Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is finished!

EDIT: The Kindle edition is available for pre-order, and for just $0.99! But a week after it’s released on August 7, 2021, it will go up to its full price. Get it here:

 

 

You read that right! I’ve been working with my editor, K.H. Koehler, on it for the last couple of months, and it’s ready to go! She did a phenomenal job streamlining my prose. And I thought I was good at that!

Today, I’m preparing it for publication and pre-sales, with a release date of August 7, 2021! In just a few weeks, you’ll be able to continue your adventure with James “Bodacious” Creed.

What has he been up to since Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western? Where does he live? Is he still fighting for justice? You’ll learn all that soon.

 

cover reveal

 

Months ago, I commissioned Mark Reid Author Packages to create the cover for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. He not only came up with a wonderful design, he updated the typography, too. To keep a consistent design between books, I also used the same typography on the first book in the series, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western.

Here it is, the cover of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake!

 

I’m still preparing the book for presale in print and Kindle formats. Soon, I’ll find a reader and get the audiobook version completed, too. I’ll update this space when I have links.

Meanwhile, feel free to search for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake on Amazon, and to purchase Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western if you haven’t read it yet.

I did a ton of research for this novel, but once I had that done, it took about a year to write it. I expect to have the third book out in less time.

“What a miracle it is that out of these small, flat, rigid squares of paper unfolds world after world after world, worlds that sing to you, comfort and quiet or excite you.” ~ Anne Lamott

Second Draft Off to My Alpha Readers

 

All of you who read my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, should be happy to know that I have finished the second draft of the sequel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. I sent it off to my alpha readers, and as soon as they’ve read it and given me their thoughts, I’ll get to work polishing the book up. Once it’s just about done, I’ll have my beta readers give me their comments, then a bit more editing, then I’ll order the cover art and send it to my line editor. Next, I’ll publish it! My plan is to have it out in or around July this year.

And Now

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The third book in the series will be Bodacious Creed and the Frisco Syndicate. Since I’m now waiting for my readers, I’m starting the process of outlining the new book today. I’ve taken down another one of my Hero’s Journals for the new novel. I know I’ve mentioned before that I’ve begun using one for each book I write. Even though I’m only on Act 2 of the journal for Jade Lake, I am getting started on Frisco Syndicate. So, that means I’m on two quests at once.

 

I also have two short stories to write, at least, so I plan to get those done before my alpha readers finish reading that second draft of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake.

 

 

My Raffle Item 

 

I made this Bodacious Creed bust! I modified a Hero Forge miniature of Creed, printed it in resin, painted it, and now it’s up on one of my bookshelves.

When I sell books at future conventions, I plan to raffle off one of these. People will get tickets based on how much they spend on my books and whatever other merchandise I’m selling.

That’s it for today! I wish you the best in all your own creative endeavors.

Oh yeah, and if you haven’t read Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western yet, now’s a good time to get it with the sequel coming out in three or four months!

“Never trust anyone who has not brought a book with them.” ~ Lemony Snicket

 

 

A Facebook and Twitter friend of mine recently asked on one of her feeds, “What new hobbies have you gotten into during the pandemic?” I knew I wasn’t the only one who, not being able to go out as much, had found something new and fun to occupy my time, but I realized what a good question that was and enjoyed reading the various comments.

You may ask, “Jonathan, what is your new COVID hobby?” Well, I’ve gotten into resin 3D printing. This ticks so many of my interest buttons. I love 3D stuff. Years ago I was into 3D photography, and later creating 3D art that pops when you put on the right sort of glasses. Later, I got my MFA in Animation & Visual Effects with a focus on 3D modeling. Plus, I’m a DND and TTRPG geek and have always loved miniatures. So, being able to print my own? Bring it on!

 

My Newest Printer

 

I got my first printer last November. I won’t hash or rehash it in great detail here, but while it printed just fine, when it needed a specific replacement part, I found it impossible to install. I think the company should have replaced the entire printer instead of a couple of individual parts, seeing how difficult it was for me to fix it myself with all these small parts, tight spaces, and short cords, but they wouldn’t do that. So, I got my newest printer from a different company.

My new printer is an Elegoo Mars 2 Pro. It’s a “mono” resin printer, which, in practical terms, means that it prints about two times faster and that the screen lasts about four times longer before needing to be replaced. And yes, I researched how to replace the screen and other parts when necessary, and it looks far easier than my last printer, like something I can actually do.

I got it last Thursday, and after doing three calibration prints to help me figure out the optimal settings, I printed this.

Resin 3D Print of Bernie Sanders in Mittens

Yes, it’s a cartoon version of Bernie Sanders in mittens! Bernie took about six hours to print, and the chair another five, and I absolutely love how he came out. By the way, this model is free on Thangs.Com.

Last night and this morning I painted him as well, and here’s how he looks.

Painted Bernie Sanders with Mittens Model

One fun thing about him is that he’s separate from the chair, so I can set him on a shelf or the edge of my desk if I want. This one is actually a gift for someone, though, and I’ll be sending it soon.

I’ve shown other figures I’ve made in past posts and in the newsletter, so I think that’s what I’ll share in this post. The point is, I’ve been really enjoying this hobby.

Yes, I’m still writing! That’s my craft, though, and craft > hobby. Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is coming along well and I expect to have it published in the second quarter of this year.

 

What is your new covid hobby?

 

I’d really like to know, what hobby or hobbies have all of you begun during this pandemic? What is your new covid hobby?

Yes, it has been awful. Far too many people have passed away or acquired long-term problems due to the disease. It’s disrupted the economy, causing businesses to shut down. It’s kept us from loved ones and been a stressor on us all.

That’s why I suspect many of us have taken up new hobbies, to deal with that stress. The thing is, that’s actually a silver lining on this storm cloud. You may have learned a new skill or discovered an interest that you’ll continue to enjoy even after enough of us have been vaccinated to go back to life resembling the old normal.

So, tell me about your hobbies! Feel free to post below or to email me at jonathan at jonathanfesmire dot com.

“No man is really happy or safe without a hobby.” ~ William Osler

 

Holiday Creativity Switch

 

 

I hope everyone had a good, safe November. Before COVID-19, I didn’t feel the need to wish people a safe month or year. I just assumed people would do their best to be safe, I guess. But now, we all have to be so careful to protect ourselves and our families. It’s getting worse out there, so please, please stay safe.

 

 

Thanksgiving

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I have a few things to share and figured I’d do that here! My son and I had a nice Thanksgiving at home. We got on Zoom with family and played Apples to Apples with everyone, so that was fun, and it almost felt like we were all sitting at the same table.

Writing & Art

Work on Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake is moving, but more slowly than I’d like. That’s because in November I started a new hobby that I’m using it to make Christmas presents this year.

Do you have a favorite type of art? While I love all sorts, I’ve always been drawn to things in 3D. That includes sculptures, 3D photography, and 3D modeling. (I do have an MFA in Animation & Visual Effects.) I also get paid every two weeks, which means that twice a year, I get an “extra” paycheck. Mine came in November, and with it, I got a resin 3D printer and various accessories.

I’ve been learning the ins and outs of it and have gotten it to print really well. I’m printing, and painting, miniatures for my family this year, which means my son, my parents, my brother and sister and their spouses, and my nieces and nephew. (I’m printing minis for other friends, too, but I can only paint so many!) This is taking up a lot of my time but is really fun.

Hero Forge also had a sale on 3D files recently, so I got a bunch for half price, including a lot based on characters from my series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. I figured I’d share a few here.

Yes, there are robots in my steampunk western world, though they’re accurately called “automatons” (the term “robot” wasn’t coined until 1920). In the Creedverse, they’re colloquially called “steelies,” at least in the western states. These steelies all appear within the first two books.

And here’s the murderous villain of Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, Corwin Blake. (I’ll be sanding a few areas before I paint it.)

Now, I’m just getting back into painting minis. The last time I did this I was in my 20s, so I’m really rusty. I know I’ll get better, and I also know that as far as the presents go, it is the thought that counts. Here’s one of the protagonist, James “Bodacious” Creed, with his special guns and his guitar. Faces are especially tough, but this is small and looks great on the shelf.

This weekend I have some work to do for my day job, and I plan to spend most of my time painting these gifts and working on Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake. I am more than 2/3 of the way through the second draft!

Get Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Apple, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson, and Vivlio. The 14-hour audiobook version is available on Audible, and you can get that for free with a new subscription. Then, you’ll be ready for Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake when it comes out in three or four months.

I’d love to know what you’ve been up to for November, and this month. Feel free to share in the comments.

“You can’t use up creativity. The more you use, the more you have.” ~ Maya Angelou.

 

I used to approach novel writing quite differently than I do now.

I would spend a lot of time on my first draft, making sure the story made sense, that everything fit together perfectly, that there were no inconsistencies with the character motivations, and so on.

It took me years to write each book.

All that stuff is still important. However, without realizing it, I was combining creating with editing. The balance was off.

 

Now: Writing Your Garbage Draft

 

This draft is about getting the story down.

I’ve covered how I approach writing a first draft–what I’ve learned to call a “garbage draft,” in this post. The garbage draft is all about getting the story down. If there are inconsistencies or characters do things that don’t make sense, that’s fine. After all, this draft is meant to be garbage! Currently, I can get a garbage draft of a 70,000 to 80,000-word novel done in about two months.

When it’s finished, that draft is a mess! But it’s a mess I can work with.

Now: Writing Your Second Draft

This draft is about getting the story right.

For me, the second draft is the toughest. That’s all right. That’s what writing your second draft should be. This is where I ensure that the story makes sense. I fix inconsistencies with the characters, plot, timeline, and setting. I also do my best to bring out the best in the story by enhancing what works and cutting what doesn’t.

I’m finding that this draft takes about as long to get through as the garbage draft. I have my series bible open as I go, not only so that I can double-check information, but so I can add to it. For example, I add to the timeline as I go, ensuring that I know when and in what order events take place.

While this draft is hard, it’s also fun. This book takes place in San Francisco in the 1870s, so it’s fair to say this process is like digging for gold.

It’s also tiring, hence the title of this post, “The Second Draft Blues.”

 

Now: Writing Your Third Draft

 

I expect that my third draft of Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake will involve additional story fixes, though they should be much easier. I’ll also begin to focus on polishing the prose. This draft should take half the time, or less, than the last draft.

Then, I’ll get the book to a few alpha readers. How I proceed with the fourth draft will depend on their comments and if I agree with them. Chances are, they’ll bring up things I missed that I need to improve upon, and they’ll have some ideas that I’ll respect, but not agree with.

If you’re also a writer, I hope this helps you get through writing your second draft!

Halloween on COVID

 

How was your Halloween this year? In a normal year, my son and I would have gone to Disneyland for a few hours. He would have worn a costume, we would have had some icecream, gone on the Haunted Mansion a couple of times, and probably trekked through Galaxy’s Edge. Instead, we stayed home. The Magic Kingdom is still closed though, as it should be until we get some kind of control over COVID-19.

I hope the rest of you had a fantastically frightening Halloween! Feel free to tell me about it in the comments.

It’s Time for NaNoWriMo

 

Are you participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) this year? Every November, thousands of people will write their own garbage draft of a 50,000 novel. It’s a personal challenge. Can you write a 50,000-word story in a month?

I’m not participating in it this year, since I’m in the middle of intense edits, but I’ll keep an eye on how others progress and draw inspiration to push forward on my own work.

While you’re here, sign up for my newsletter below! I send one out about once a week to share interesting news or to let people know when I’ve shared a new blog post.

Stories may well be lies, but they are good lies that say true things, and which can sometimes pay the rent. ~ Neil Gaiman

 

Miniatures for Worldbuilding

I know, I’ve been writing a lot about Hero Forge recently, but when I find something useful that keeps on giving, I want to share it. If something helps me with my writing or worldbuilding, I figure it can help others, too. I never would have thought I’d use miniatures for worldbuilding, but here we are.

Since robots exist in my steampunk western world, I decided to check out how they look on Hero Forge. I was surprised to see that they look a lot like how I imagine their Creedverse counterparts. So, I went ahead and created versions of Lucky and Dixie, the two automatons who guard the restaurant and brothel known as The House of Amber Doves.

I also splurged for the pro level on Hero Forge. Since I’m creating pretty much all of my huge cast of characters there, I figured I could use the additional capabilities, like close-up images, folders, and more. That’s what allowed me to create the portrait pictures, too.

Dixie

 

Lucky

 

Characters, Old and New

Maybe I can whet your appetite for Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western and its sequel, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, by sharing these characters. Even if not, if this inspires you to create miniatures or pictures of your own characters, I’ve done well. Here are some from the first book.

And here are some from the sequel. No spoilers, just something to get people excited for what’s to come.

Remember, you can sign up for my newsletter below to get updates on fun and helpful blog posts like this one. And Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western is available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Scribd, Angus & Robertson, and Vivlio.

“This tremendous world I have inside of me. How to free myself, and this world, without tearing myself to pieces. And rather tear myself to a thousand pieces than be buried with this world within me.” ~ Franz Kafka

 

Create and Color Your Own Gaming Miniatures

As you’ll quickly see if you peruse this blog, I love creating art based on my characters. I don’t draw very well, but I have other artistic skills that have allowed me to create portraits of characters like James “Bodacious” Creed, Anna Lynn Boyd, Jonathan Johns, and Rob Cantrell.

I even created miniatures, tabletop-gaming style, of those four and shared pictures a while ago. I used the Hero Forge site to do this. I’m in the process of painting them, although slowly!

Well, I learned from a dear friend yesterday that Hero Forge now has color options. Right now, that means you can create and color your own gaming miniatures on their site and take screenshots. You can order them in color as well, though they look different, so you’ll want to compare the look. If you decide to order physical miniatures, you can decide if you want their color versions or to paint them yourself.

Hero Forge has tons of options when it comes to character design and colors, including making major adjustments to poses and mixing your own colors.

Yes, I’m going to share those color versions of my characters today, right here. Enjoy!

Main Characters

Bodacious Creed Miniature

James “Bodacious” Creed is the protagonist of my novel, Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western, and the ongoing series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed. He’s a former U.S. Marshal who was murdered in the line of duty. Later, a woman retrieved his body and resurrected him, and now he fights for justice again.

Anna Lynn Boyd is the woman in question. Due to close past ties with Creed, and her brilliant scientific mind, she brought him back to life.

 

Supporting Characters

Jonathan Johns is Anna’s partner, both in the lab and in life. In his late teens, he left home and worked on the railroad line for two years before making it to Santa Cruz, California, where he met Anna.

Rob “El Tiburón” Cantrell is a bounty hunter who comes to Santa Cruz after the same outlaw who killed Bodacious Creed. The two find themselves at odds with each other as their investigations progress.

 

My D&D Character

 

I’m playing D&D again! Due to COVID-19, I’m playing online with a group of friends using Roll 20 and DND Beyond. So, I also created a miniature of my character, a tiefling warlock. Here she is.

Whether you order from Hero Forge or not, it’s a fun place to exercise your creativity and to create and color your own gaming miniatures. Have fun with it!

Want more interesting ideas about how to exercise your creativity, about science fiction and fantasy, or about art and writing? Sign up for my newsletter below!

“There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.” ~ Gary Gygax

 

A Behind-the-Scenes Peek at Jonathan Fesmire’s “Creedverse”

 

Last week I created a survey to ascertain what my readers do creatively and what they want to see in my newsletter and this blog. You can still take it here.

So far I’ve received dozens of answers and they’ve all been helpful. I’ve learned that many of you want to read more about writing and about steampunk.

So, this week, I created a video showing off my series bible for The Creedverse, the steampunk western world of my series that begins with Bodacious Creed: a Steampunk Zombie Western. 

You can visit The Creedverse yourself, but you won’t see everything that I, as the author, get to see and work with. Here’s a spoiler-free behind-the-scenes peek where you can get a good idea of just how expansive it has become. Check out character images and names, steampunk technology, maps, and more. Perhaps it will inspire you with your own writing or worldbuilding!

 

For more announcements like this, sign up for my newsletter! There’s a link in the right sidebar and the very bottom of this page.

“There is no winning or losing, but rather the value is in the experience of imagining yourself as a character in whatever genre you’re involved in, whether it’s a fantasy game, the Wild West, secret agents or whatever else. You get to sort of vicariously experience those things.” ~ Gary Gygax

 

The Teacher Will Appear

 

I’m an author, and I love writing. Years ago I learned that, whether I self publish my books or they’re traditionally published, I would have to do the majority of my own marketing. That’s a tough fact to integrate, especially after training myself to write good short stories and novels for decades. Suddenly, there was another skill I had to learn, a business skill, and I didn’t know where to start.

Over time I found a few teachers and got better at it, but I saw other self-published authors getting big and I wondered what they were doing differently. Finally, last January, at Pasadena Comic-Con, I met Russell Nohelty. The Theosophical quote says it best. “When the student is ready the teacher will appear.” I got to a point where I was ready for a lot more information, to launch my marketing forward, and I met the right teacher.

I bought two of his marketing books and later signed up for his online course, Build a Rabid Fanbase.

Who Is Russell Nohelty

 

 

 

 

 

 

Though Russell Nohelty is a popular and prolific writer of books and graphic novels, he may be best known for building audiences. He has a knack for figuring out how to accomplish difficult things and then teaching others how to do it. This is the case with his Write a Great Novel online course, which I reviewed last week, and is also the case with Build a Rabid Fanbase.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the case of the former, he teaches authors how to write faster and better. In the case of Build a Rabid Fanbase, he teaches authors and other creatives how to find their tribe and build a community that will purchase their books, art, and so on in perpetuity.

Build a Rabid Fanbase – What’s Covered

 

In advertising, it used to be enough to show a product and basically say, “buy this!” That’s changed during the Internet age. There are dozens if not hundreds of Facebook groups where people post advertisements for their books. I’ve tried these. I’m not convinced they result in any sales at all.

So, that’s not what you’ll get in this course. Here are some of the things you will learn.

 

  1. Getting into the right mindset. This is all about setting yourself up for success with strategic planning. Since taking this course, I revisit my strategic goals every month. This will help you set yours.
  2. Finding Your Ideal Customer Avatar. I’ve heard before about coming up with an ideal customer, but didn’t know how, or even exactly why, until I took this course. It’s an important step, and Russell shares some phenomenal tools you can use to accomplish this.
  3. How to Make the Perfect Product. So, you have a product already, and you’ve figured out who your people are. This will help you refine it, and come up with the next product.
  4. What Is a Sales Funnel? The idea here is to turn strangers into people who know who you are, them into people who like you, and them into fans. Russell covers the steps.
  5. The Importance of Your Email List. You’ll learn about Mailchimp and get other mailing list provider options, and you’ll also get a swipe file of an email sequence designed to get your fans more interested in your work.
  6. Scaling Your Funnel. This is all about growing your fanbase as large as you want it using the tools taught in earlier segments.

 

Pricing

 

Build a Rabid Fanbase costs $497 for a one-time fee, 3 payments of $185/month, or 6 payments of $93/month.

For me, this class was absolutely worth it. It has me on the right track and has helped me grow my mailing list. There’s a lot to learn, so if you’re like me, you’ll want to watch the videos again to refresh your knowledge, and you’ll be able to do that. I’m not sure I would have ever figured out everything taught in this class on my own, and I didn’t want to spend another twenty years trying to figure out how to get my marketing right.

This course will challenge you, but what worthwhile endeavor doesn’t? Put in the work, and you’ll get great results. I encourage you to sign up for Build a Rabid Fanbase today, or at least check out the free preview videos which include enough helpful information to get you on the right track.

“Fandom is externally generated branding.” ~ Zoe Fraade-Blanar

 

 

Writing a novel, especially for the first time, is a huge endeavor. Many, maybe most, novelists wrote their first books with little instruction, figuring it out as they went. That was me more than thirty years ago. That first novel will probably be mediocre at best, and that’s all right. It takes a lot of work to get good at anything.

A course in novel-writing can help you avoid major pitfalls. In fact, even if you’ve been writing for a long time, a good class can teach you things you missed along the way.

 

My Favorite Novel Writing Class

 

The online course I’m about to tell you about is fantastic. Yes, this is a review, and typically I’d put my conclusion closer to the end. I found this class so helpful I think it’s important to say that before moving on.

The course, Write a Great Novel, is taught by prolific author Russell Nohelty and is available on his site, The Complete Creative. One of the best things about the class is that it’s free.

 

What’s In the Course

 

Write a Great Novel takes you through all the most important aspects of creating a novel, from beginning to end. It includes:

 

  1. Culling ideas. This is all about gathering your story ideas in one place and looking at them periodically. Learn to combine and develop your best ideas so you always have something to write about.
  2. Characters. Learn what makes a great main character, villain, and ancillary or supporting character. The course also includes a helpful comparison between video games and novels and distinguishes between non-player characters (NPCS) and bosses.
  3. Setting and worldbuilding. Russell talks about how these fit into a novel and how the setting needs to challenge the main character every step of the way.
  4. Avoiding data dumps. There are some simple ways to avoid massive data dumps by layering in the extra information readers need to know. Master this and you’ll keep your story flowing.
  5. Structure. Russell describes a fractal structure for novels where not only does the overall story builds up to a climax, but so does each scene. He covers pantsing, plotting, and doing something in between. He also shares an excellent beat sheet that can keep your book on track.

 

He covers getting that first draft done, effective editing, formatting, and acquiring a great cover. Finally, you’ll learn the importance of the right mindset and staying dedicated.

 

 

My Experience with Write a Great Novel

 

I came into this course already an experienced author. However, it generally took me at least a couple of years to write a novel. I’d get stuck, a lot. My story-writing instincts would lead me to the right path, and people have loved my books. Yet I wanted to be able to get my books done more quickly.

The most helpful thing I learned in this course was just that. After meeting Russell at Pasadena Comic-Con in January and subsequently taking this course, I wrote the first draft of my new book, Bodacious Creed and the Jade Lake, in less than six months. Most of that was during the last two months of that period! Now, I have a method that will allow me to write the first draft of the next novel even faster, probably in two to three months.

Editing comes next, and I’ll be able to do that quickly as well, polishing and improving the story until it’s ready for the final edit. I should be able to write two to three books a year going forward, even with my full-time job. My readers won’t have to wait long for sequels and will remain excited about my stories.

And this course is free!

 

Signing Up

 

I encourage you, whether you’d like to start your first novel or you’re already experienced, to sign up for Write a Great Novel. You’re bound to learn something that will help you improve your craft.

Russell teaches other courses on the site as well. Most cost a bit, and I’ll review courses I’ve taken in future blog posts. Again, Write a Great Novel is free. It’s about five hours of densely packed information that can make a big difference in your writing, and you have nothing to lose by taking it.

If you have any questions, let me know in the comments below!

Also, if you’d like to know when I put up a new post or have exciting news, sign up for my newsletter. The form is at the top of the right sidebar. You’ll also get my short story, The Obstructed Engine, which is a prequel to my novel series, The Adventures of Bodacious Creed, and after a few days a special offer.

“At the end of Slaughterhouse-Five… I had a shutting-off feeling… that I had done what I was supposed to do and everything was OK.” ~ Kurt Vonnegut