover reveals. Once a title is out is out there you can’t change your mind.

First off, the answer is “Yes.” I’m fully aware that TNA is an… unfortunate… acronym.

Second, some of you may be thinking, “Wait, wait, wait… The Never Army. Isn’t that also the name of your e-mail subscriber list? What are you playing at here?”

Okay you caught me. I knew six years ago that The Never Army would probably be the third volume’s title. But that was also before I really started considering how to go about marketing books (back then, I didn’t even know I needed a mailing list). So, when it occurred to me that The Never Army was also a catchy name for an email subscriber list… I went with it. Unless I’ve made a severe miscalculation any confusion this might cause will be minimal.

All that said, when I started working on volume three’s draft there was a serious contender for an alternate title. I won’t say what that title would have been because the alternate was “too apt.“ I know that sounds like the opposite of a reason to not have chosen it, but I came to feel the alternate actually risked being an ending spoiler.

Now, if all that just made you angry and curious about about what this mystery alternate title would have been, don’t worry, I plan to include that story in an author note at the end of the published novel. Theoretically, you’ll all have finished the book by then and the danger of ruining anything will be passed.

Anyhow, you’re all probably sick of hearing me babble about titles!

As always, thank you all so much for being a reader and supporting this series! You are all the reason my family eats and has a roof over its head! My only regret is that I can’t write faster for you!