Monday, March 31, 2014

10th Annual Art Affair on the Square Invitation

I've been invited again this year to participate in the Art Affair on the Square, to be held in Urbana, Ohio on July 19th.

I will be one of a half dozen authors, invited by the Champaign County Library to represent the Literary Arts at the event.

Specific times and additional details will follow.

Hopefully the weather will be more cooperative this year. Last year offered heavy and extended thunderstorms that ran through the middle of the day's events.
Last Year (2013) at about 11:30 am

Monday, March 24, 2014

Participating as a Panelist

If you have a moment, check out my guest post over at Myself as Written where I discuss how to prepare for and what to expect while participating as a (literary) panelist.

Link: Participating as a Panelist: Guest Post by Terry W. Ervin II

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Review of Relic Tech at Two Ends of the Pen

Two Ends of the Pen reviewed Relic Tech, giving it 5 Stars.

Click on over and see what they had to say that earned its good rating:

Review: RELIC TECH (Crax War Chronicles) by Terry W Ervin II

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Audible Rankings

` is one of the main outlets for the audiobook versions of my novels with Genre Shotgun, my short story collection, in production and should be released later this Spring.

One of the features on Amazon, which owns Audible, is the novel ranking feature. Audible has this feature as well, but it's not listed next to titles and has to be searched selecting the category of an audiobook, selecting 'All Best Sellers' in that category and clicking through page by page.

Titles can also be searched by author, narrator, and publisher to determine their rank within that category.

I was curious and decided to take the time necessary to discover that as of Friday, March 21st:

In Sci-Fi: Contemporary, Relic Tech ranked 326 of 3339

In Fantasy: Epic, Blood Sword ranked 739 of 2045
                                     Flank Hawk ranked 1088 of 2045

If you might be interested, the links to my works, in their various formats, can be found along the left column of my blog.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Working Title for Relic Tech's Sequel

Those who follow my writing probably know that with Soul Forge submitted to my publisher for editing, I've focused on writing the sequel to Relic Tech.

One of the things that helps keep me focused as I move forward is a novel's title. Normally it stays the same from beginning to end for both short stories and novels...except for Flank Hawk and "Seconds of Eternity."

In any case, the second installment in the Crax War Chronicles will be titled Relic Track, unless something better or more appropriate is struck upon. My concern is that the working title of the second novel may be too similar to the original.

An important aspect with respect to titles is branding (and the cover design/art) and having a title that hints at the contents. Also, it seems with my novels, two word titles are it, so to speak.

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Relic Tech 'Also Bought' with Luke Daniels

For those who follow such things, if your novel or audiobook gets placed on the 'also bought' listings below a popular title, it offers visibility, which translates to potential readers/listeners having the opportunity to notice and consider a reading/listening to a novel that they otherwise my never have come across.

It's advertising that can't be bought, but is worth a lot with respect to visibility. Relic Tech, the ebook version did very well with this on Amazon's Kindle, although it has faded from the first page of  'also bought' thumbnail listings. However, the audiobook version of Relic Tech has caught on and is appearing on the 'also bought' listing for a number of popular titles.

A neat one Relic Tech is paired with is a SF novel read by Luke Daniels, narrator of the Iron Druid Chronicles, which I discussed in a previous article. You can see here: Kevin Hearne and Luke Daniels: A Great Pairing for the Iron Druid Chronicles

How does one's works appear in the 'also bought' listing? There is very little an author/publisher can do, other than to write a darn good novel and do whatever can be done to provide an initial kick start upon publication. Then, it's up to the readers--their preferences, and if your novel tends to match those preferences as demonstrated through similar purchases. Thus, there's some timing and promotional efforts that can be done by the author and publisher, but really it's the Amazon/Audible algorithms and reader/listener preferences, combined with some luck, that make the difference.

I believe a good cover and title can help too. Maybe name recognition, (but I don't think that I have that).

I just found it pretty interesting and cool to be paired with Luke Daniels, even if indirectly.

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

The Second Novel in a Series Again

With Soul Forge submitted to my publisher for editing, I've begun working on the sequel to Relic Tech, the second novel in The Crax War Chronicles.

Relic Tech was the first novel I'd written. Back in 1998, I sat down and decided that I was going to
My Publisher, Gryphonwood Press
write a novel. I taught myself, basically by reading and studying other novels. I picked up a 'how to' book by Orson Scott Card, but that really only gave me the very basics. I studied storytelling, pacing, characterization and much more by reading and rereading books.

Sure, being an English teacher, I knew the had a lot of experience in novel writing theory. But reading is different than writing. Reading is sort of like driving a car whereas writing is designing and building that car. While reading, I studied how the parts of other cars were designed and built, and how it all came together. I compared and contrasted different authors and their novels and their techniques, and applied what I learned to my own writing style and stories.

After I finished Relic Tech, I outlined the next novel in the series and wrote the first two chapters or so (after sending out Relic Tech to publishers). After the first two chapters and outline, I put those files away...actually I didn't open them up until two weeks ago--they hadn't been touched since 2003. I remembered a lot, but not everything, and I'm glad I did that the outline and first chapters. It's given me a running start.

Something to remember: Since then I've written another novel (Flank Hawk, which is actually my first novel that found a publisher) and two sequels to it (Blood Sword and Soul Forge) and about a dozen short stories. That also means I've learned a lot about writing, especially as I'd spent a year studying and learning how to write a sequel (detailed here: Writing a Sequel).

So, as I am working to get the sequel to Relic Tech under way--still figuring on that working title, as there's a lot that goes into a title--I am having to revise, which is proving both interesting and a bit slower than I'd like.

Still, I am making progress, and progress is a major part of the battle.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Flank Hawk and the Writing Process

Author Kim Smith posted my article on writing over at her blog.

If you've got a minute or two, click on over.

Link: Flank Hawk and the Writing Process

Saturday, March 15, 2014

Thougths Opposite of what I Wrote about in "Accelerated Justice"

This morning I was answering a couple of questions for the narrator who is producing the audiobook form of my short story collection (Genre Shotgun). The narrator's questions focused on the story "Accelerated Justice" where the main character gets wrongfully caught up in a near-future criminal justice system. In the story, artificially ageing those convicted is the accepted route to serving the sentence for their crime.

This morning I also came across this article, which takes an opposite perspective on the issue:

Could we condemn criminals to suffer for hundreds of years? Biotechnology could let us extend convicts' lives 'indefinitely'

Both my story and this article touch upon the issues concerning the purpose and the cost of punishments given to those convicted of crimes and, indirectly, what it says about us and a society that fosters such attitudes and beliefs.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Local Government Presentation 2014

Me, Kicking off the Presentation
Today was my second opportunity to speak to the government classes at the Upper Valley Career Center, where I work. My objective was to bring to life something that is only theoretical and seemingly distant to the 17 and 18 year olds. Sure, it's local government, but it's not something they tend to interact with, except possibly mayor's court after receiving a speeding or traffic violation ticket.

I can't say that every student was captivated by my discussion supplemented with a PowerPoint presentation. But most were interested, and filling out the question sheets provided by their teachers. Also, more than a few interesting and insightful questions were asked by the students.

The Social Studies Dept.
Left to Right: Mr. Smith (Student Teacher),
Mr. Ohler, Mrs. Roeth and Mrs. Flanagan
While talking about and relaying my experience as a member of the St. Paris Village Council kept me out of my classroom where I teach English, a fair number of those that attended my presentation were my students, and were afforded the opportunity to see me in a different light, wearing a different hat. Yes, I was still 'teaching' but the subject matter was a bit different.

I look forward to being invited to present to a whole new set of classes next year. We'll see what happens.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

I Just Thought this was Kind of Humorous

A couple of my students mentioned this video to me, and said it was really funny (and clean).

For those of you who've read Relic Tech, one of the secondary characters, Security Specialist Kent O'Vorely, did get training that was a little better than this ;)

Hope you enjoy it.

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Soul Forge: Sent to My Publisher for Edits

Today I finished the 4th draft of Soul Forge, the anticipated third novel in my First Civilization's Legacy Series and emailed the file to my publisher. It's now in line to be edited.

The novel ended up much the same length as both Flank Hawk and Blood Sword, about 128,000 words. I guess that says something about tales I write in that setting.

If things fall into place, including the editing, cover art, blurbs, etc., Soul Forge should be released by Gryphonwood Press in late May or early June.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Relic Tech Now Available as an Audiobook

Relic Tech has been released as an audiobook, narrated by James Conlan.

Currently it can be obtained via and It should be available via iTunes shortly (I will follow up when this occurs).

I will say that James Conlan did an awesome job, and even added a few special features here and there to enhance the listening experience.

Current links where available:
Relic Tech at Audible
Relic Tech at Amazon