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Overly Sarcastic Productions

So, about a month ago, I asked Red & Blue from Overly Sarcastic Productions if I could sponsor an episode of their Youtube Channel.

I’ve been a fan of their content for about six months. If you’ve never checked them out I recommend it!  If you enjoy The Chronicle Of Jonathan Tibbs, you’ll love Red’s segment: Trope Talks.

Basically, If Collin and Hayden stopped arguing, combined their nerd powers for good, and formed some sort of nerd Voltron, Red would still defeat them in a battle of…

uh… making literary observations and gleaming insights while using pop culture reference to support your point.

See, I get why they just call it “Trope Talks” now.

Anyway, Red would be like nerd Godzilla in this analogy.

Wait, did that check out?

Okay… I did a strong minute thirty of internet research and it turns out there isn’t an easy to google consensus on who would win in a fight between Godzilla and Voltron.

I’m just gonna move on now…

Anyhow, turned out that Red was already working on an episode of Trope Talks titled: Saving The World. 

So, I was like…

“Yes! Yes please! That one! The Never Hero would like to be the proud sponsor of that episode! No, no, don’t need to see the rest of the list, That is the one!”

I’ll stop talking know so you can enjoy the video. Big thanks to Red and Blue!

 

Observations On The Writing Process | Catalog Entry #451546217.23

As I’ve been working on the finale for The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs I’ve been repeatedly experiencing creeping productivity lows followed by surges.

This can be attributed to a number of different factors. A main one being that I now have a one year old that makes it harder than ever to get time in front of the keyboard.

That said, there are things happening in the actual writing this time around that I haven’t had as much trouble with in the past. I’ve always had the basic foundations for the book in my head.  Sure, edits have been made here and there along the way as I wrote TNH and TNP, but the fundamental story has not changed. Still, every writer will tell there is often a wide gap between how a scene he/she imagined will play out and what actually happens once they start putting the words down.

In the past, if I couldn’t get what I wanted out of a scene, I didn’t let it shut me down. If a chapter wasn’t working I’d go onto the next. Sometimes the very act of skipping ahead would jar lose the answer I needed anyway. Then, I could go back to whatever section wasn’t quite working and fix it.

This hasn’t been a real option on the finale.

This (hopefully) being the final book in the series, certain plot lines have to come to pass at certain moments. I haven’t been able to skip ahead with much confidence because  I need to see the reality of how a scene worked its self out  as opposed to how I’m hoping it will.

More specifically, I need to know exactly what characters A, B, C, and D know, where they are, and what condition they’re in, before writing the next scene. The ability to assume that the natural progression of the story will get them where I need them in the condition I imagined is a bit more of a gamble.

Of course, I’m only really ‘gambling’  with my time, but as I mentioned–time isn’t as abundant as it once was.

This is all to say I’ve noticed a pattern in the writing lately where certain key scenes lead me into week long periods where I try to tinker the words into working before I finally see the answer, realize I’ve gone about it all wrong, and then crank out the finished scene in a single day.  All the writing that came before doesn’t necessarily go to waste, as it still influences the final version, but man… those treading water periods take their toll on the spirit.

Yes, its always worth it in the end. I re-wrote a scene yesterday that, again, hadn’t been working for weeks before hand, and now it feels amazing to be able to figuratively stamp it: First Draft Done.

Lastly, don’t get to caught up on the whole Catalog Entry #451546217.23 .

Said catalog only exists in my imagination… and even in my imagination its highly unorganized, theoretical at best really. I mean its kind of like these scenes I’ve been talking about.

 

Gumshoe Hodges

The following took place after I spent two hours on the internet staring at women butts. For context, I was on a quest to help my wife find a pair of jeans to replace her favorite pair that she’d worn to death…

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  • Me: I give up! I can’t even find the brand or any sign that these damn things ever existed. All the labels have worn off and the only clue is the stupid lightning bolt embroidery on the back pocket. I’ve scoured the internet, looked all over the old pair for another clue, and typed a thousand different search term variations… I freakin give up!
  • Wife: The brand is ‘Jolt’… I told you that before you started…
  • Me: I thought you said ‘Bolt’, like Bolt of Lightning! Like the damn embroidery! Son of a…..! Wait, how did you even get that far? I’ve been at this for two hours and never even found a matching brand.
  • Wife: its printed on the buttons.

(long pause)

  • Me: …I would be the worst freakin detective ever.

Steps to Avoid Writing a Boring Passage

As I was working on book three today, I found myself thinking that the real challenge in writing a story comes down to the question: What to do with the boring parts?

Side note: I mean, its not boring to me, of course, but I get why readers could disagree.

So far, I’ve had a lot of fun writing exciting portions of the book, but inevitably, those scenes depend on their supporting context to make sense. That is when I break out my handy flowchart for dealing with the situation:

  • (1) Will readers find this passage boring?
  • (2) Does this passage need to exist? No really, does it?
  • (3) Yes? Fine! Creativity, you’re up, can you find a way to make this… not boring…
  • (4) Creativity? You’ve got nothing? Okay well, I guess I’ll just make the passage as short as possible… Turn it into a cliffnotes version of itself to cut its screen time.
  • (4) Okay, but even if I go with the ‘cliffnote’ option, where in the story will the readers be the most forgiving about having to endure this passage?
  • (5) Wait… wait… wait….maybe you should put this off  until later? I mean, you never know,  sleep on it and the creativity from step 4 might come through!
  • (6) Hmmm, I think step 5 is just procrastination trying to trick me.
    • (6a) If I’m being honest, isn’t writing this post just procrastination succeeding at tricking me?
  • (7) Can’t let procrastination win! I’ll write the passage and highlight it.  Don’t worry, it will ‘just’ be a place holder… At some point before publishing I’ll think of something better!
  • (8) Do not consider the possibility that step 7 is lying to you… introspection is not a friend to productivity right now.
  • (9) You know what, I am out of coffee, maybe I’ll go get a fresh cup and forget what I was doing by the time I get back…
  • (10) Return with coffee…begin at step 1

Updates

Since March I’ve been getting questions from readers worried that there is no planned third installment into The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs (TCOJT). If you fall in that group I want to relax your concerns. I’m working on the next book daily. I have an infant these days, so sometimes I only get butt-in-seat-typing time for twenty minutes, but I use it to move the project forward.

I have a working title for the next installment, but I’m holding off on announcing it for two reasons:

  • I’ve decided that, if TCOJT III starts heading upwards of 800 pages without feeling like I’m near the planned conclusion, I’ll need to seriously consider breaking the book in two. I am rather resistant, after having stated for years that I had planned a trilogy. Regardless, if this happened I would obviously need two titles and in that scenario my current working title might not fit either of the theoretical books.
  • I’ve learned my lesson from book two. If you don’t know, I was at one time, pretty sure that The Never Paradox was going to be titled The Never Trespass. During the revision process I felt the book should be more focused on the complexities of time paradox then it was on the many ‘trespasses’ that took place. So, I changed the title, and for months afterward, I saw people confused about what book was coming out. So… yeah… let’s not do that again.

Updates:

(1) The Never Store

The Never Store launched back in August. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you can here.

(2) Kindle X-Ray

Amazon has given authors more power to improve the reading experience of ebooks. If you have seen the X-Ray option in the kindle app when reading before you may already know what I am talking about. If you haven’t, the X-Ray option now allows me to go in and basically set things like a glossary of characters and terms that the reader can access while reading. This includes descriptions of characters as well as aiming Wikipedia articles to the appropriate content. For instance, if you didn’t know who Mr. Miyagi was when the name was dropped in The Never Hero, I can now actually select the appropriate Wikipedia information that will tell you about the karate kid character.Now, I know most of you reading the blog aren’t going to go reread the whole book for that…

“but wait… dares more!”

The new tools now allow me to put in commentary.  So, I spent awhile the other day putting in anything I thought was noteworthy about the characters. In other words, it is a lot like watching a movie with director commentary turned on now.

Anyhow, if you were ever curious about things like what inspired characters like Hayden and Collin, you can check it out in your Kindle App. Also, if you haven’t done so, I do recommend making sure you have the latest version of the ebook. It has been a long time since I’ve been notified of any errors in The Never Hero, as I always fixed them immediately if a reader was kind enough to let me know, but that doesn’t mean that the file you’ve have on your device is getting those updates. I recommend checking out this tutorial on how to check for updates and make sure all your ebooks are actually the most recent published version.

*Note, at this time I’ve only completed commentary for The Never Hero.

(3) Donuts Gaming

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Readers, I am going to abuse you– just this once, I promise–but its for nepotism! …er I meant… a good cause!

My oldest son, Luke, has always wanted to start a youtube gaming channel. For obvious reasons he has always found the idea daunting. So, in an attempt at being… I don’t know… a role model or something, I recently decided to help him. So, I’ve started teaching him what I know about video and sounds editing so he could learn to bring the production quality of the videos up.

Anyhow, if you happen to be a gamer, like gaming videos, or just want to laugh a bit, it would mean the world to me if you’d check out our first video. Hoping a few likes, comments, and subscriber will inspire him to put his creative efforts “all in.”

 

The Never Paradox – Audiobook and Paperback Editions Now Available

I know a lot of you have been waiting for The Never Paradox to be available on paperback or audiobook. Steven Barnett and I wanted to give both these formats 100%, and now that they are here we can’t wait to hear what you think! I am perpetually honored to have each of you as readers. I can’t thank you enough for your patience, support, and kind words!

Audiobook

Currently Available on:
Audible
Amazon
iTunes

Paperback

Currently Available on:
Amazon
Barnes and Nobles

Rocking Self Publishing Author Interview

Hi Folks! I was recently interviewed on the Rocking Self-Publishing Podcast.

I had a great time talking to Simon about the The Never Paradox and all that came between book one’s release and the sequel. We discussed the fans and beta readers who stepped up to see it through–and a few of you will recognize yourself in the stories.

Hope you enjoy! Follow this link to podcast interview!

 

The Never Paradox – Kindle Edition – Now Available

Today is the day folks!

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The Chronicles of Jonathan Tibbs
finally continue on Kindle!

Thank You! All of the readers out their who have supported the series, if it were not for you, this wouldn’t have been possible!

Updates On Other Formats

You will find a progress bar on the right hand side of the page that shows how far along each format is in the process. Below are some specific details.

Paperback: I am pending receipt of an LCCN number from the Library of Congress. Should be available to order soon!

Audiobook: Steven Barnett and I have passed the halfway mark recording The Never Paradox. If you missed it, there is currently a teaser chapter available on The Never Hero’s Facebook page and twitter feed.

Additional items of Note:

Want Amazon to notify you when new products are available from T. Ellery Hodges?

Follow this link, and beneath the dangerously handsome young gentlemen, who one can tell is quite modest from his elegantly presented photo in classic black and white, you will find a “Follow Me Button.”

Want to be told when T. Ellery Hodges is offering his books at ridiculously low prices?

Follow this link over to bookbub, and click the Follow button on the top right of page.

SEQUEL NOW AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER

Okay Folks, are you sitting down? This isn’t a drill! I’m normally a bit longer winded, but typing with one hand while burping a newborn tends to cut down one’s prose to an absolute minimum…

THE

NEVER

PARADOX

CHRONICLES OF JONATHAN TIBBS

Volume II

NOW AVAILABLE FOR

PRE-ORDER

Additional Details

Release date is set for March 23rd! This edition will sell for $5.99 shortly after release date, but Pre-order early and get the kindle edition at a discounted $4.99 as a thank you for early ordering.

The question I’ve been getting most frequently since this news hit the interwebs: What about paperback and audiobook editions? When will they be available?

Right now, Steven Barnett (Narrator) and I are working hard to get both formats released on the same day as the eBook. I will keep you updated if we run into any challenges.

Challenges? I don’t know… like if Steven gets pneumonia or my hands get amputated.

Thanks again everyone for all your patience and support!

Baby X Has Arrived

Hi All,

I’ve been MIA the last few days, and a lot of you have likely guessed why.

My wife and I woke up the morning of January 6th to find her water had broken.  Regardless of what thirty years of sitcoms had me imagining this moment would look like, we operated like a highly trained team of Navy Seals with 9 months mission prep.

But… as every Navy Seal might tell…

“No Battle Birthing Plan Survives Contact With the Enemy Delivery.”

Okay, maybe zero Navy Seals ever said that, but here is the short version of what followed:

Our plan had been that, unless mom or baby were in danger, we wanted to try for an natural (intervention-less) birth. Unfortunately, two days of labor passed and Amanda was only dilated to 3 cms. Those who have gone through labor may already know, once the water breaks, there is an increased chance of infection for mom and baby with every cervical inspection as the clock ticks. We held out two days before trying to induce. In the end, we waited 4 days before allowing the doctors to perform a cesarean. Amanda, warrior that she is, refused and drugs up until that point.

Both mom and baby came through healthy and happy!  Xander was born Jan 9th.

Now, some of you know, I have a step-son, Luke, who was nine when I met his mother. Fewer of you know, that this last year I adopted another son, Tyler. Tyler has been a friend of Luke’s since third grade, and his mother passed away last year. I bring up all this because I cannot say that I have never been a father, but I have never been present for the birth of one of my sons. It was nice for me to find out that all that talk one hears about what they will feel in that moment isn’t some myth. What strikes me now, is that I feel as though I love everyone in my family more than I did before… a thing I’d be hard pressed to explain and wary to dissect.

Now, I promised myself I wouldn’t be like some ‘other’ parents and take a thousand pictures, each with a slightly different angle and facial expression, that no one but my wife and I would really see a difference between. Of course I failed to live up to that promise, but I have done my best to pick only a few favorites for the sake if this blog post.

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Amanda and Xander
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I’m telling you mom…it went on for Four freakin days!
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Working up to Blue Steel!
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Second Hand Sleep deprivation… it doesn’t just hit mommy and daddy!
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