There are ten books on this page. Three have actually been published and are available for purchase. (Click on the book’s cover photo and you’ll find yourself on Amazon.com.) Five have seen significant progress, yet somehow still have a significant ways to go. One is nothing more than an outline. And the last one just got started in March 2015. Here are all of them, then, in chronological order.
The Celdaran Tales
When I first realized I wanted to write, way back in 1993, I had one minor problem: I didn’t actually have an idea for a story. But after I spent fifteen long years building worlds, devising languages, and creating whole new civilizations, I found I still didn’t have an idea for a story. On the upside, I did have a name: The Celdaran Tales and a working title for the first volume, shown here.
Fortunately I’m not the type of person to let a little thing like “no idea for a story” stop me from writing this epic fantasy novel of epicness. That’s right. I’ve officially joined the ranks of thousands who’ve read one good book and thought, “Now I’m gonna write one! How hard can it be?”
Getting Results with MediaStudioPro 8
For nigh on a decade I spent all of my free literary time working on eight editions of two books on video editing. For a while I actually thought that this just might be my true literary calling. But over time, as the project slowly degraded from “exhilarating and thrilling” to “tedious and painful”, I wanted nothing more than to just get it over with. The book pictured here was the final edition and crown jewel of the series. It sold eight copies.
That said, I don’t want to sound like I’m not proud of it. This was the completion of a journey that began in 1996, when Ulead (the now-defunct company that produced the software) asked if I had any interest writing a book. As it turned out, I did.
Getting Results with VideoStudio 9
This is the second of the two aforementioned video editing books. It was released as a CD-ROM, with the book itself shipping as a PDF file along with all the sample material required to complete the tutorials.
To be honest, writing technical books is a treadmill. Just when you pop the champagne upon the completion of a new edition, a new version of the software comes out a month later and you start all over. I therefore finally decided to write a book with significantly more shelf-life (and hopefully a broader audience): the “diet” book listed below (which sold twelve copies).
Why Your Last Diet Failed You and
How This Book Won’t Help You on Your Next One
This is my last published book. It looks like a diet book. It’s not. You should buy it. It costs only a little more than a movie and it lasts a lot longer. It’s the heartwarming story of how one man (namely me) lost seventeen thousand pounds in just 192 months and then gained it all back last Thanksgiving. You’ll laugh. You’ll cry. You’ll put it in your next garage sale.
The book is part memoir, part informational, and all good fun. Plenty of people who’ve never been on a diet in their whole lucky lives have enjoyed reading this self-deprecating, feel-good romp. If you’d like to know more about it, I won’t ramble on about it here. Instead, I recommend visiting Amazon.com to buy a copy. The Kindle edition is only $2.99 so you have no excuse. (If you don’t have a Kindle, you can download the Kindle app for just about any device.)
Since the epic fantasy novel was going nowhere slow, and I had had my fill of non-fiction, I decided to change gears. With the release of my diet book and the other blog, I found I had a pretty good voice as a humor writer. So in the summer of 2008, I decided to combine these forces and create a light, humorous, and entertaining fantasy novel. It wouldn’t try to avoid clichés, it would embrace them.
But a funny thing happened to me on the way to the manuscript. The story wasn’t funny. And I don’t mean that like, “I was trying to be funny and it wasn’t.” No, for some strange reason, it suddenly turned serious again. But in a good way. Unfortunately, like so many other books-to-be, it hit a wall after 123,000 words and I just couldn’t get past the fact that it was boring. (I’ve heard that’s the kind of thing that can hurt sales.)
In August 2010, fed up with Tenner Heed, I decided to try something completely different. I’m not ready to talk about all the details, but in short, the basic plot line goes something like this: a guy named Frodo finds out he’s a wizard at the tender age of eleven. So his father, who is actually Darth Vader, decides to teach him how to be a Jedi. But just as he’s about to graduate, he realizes he’s lived his entire life in a computer-generated simulation. You’ll love the twist ending which has nearly nothing to do with him waking up in his bed at his farmhouse in warm sepia tones.
In August 2011, fed up with Winter’s Gate, I decided to try something completely different. (See a pattern yet?) The astute reader might also notice that the name of this book exactly matches the name of this blog. But the blog came first, so what gives? Well, I first came up with the name Elsewhither as a placeholder for another failed project, but then decided to use it for this blog. However, shortly after this particular book idea came up, it suddenly hit me: THIS is the project that gets that name. Trust me, it will work. And the book’s premise? Well, what if a kid really did dig a hole all the way to China?
Project Update: Check out the work in progress. Here is Chapter One.
Still getting nowhere on any of the above novels, I had the idea in May 2013 of writing a book about a writer who can’t get his book published but is offered an extraordinary opportunity for getting a second chance at doing so. He believes it’s his destiny to write a book that will change the world. Unfortunately, it’s not entirely clear to him which world he will be changing. Just at the point where he’s ready to give up completely, a chance encounter with an old man in a book shop changes his life forever. The old man gives him a nudge in the right direction, however, the real work is still up to Ronald.
Underhaven Book 2
This book doesn’t have a title yet. In fact, I haven’t even started writing it. But it does have a backstory and a solid, if high level, outline. It has something else too: a place.
Waaaaaaay back in 1993, like others of my ilk, I got this itch to write an epic fantasy novel. It wasn’t until 2001 or so that a concept finally coalesced. That concept is the above-mentioned Celdaran Tales. I had a lot of material and backstory for that book, but the story itself never really came together like I wanted. Further, I had two distinct endings in mind, and couldn’t choose between them. Soon, I dropped it to work on non-fiction.
In June 2014, as I was working on Elsewhither, an idea struck me like…uh, like a thing that strikes people. It suddenly hit me that my Elsewhither story (set in 1864) could take place in the same geographic setting as The Celdaran Tales (set 8,000 years earlier). I got excited and as I began to think this through, I realized the reason I had two endings for The Celdaran Tales was because it contained two different stories.
Long story short, by October 2014, I had detailed outlines for The Celdaran Tales (itself now further developed than it had ever been), Underhaven Book 2 (set halfway between TCT and EW), and Elsewhither. They all share the same geographic setting (which I’m calling Underhaven) and the same backstory. I’d love to talk more about it, but I’ve already said too much.
This is my first non-fiction book since Why Your Last Diet Failed You. I made a very brief and half-hearted attempt at writing this in 2014. However, on March 18, 2015 I rebooted the project and this is officially my only manuscript-in-progress at the moment.
It will be short: likely 30,000 or fewer words. It will be funny: like the diet book. I am, in fact, treating it as the sequel to that book. And that’s all I want to say about it right now. Except that I’m expecting this one to go pretty quickly. This will be available in 2016.
I know my batting average doesn’t look good (0.300), but I don’t let this get me down. (Well, most of the time I don’t.) It will feel good to get “Current Project” done, just to get my average up to 0.400. After that, I’m going to finish Elsewhither, but I have a ton of worldbuilding to do still. On the upside, I enjoy that. On another upside, it’s really good (even necessary) to make a rich, realistic world. On the downside, it just takes more time. On the upside, though, since I’m now using the same rich, realistic world for three of these books, two of them will benefit from all the work put into one. And I’m okay with that.
Check back here at least once every year or so for another exciting update. Odds are you’ll find another new book idea on here. There goes my batting average.