It is not the announcement that readers deserve, but the one they need.
Today I’m announcing big news for Jonathan Tibbs readers! Unfortunately, that news is not a set publication date for the sequel, but a development that will directly affect said date.
Thank You READERS!
Everyone who bought a copy of The Never Hero, who got excited about it, told their friends to read it, wrote a review, sent an email, tweeted or blogged about it. It is because of you, and the support of my family, that I’ve resigned from my day job. I gave notice January 8th, and on January 23rd I will be a full time writer. I wish there were better words to express my gratitude for your readership and support. The best I can do is tell you why it matters so much to me.
In 2013, I was thirty-two and circling a break down. I hadn’t been fired. I hadn’t lost a loved one. My family was happy and healthy. I had no obvious reason to be miserable.
Under the surface a part of me wanted to lose everything, wished I would show up to work the next day and find out I had been let go. I was at that point in life where you toy with hitting that ‘big red button.’ You start asking yourself, “What could I do to set it all in motion?” What is the action that will irreparably put me on a course for my own personal rock bottom?
A piece of me was desperately searching for the freedom that comes from failing at all of my responsibilities, from having nothing to lose.
I was never going to be happy at a 40-50 hour a week job. It wasn’t my employer, nor the employer who followed, both were great companies and treated me well. It was incompatibility with the lifestyle. This was not a new revelation, but one I struggled with, unconsciously at first and very consciously later, since entering the work force.
I day dreamed about going out in blaze of ridiculous glory… Jerry Mcquire style…
Unfortunately, tempting as that big red button is, we all know that I wasn’t willing to take my family down with me. I often wonder if I knew that this might be the case…
A long time ago in a lonely bachelor’s pad far far away…
That perhaps I went looking for family, a place where I was needed, so I wouldn’t feel I had the option of hitting that button when the urge got strong enough.
Show up to work… try to care… repeat. Years going by in a blur. Every day just wanting the one simple @$#@%@# luxury of being able to go to sleep when I was tired, and wake up when I @$#@%@ wasn’t.
What is worse, of course, is that it felt so damn immature.
It is a strange box that one, knowing you aren’t acting your age, but not being able to find the words you need to say to yourself in order to become the ‘responsible adult’ you are suppose to be by now.
“Accept reality,” he said to himself in a chant. “This is how the world works.”
Now, I know this is hardly unique. I get it! I may as well be expressing the grief of everyone who has ever had to work their whole life. Or at least everyone who watched Office Space. Perhaps there was one difference, for me, that made it feel like a prison. I can’t fake enthusiasm.
If you asked my wife: How well does T. Ellery Hodges lie?
She would say:
“He never bothers. Not because of some moral code, mind you, but because he finds it exhausting and he is terrible at it. Seriously, if he tried to lie to me, I’d know immediately. Whatever he said would sound fishy and he would take a nap right afterward.”
My career, whatever it was at the time, kept needing me to care. Not pretend to care, mind you, but I was suppose to actually want to be there. I couldn’t fake it though, just say the words with enthusiasm: “I want to be here and I care!”
In short, my livelihood could not depend on my ability to pretend I cared about corporate success. I was going to eventually lose that battle and I had no illusions about it. The stress of which was always present, and I feared I was getting ready to engage in some self destructive behavior if only to force something to change.
As this took its toll on me, it started to do the same to my family. I hated that my son saw me come home every day and knew that I didn’t want to wake up in the morning. Was afraid that he would pick up on my declining ability to find joy in anything, that this state of being was some intrinsic part of how the world worked and all he had to look forward to as an adult. You might think this all sounds like depression.
It isn’t…. it’s fear.
So, I had to do something, anything…
WHATEVER IT TOOK
…to escape. I had dreamed of writing my whole life, had the story of Jonathan Tibbs in my head for years. What I didn’t have was courage, follow through, or time. So I told courage to go play find and go #$%$#@ itself, and I found the follow through. Then I gave up the thing I had the least of… all my free time.
I worked all day, came home and wrote until I was exhausted. I gave up my weekends and sacrificed my health (seriously, had to stop exercising… gained thirty lbs). It took me a year and a half, but I finished The Never Hero. Now, almost another year and a half of working a day job and writing in my off hours has gone by while I tried to complete the sequel. My family has been lucky to see me for more than an hour a day for a long time now.
This may all sound like I’m publicly congratulating myself, but that isn’t it. I’m saying that if you folks hadn’t read the book, well, it would have been for nothing. I would still be trapped in that prison, only it would be worse, because I wouldn’t have an escape plan. Now, thanks to you, and the sacrifices of my family, I am pushing the big red button…
Hmmm, that red button metaphor has gotten pretty blurry at this point… basically I mean I can quit my job without screwing my family over and our house going into foreclosure.
As with most things, escaping a prison isn’t so simple as crossing your fingers and jumping the fence. My family and I had to save enough that we wouldn’t become homeless… at least long enough for me to get this series done.
Cough Cough… after that I am dependent on you good people again… but if you’ll keep reading, I’ll keep writing… No pressure!
Thanks to everyone who took a chance on an indie book and an author they had never heard of. I hope this post makes you understand how much I appreciate you. Because I can finally say it:
“I want to be here and I care!”
Of course, you may have only endured reading all of that because you wanted an update about the sequel. So the news is this: I now have 50 hours of my week freed up to work on nothing else. Still I think you guys deserve something at least slightly cooler than a, “Its about to get real ya’ll!”
I’ve had my cover artist cook up some awesome 1920 x 1030 Hi-Res Wallpapers based on the book covers. You’ll notice of course, that one of those is a cover reveal.
Now, I know this is kinda like turning your computer screen into a piece of promotional art for the The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs…
Um, wait… I’m suppose to contradict that statement now? …remember what my wife said about my lying skills?
Personally though, I’m using them to keep from getting distracted when I sit down to write full time on the 23rd… basically it goes something like this:
T’s Brain: Hey T. Ellery, want to watch some Netflix?
T. Ellery: Hey brain, that is an awesome idea! Let me just pull it up on the computer and… oh right. Nice try brain!
37 thoughts on “The Author, The Sequel, and the Wallpaper”
Love your book! You also just described my life trying to finish my dissertation. Thank you for helping me see there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Great news. Also, being able to fully commit to writing does enormous things for quality of the output, even though it demands discipline. (can only talk for myself)
The Never Hero is a great example of A Hero’s Journey, and how to use that framework to highlight personal struggles, fears, and challenges in ways that isn’t usually that obvious and relatable than most urban fantasy/sci-fi (that I’ve read)
I’m excited to see what you come up with as new challenges, and what answers the sequel will give to questions posted in the first book. The series has great potential.
As a fan of time travel/dimension stories, I have a question that I hope will be answered in the sequel:
(possible spoilers for The Never Hero follows:)
What stops Jonathan from explaining his situation to a friend, and then have them think about something they would only say if “the powers” were activated, so that after the event happens, Jonathan could use that phrase to prove his situation to that person?
Anyways, congratulations on this step, and the best of luck. I look forward to what is to come.
You’ve asked this before, its definitely a road I considered going down when I first started, but not within the confines of the first book. Here is a summation of my thoughts:
Nothing is ‘stopping’ him at the beginning of the first book other than his mind being focused on surviving one more battle. Given he lives through that confrontation and continues to do so further down the line there are a lot of things he could do to try and get people to believe him, and the sequel will play on this a bit (sorry not spoiling more than that).
Two problems with this though.
One, and this is the lesser of the two, is that a perfect plan in theory seldom plays out as expected in reality. Example: Put yourself in the shoes of one of his roommates. Jonathan tells you something he shouldn’t know, along side a tale that he otherwise has no evidence for. Remember of course, that leading up to this, Jonathan himself has seemed… rather off. Does the fact that he knew something he should not convince you (beyond a doubt) that the rest of what he is telling you is the truth? Now, really put yourself on the receiving end of that conversation, and not a TV scripted version, but imagine the experience of it playing out in reality. Speaking for myself, I would be skeptical, concerned about my friend’s sanity, defensive about whatever information he had and how he had really gotten it, and possibly worried that I was being pranked. Yes, if he was repeatedly able to pull random secrets from thin air, you may eventually come to believe him, but it wouldn’t be so simple as being right about something once.
Two, and this is really the more important one, knowing what Jonathan knows by the end of the first book, he is wise enough not to want his friends to know. He can’t protect them from a government cell, he can’t protect them from the end of the world, all he would be doing is giving them some of his mental burden, and once they knew, he may have inadvertently destroyed their lives by making them accomplices. He knows it would be selfish, and possibly harmful to do so — UNLESS — there is something his friends can do that might help.
Hope that helps, I know its been bugging ya for awhile. All this being said, I do think you’ll enjoy the sequel because you are thinking about the problems and possibilities that come from this situation. Don’t want to spoil anything though 🙂
Proud of you son, a great man once said that if you have a passion for something go for it. He also said that if you have to work then find that vocation that you love then do it and you will never have to work the rest of your life. I am proud to say that having watched you for years now that you are passionate about your family and your writing and that is a great thing. You are a very good writer and a very good family man and for that I am very thankful. May you always find peace in both and keep up the faith to do what you feel is right for both of your passions.
Reading this was like being inside my own brain four years ago. I was also born in 1981, and also had a point around age 28 or 29 when I realized my office job was completely unsuited to whatever core of my essence made me a true human being and gave me a self-identity. So I went from being a lawyer to being a part-time nurse. My parents were concerned. My wife was supportive. And I’ve been so damned happy, feeling like I make a true difference in people’s lives and do something worthwhile with my time.
So, all I can say is congratulations. You did it. It may be rocky for a while, but not forever, and there are a lot of things besides money that make life rich. Many, many things.
I’ve probably read over 500 sci-fi/fantasy books in my life. Most of them, I read and I think, “Alright, that book was fun. Interesting story, and some cool world-building and plot twists. Nice.” Then I move on to some other book and never really look back. By contrast, I thought about your book for months after I read it, and constantly re-listened to the audiobook, etc. Very few books get into my head like that. In my humble opinion you’ve got “it,” that spark of talent that can turn a good book into an amazing book. Going full-time as an author is probably the best choice you could make. 🙂
Thanks so much for your comment. I read it last night, sitting in my driveway once I got home from work. Being honest, I was rather moved by your support in that second paragraph… okay okay I didn’t cry or anything. Still, given the cliff I’ve just jumped off, it was a very comforting thing to read. Its also, I imagine, what a lot of authors dream about hearing from a reader. I found your choice of words very familiar to my own thoughts. I remember a long time ago, I saw the movie Vanilla Sky. While I was sitting in the theater, I wasn’t that impressed with it. It was long, I was younger and my attention span was shorter. But, In the end I came to the same conclusion you put down. I found myself thinking about the movie for weeks afterward. I realized that this had become my new measuring stick. The question by which I judged a story’s quality from then on out:
How long does my mind linger on it after I’ve seen/read the conclusion?
I always wished there was a category for films like Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind, Inception, Vanilla Sky, or the Matrix. I think of them as Mind-Bending, or Cerebral Thrillers, or Psychological Fiction (Psy-Fi?) Anyhow, if there was a genre reader I set out to write The Never Hero for, it would have been this unnamed genre.
Thanks again for your kind words!
Those are also my favorite types of books, I’m only 16 and I think I’ve read hundreds of books and my favorites are these, a good example is the Pathfinder series I just read, all in all, keep doing what you’re doing. It’s amazing.
Congratulations. I understand the dilemma. My father was depression-era… any job was a good job and you kept it because there was a chance, somehow, that you would never find another job, etc. At the same time, my father was a thoracic surgeon and if we had told him that his job required him to spend 20 hours each week cleaning vomit off the emergency room floor, he would have thought that it wasn’t a good use of his time or his training. That tension is difficult to resolve… how much do I do what I do to bring in income and at what point do I have the option to try to do something I actually enjoy… Do I have the luxury of trying to find work that I find challenging or interesting or dare-i-say-it fun? Tempus is fugiting and time isn’t fungible, even if we are 🙂
Good luck with your full-time writing. I’ll buy the next book in the series, whenever it comes out… if it’s as good as the first book, I’ll buy the third, recommend it to my friends, and so on.
Thank you for your comment! You have, of course, hit the nail on the head. When I decided I was ready to leave the security of a regular paycheck, I had to ask the question: How long can I sustain my family on what we’ve saved if the series never earned another dime? My wife and I had to make sure we budgeted enough for at least seven months. Long enough to finish the sequel, pay the editor, the audiobook producer, the cover artist, and do the marketing, while still paying the mortgage. That, and if the sequel bombed… how long would I have to create and implement a financial plan B. Hope for the best but plan for the worst possible turn of events… like what if Amazon/Audible were to (THE HORROR) go bankrupt tomorrow? It was a lot more complicated than a spreadsheet calculation 🙂
Anyhow, thanks so much for reading and sharing with your friends! Your support is greatly appreciated and I’m doing everything I can to make sure the sequel pleases!
-Just want to drop in and say The Never Hero is #@#$#@# amazing, I have now listened to the audio book twice. (My job allows me to listen to anything for hours and hours on end :)) I had just recently come across it in December 2015.
-I was born in 1992, and right about the time I really started to take an interest in reading, Harry Potter exploded! Needless to say I was immediately sucked into the universe, and have been a loyal fan ever since. I, and I am sure countless other hp kids, have been searching for a story that could grab my attention like hp did ever since. It sounds silly, but when I come across a book worth loving, I get pretty emotionally involved, and I have not been able to find anything that could bring back the sensation hp did. That is until I found The Never Hero. I simply can not wait to see where you take it from here.
-I sincerely hope you get as big as this great title deserves. The entire world should be captivated by the first story already. Honestly I can’t believe I ever rooted for a kid who waved around a flimsy stick, once I found a bad a$@ with a demo bar. Luckily I won’t have the wait your other fans will with the sequel, I guess there’s a good reason to stay behind the times after all.
-Finally I do have a question, and I realize you might not even have a clue considering you don’t have a release date for the book, but any idea how long the audio book will take to be released once the book is on the shelves? I don’t really have the time to read in my busy schedule, but luckily I can multitask and listen while doing the job. I suppose if I have to I will make the time if I can’t hold off for the audio book, maybe.
-p.s. If you tell anyone I admitted to an infatuation with Potter, I’ll make Sickens The Fever look like a looney toon.
Being compared to Harry Potter is going to go straight to my head 🙂 Thanks so much for your kind words. Whenever the book resonates with a reader it sets a piece of my self-consciousness temporarily at ease. Every writer wants to tell a story that readers can relate to, but in the end they have to write the book that they themselves would want to read, its the only measuring stick we have until Beta readers can give us some feedback, and you never know what the reaction of folks is going to be. I guess I am saying I appreciate your words a lot, and I will do everything in my power to make sure that The Never Paradox is as engaging as The Never Hero.
In answer to your question, I am going to try to get the Paperback, eBook, and Audiobook all out on the same day (within the constraints that Amazon and Audible can accommodate). I’ve talked it through with Steven Barnett, and he is as committed as I am to getting the project done. My hope is that, as soon as the final finished draft of The Never Paradox is ready, I can put the eBook up for pre-purchase on Amazon for about six weeks. In that time period, Steven will have a month to do his thing. I have faith that we can accomplish this because he was very familiar with what I wanted after the first book. By the time we were getting to the final chapters I hardly had any changes for him. After that there is a 2 week quality control check that Audible runs the book through. I am gonna have to keep a lot of balls in the air for a bit, maybe bribe some Amazon/Audible employees or some such, but I really want to make it happen. Hope that answer satisfies 🙂
I feel like such a chump. I read Never Hero over a year ago and have been wondering impatiently where the sequel was, like a dufus; not even really considering that you have a life, family and responsibilities besides keeping me entertained in my downtime (I have six kids myself so there isn’t much of that). After finding you online and reading this update I am wanting to punch myself. So I thought I would drop you a note representing all of the losers out here who like me were expecting too much too soon without regard for….well, life. Sorry, man. My patience has been renewed and I look forward to the next book. But, seriously, hurry up because the kids are making me crazy.
I appreciate your comment. Don’t worry Bro, No hard feelings 🙂 In a lot of ways, there is no better measuring stick for this decision than reader’s impatience for the sequel. I mean, yes, there is a balance. I try and take the positive response to the first book as evidence that my time isn’t wasted writing for an audience I wasn’t sure existed in the beginning. But at the same time, not let that impatience rush me to publish something less then the very best I can do.
Knowing that anticipation for the sequel is strong is a good feeling. It was a heavily waited factor in choosing to go ‘Full-Time’ writer. I just hope people hold on to that ‘anticipation’ while I snail crawl my way across the finish line 🙂
A long time ago I wrote to you expressing my fears that, an an older reader, I might not be around to see the series finished. You informed me I did not have your leave to die until you were done. Funny how things work out. In the last week we’ve lost Rickman, Bowie and Frey — all of whom were younger than I. I was looking at a photo of a run my Motorcycle Club did a few years ago. Of the 12 Brothers in the picture, 6 are now gone.
So, I guess I should say “Thanks”. This old boy from Elk Grove (yes, THAT Elk Grove.) keeps hanging on. Maybe it’s all about your books… 😉
Wow, Elk Groove, not far from where I grew up. What was the name of your motorcycle club? My dad used to ride with a group that, if I recall correctly, was based out of a Harley dealership in that neck of the woods. Unfortunately he had a stroke a few years back and can’t ride anymore. I don’t remember the name of his ‘chapter’ if you will, but I’ll ask him next time we talk.
Yup. Knew you were a Sacramento native, so I phrased it as I did,,, Anyway, I’m sure your Dad was in HOG (Harley Owners’ Group) as that’s the only group based at Harley dealerships. My Club is the FreeMasons’ Motorcycle Club. It is a Club of Free Masons (actually Master Masons only). We have about 2,000 members world wide.
Oh, and since I last posted we’ve lost two of the original Jefferson Airplane.
Hmmm…. Don’t rush? LOL…
Congrats on pulling the plug! I can somewhat relate – the only day job I ever really wanted was the one I couldn’t get, so I ended up working in callcenters instead. I’ve been keeping an eye on the Never Hero in the Kindle store and am super excited to see it’s still doing well. Best of luck with the new book! Well, actually, you don’t need luck. You have a gift, and I’m 110% sure you’ll keep doing great. 🙂
Good to hear from you! I visited your blog, looks like you’re almost ready to release! Make sure you let me know, I’m looking forward to reading the final cut… and I actually have time for things like reading these days 🙂
Hey! Thanks for stopping by. I was actually just about to update my blog – I’ve finally settled on a release date during the first week of May. The first book will be 100% edited, proofread and formatted in a few weeks, the second one sometime in April. Thanks for the offer, I’ll be in touch. Until soon!
Hey Todd! The release date for Anathema: Transition is fast approaching, and I’d still very much like to offer you a copy. Do you have a contact email? I don’t use Facebook (yes, I’m one of THOSE people…) but I’ll probably be okay with whatever delivery method you prefer. You could always send Jonathan over to come pick it up. 😉
If you shoot me an email at email@example.com, I promise not to sell your email address to adoring fans. Talk to you soon! 😉
I read a few hundred books every year and very very few of them go into the recommend to others pile. Yours quickly sorted to the top after having read it, so i’m happy for you and look forward to your future works.
*has semi-brief moment of sympathy/empathy/sadness and all that gushy stuff
“If God(s) are/is real, thank you for the blessing you hav given me this day.”
But seriously, I wish you the best, hope for a kinda quick sequel, and prepare for the world to end. I don’t know if I am supposes to be sad about all the difficulties you wnet through, happy your moving on, or really happy the mext book will be quicker. So I have decided to attempt all three… I am calling it very hasady, and think it’s the correct emotion.
congratulations. i am very glad you are full-time now. i am really looking forward to the next book.
All I have to say is hurry up with the next book so I can give you some more of my money. Haha
Good job man. One question, I DO want to support you and your book. However, I use kindle unlimited and don’t know if you recieve any feedback. For example, does the number of people who have read or bought your book still go up? And do you still receive any monetary support from people like myself who download using unlimited? If not, I will change my ways for books that are worth it, and I believe yours is.
Thanks for reading! Appreciate your desire to support the series as well! I do get paid when folks read the book through kindle unlimited. An author makes about $.0041 per page read. I’m not sure if this applies if a KU reader re-reads the book. I have two email lists. One is called “The Never Army,” this is the list for people who only want to hear about product announcements. The second is called “Never Army Insiders,” and is for people who want to be more directly involved in the series. You can sign up for the Insiders list here: http://theneverhero.com/never-army-insiders.html
If you would like to join the insiders list, I’ll forward you an email that was sent out yesterday, it contains information about the sequel and ways readers can assist with getting the word out. Thanks again for your interest! Really appreciate and help I can get!
Hi, I just wanted to tell you how much I truly enjoyed your book!! To be honest, I had it in my wish list for a little while before buying for both audio and kindle versions!! I wanted to tell you about a part that really moved me. It was when Jonathan was having a hard time getting out of bed in dealing with his issues from the attack. He had said something about his father telling him just to get both feet on the floor! Ever since I read the book I’ve been using it as a way to get myself out of bed every day I just tell myself to put both feet on the floor. I know it might sound silly but it has worked for me. I guess it’s the little things or the things you’re not expecting from a place you’re not expecting them that can help change your life! So, I guess what I’m trying to say is thank you for showing me a way to live again☺
So glad that this resonated with you. Doesn’t sound silly at all, I get it 🙂 This was something my father used to say to me. I remember it back as early as being a teenager needing to get out of bed for school but repeatedly hitting the sleep button.
“Sit up, turn, and put your feet on the floor.”
As the years went by and I left home — starting to deal with life’s real spirit breaking stresses, the type you can’t yet appreciate when you are younger — I saw how helpful the simple words were when you don’t want to face another day. Luckily, I was never sleeping in a bunk bed 🙂
Thanks so much for your comment and thank you for reading!
Hello! i just would like you to know that i have tried to spread your book far! as of right now i know of 5 people that have read it and had the same thoughts as i have. this book isn’t just good or great but amazing! i have read 10-15 books since i last read the Never Hero and i find myself uninterested in the book or lacking clever structure like yours! this has become my measuring stick (as you referenced in Alex’s comment). it is not the bottom of the stick but when i know a book has achieved true thought provoking content! by far the best read i have had in a while! i am almost scared at times to reread some of my previous favorites and have the pail in comparison. i LOVED the development of the characters and the emotion given! i do also feel i need to comment about how much i liked the audio reader! thank you again for jumping off the cliff! it must have been terrifying but on my end i thank you! you have a supporter with me!
Thanks for reading and supporting the book! It is so awesome to hear and I really appreciate the comment, especially as I try to get the sequel finished. I hope that the issues faced by the character’s and the decisions they make in The Never Paradox will resonate with readers like the first book. I can’t thank you enough for spreading the word!
Your book is by far one of my favorites!! I love your style of writing and am looking forward to the sequel? Any time frame on that next book? 😆
Hi Jack! So glad to hear from you! My current time frame on the sequel tends to be a moving target. I’ve been thinking of posting a blog entry regarding my efforts over the last few weeks to update everyone, so stay tuned for that. Rest assured though, I am working hard to get across the finish line… I swear that line is running away from me on purpose sometimes, but I’m still gaining ground every day.
I imagine me as a small mouse running with you because there’s cheese at the end, inspiring for entirely selfish reasons.
It’s been a while since I read the never hero and I keep finding myself thinking about how amazing was the experience of reading it.
I’m from Brazil and it would be great if you published your work here, translated to Portuguese. I’m sure it would be a huge success!
Thank you for writing this masterpiece, and please take your time to finish the sequel…(HURRY PLEEEASE..) hahaha…just kidding.. 🙂
I apologize if your comment was a well-meaning joke but it read a little too troll-ish for me to approve for the blog. Actually, I am giving you the benefit of the doubt here, assuming your comment wasn’t meant to be… well… dick-ish? So, gonna reply as if it really could have gone either way.
If that wasn’t your intention, don’t sweat it. If it was… well, you’re probably familiar with what they they say about feeding the trolls. (yeah… there is irony, I get it)
If you’re interested in the sequel progress, don’t worry, I work on The Never Paradox every day (was at it for three hours before reading your inspirational comment this morning).
While I appreciate your impatience, please know that no degree of– er, Red Forman like tough love?–is going to make the book release any sooner. I want TNP to be everything I hope it can be, and that means revisions, and beta readers, and more re-revisions. Its not a fast process and is very difficult to predict how long it will take. If that means I have to push out the release date, its worth it in the short term. Publishing something that could have been better would just be a lesson in regret.
Hope this finds you well (I think),
T. Ellery Hodges
Dude, what the hell is wrong with you? He just made a huge decision,and you immediately go to see a therapist? Wtf!?
any updates? i have now gone through the Never Hero 3 times! haha love this book!