Tag Archives: Blog

Recovering

Hey there folks!

So, as some of you know, we didn’t quite hit the goals we were trying to for November.  The Kickstarter for Quantum Quest fell pretty short, and I sure as heck didn’t lose the pounds I was trying to, heh!

The awesome news is that I’ve got another NaNoWriMo in the bag.  The Quantum Quest novelization is 50,000 words strong, and it’ll probably end up growing another 20-25 thousand words before its done.

Here’s some more good news: that novelization is going to have the game to bolster.  We’re going to be running a new campaign for Quantum Quest in March of 2018.  We’ve rejiggered things so that we’ll be printing domestically instead of overseas.  Now, this does have its drawbacks.  For one, it’s going to be a somewhat more costly endeavor on a per-unit basis.  We’ll have to sell for $30 instead of $25, but we’re working on ways to build value into that package. This also makes international shipping a huge burden.  It’ll likely have to be a case by case basis where we determine how much we have to ask for people who want the game who are outside of the US.  We’re also still trying to figure what to do if we manage to somehow climb up to that $15,000 mark that we were looking at before.  Do we switch over and do overseas again at that point?  Not quite sure.  The original version of the game might have to remain domestic and then we can do huge print runs down the road.

The other good news about a domestic printing is that it’s usually handled much quicker.  With that in mind, we’re hoping we’ll be able to do another showing at Comic Con next year, where we can actually sell the game!

Alright, enough about Quantum Quest.  First and foremost, Tellest is a literary universe, so it’s time to talk books.  We’re so close to releasing the next book that I can almost taste it.  Silver Serpent just needs me to finish tweaking some things post-first-edit, and then off to the second editor it goes.  It’s a longer book, so it’s taking a while to polish, but I’m eager to get it in front of folks.  The other good news is that each of the three books that follow it are at least 66% done their first drafts each.  Arise, the sequel to Awake, is getting so good.  And with Heart of the Forest and the QQ novelization having been tackled over the course of the last three NaNoWriMos, they’re very near to done as well.

After that comes Stealing Seramore and The Maelstrom, as well as another short story compilation in the vein of Tales of Tellest.  That set is going to be nothing but short stories, as opposed to the earlier set that included the five novellas I wrote.  Trust me though, that book is going to be bursting with awesome.

So that’s it for now.  I’m hoping to have a great book ready for you soon, but until then, I hope everyone has a great holiday season.

P.S.: Another DeAngelo Christmas tale will be up on the 23rd (or so)!

State of Tellest, October 2016

Hello there everyone.  It has been a whirlwind year, the likes of which we haven’t seen since 2014.  And now, with the conclusion of our latest Kickstarter, we’re ready to jump all-in once again.

It’s time once again to let you know what’s on the docket.  With so much planned out ahead of us, there’s no better time than now to tip our hands.

Legacy Novellas

I’m still at the point right now where I am very, very happy with what we managed to pull off regarding the Tales of Tellest books.  From Mageborn to The Fall, every one of those books feels like good writing to me.  The stories are compelling, and the prose is relatively tight compared to my earlier work.  Sure, they’re shorter stories, but they taught me a lot, and they end when they are supposed to.  Not every quest is going to involve a thousand people, and not every memory is going to involve traveling across the world.  Somehow, we’ve still managed to tell what I believe are very compelling stories in the same world that will ultimately add to the overall universe.

One thing that we wanted to do to improve upon that quality included going back and tightening up some of the problem places we had.  Tellest developed a style guide a few months back, and we’re busy putting together some finishing touches on those five novellas and the short stories.  As such, we’d like to welcome Brandi Salazar to the team.  She’s a delightful second pass editor who will snag some of the problems that Nace and I may have missed. Sometimes, when you’re a little too close to a project, you can miss things more readily.

As of right now, there are no plans to give the original trilogy the same treatment.  We have a different game plan for that collection, but we’re not quite ready to divulge the information on that just yet. Just know that we are committed to bringing you the best stories we can.

 

Short Stories

Speaking of bringing you great stories, you’ll see that we’ve quieted down a little bit in the short story outlet in the previous few weeks. Preparing for the Kickstarter sapped my energy, and I aimed most of my creative output toward the bigger stories that you’ll see starting at the beginning of next year.

With that in mind, we’re happy to announce that we’re bringing Aaron Canton back for another set of three short stories that we’ll be preparing soon.  We also have some other writers that we’re hoping we’ll be able to debut, and we’re contemplating opening up Tellest writing prompts again to see if we can find the next Aaron Canton!

 

New Novels

So, word counts can be a bit dubious in nature.  NaNoWriMo considers a novel to be 50,000+ words, while the Nebula awards requires books to be 40,000+ words in order to qualify.  In any case, we’re hoping that our new books coming out starting next year will mostly qualify as novels.  With the exception of Dragonspeaker, each of these books should be longer than the books from our last wave.

Anyway, that was a bit of rambling preceding some awesome news. You see, even though we had the Kickstarter running, I’ve been on pace to knock out two of my books before their soft deadlines.  If things keep going well, both Lord of Thunder and Transformed will be done by the end of October, in first draft form.  They join the likes of Dragonspeaker which is already complete as a first draft, and Heart of the Forest, which is more than 70% complete.  With that in mind, we’re well on track to keeping up with our new goal of releasing a book every 10 weeks starting in March of next year.

 

NaNoWriMo

Last year, I participated in my first ever NaNoWriMo event.  I had to completely change the way I go about writing, but I learned a lot, stuck with my word goals, and managed to crank out my 50,000 words.

We’re going to be participating again this year, although it’s going to be a little bit off-rules, I’m sure.  I’m aiming to make Silver Serpent Chronicles my “novel” this year, and it might not qualify in format or word count.  We’ve been putting a lot of behind the scenes work into it though—much more than I typically do.  I like to learn the story along with my characters.  I’m a pantser more than a plotter, but I’m hoping that the outlining and preparing we’re doing for Silver Serpent Chronicles really makes it feel good when all is said and done.

It’s not official, but Rhianna is also planning on participating in NaNoWriMo—a mini-mo, if you will.  Come November, we’ll see exactly how far we’ve come!

 

Card Game

By now, everyone should know that our big side project, that we’ve been unveiling piecemeal, is an upcoming card game.  It’s influenced by Monopoly, D&D, Boss Monster and most of all, Tellest.  We’re still a little ways off from drawing back the curtain entirely, but we’re getting closer than ever.  We’re about 90% done preparing alpha art assets for the game, and then we’ll do a fair amount of internal testing before we introduce a beta team to join us.  After that, we’re actively seeking space at conventions to debut our game to a whole slew of new fans.

If all goes well, we’ll be ready to crowdsource next October.  Keep your eyes peeled for all the news we can hope to bring you regarding this cool new adventure in Tellest!

 

That’s it for now, but as always, we’ve got a ton of content just around the corner.  We hope everyone has an awesome holiday season, and we’re so looking forward to bringing you some great new books starting in March of next year!

 

NaNoWriMo, Patreon and Tales of Tellest

Phew, now that was exhausting.

As many of you may know, I participated in NaNoWriMo this year.  It was a completely new experience for me, since most of the writing I’ve done for Tellest thus far has been pencil to paper in a notebook before it’s transferred to the computer.  In that way, I end up editing my book twice as I write it.  For NaNoWriMo, I knew that I was going to have to leave that kind of writing to the side, or I would never make my target word count in time.

50,000 words in 30 days is something that seemed a little beyond my skills, but as of today—with one day to spare—I’m proud to announce that I was able to meet that lofty goal.  I’m a NaNoWriMo 2015 winner.  Heart of the Forest is well on its way.  At that word count, we’re at about 100 pages written, and I’ve just started the twentieth chapter.  It’s still a long way to go, but I’m committing to a new task going forward, as a result of this first NaNoWriMo experience.

From now on, I’m going to write at least one chapter of a story per week directly on the computer, just like I’ve done throughout this November.  It’ll be my writing in its rawest form, so it won’t necessarily be the best display of my ability, but it’ll fulfill my promise to you that there will always be more content from Tellest that is ready to read.

Now, this will go on to serve two purposes.  First, it’ll mean that there will be more stories to read at a quicker pace.  My guess is that Heart of the Forest will be around a forty chapter story, so I’m about halfway there.  At this rate, I’ll have it done by the end of April.  At that point, it’ll be time to sit down with it and throw in some heavy edits to make sure that it’s a story worthy of your attention.

That brings us to our second purpose.  Writing in that style gives me the golden opportunity to bring my stories to you a lot quicker than the way that I currently do.  The Tellest Patreon page is the place where chapters of Heart of the Forest are currently being uploaded every Wednesday.  You have to be a patron to get early access to those snippets, but I’m announcing today that you only need to spend $1 a month to get that access (it used to be $3).  And here’s some even better news: even if you’re not a patron, there’s a chance you’ll see some of our exclusive early content there.  There’s a 1-in-3 chance you’ll see the art we commission early, and there’s a 1-in-10 chance that you’ll get to read Heart of the Forest early.

And I guess that kind of serves a third purpose then.  The more people that we know we’re working for, the more diligent we are.  If you know anyone who wants to be a part of that, let them know.  Tellest will only grow because of it!

Last but not least, I wanted to let you know about Tales of Tellest.  We started this campaign a long time ago (it’s almost been two years!), but it’s about time that it’s wrapping up.  In the next couple of weeks, all five novellas will have been released, as well as all twelve short stories that we committed to.  At that point, we’re going to be releasing the entire collection on Amazon, followed shortly after by a paperback release.  I wanted to personally thank everyone who has been so patient with all of that, and we’re looking so forward to bringing you that piece of Tellest.

Here’s hoping for more frequent updates in the future.  With NaNoWriMo just about wrapped up, we’ll be back to our regularly scheduled broadcasts!

Cheers,

Mike

State of Tellest, March 2015

Daylight Savings is here, and that means the winter blues are just about over.  While I don’t really get into any kind of physiological funk, I certainly won’t tell you that my work doesn’t suffer at least a little bit in the winter.  With the days being brighter just a little bit longer, I often find my determination extended quite a bit too.

Things have been somewhat quiet here for a little while.  We’ve had plenty of great authors featured in our book promos, and of course we haven’t gone a week without missing an awesome art update.  We even had a new short story that ran over the past month or so.  But there’s still more to come, and I wanted to pull back the curtain a little bit so that you could see what to expect.

 

Tales of Tellest: Volume One

While we’re working on the final novella, The Fall, we’re also trying to figure out where we’re at with the rest of the stories that are supposed to comprise this first bargain set of Tellest stories.  First off, let’s just talk about that fifth novella for a moment.  It’s a stubborn itch to be sure, and I’m not sure exactly when it is going to be done, but I can tell you that I work on it every day.  I probably should have expected as such from it – it’s such a crucial element in the overall Tellest story that I should have never been taken as off guard as I was with it.  And even fleshing it out as much as I am, I still feel like it is moving so quickly.  That said, we are nearing the end here.  I can see the light at the end of the tunnel, and at that point, we’re really just putting all the pieces together.  After a quick stop at the editor, the final component will be in place.

We’ve also put together a “final” list of all the stories that are going to comprise this first set of Tellest stories.  Brought to you by a handful of authors, this is going to be one of the coolest things that I’ve ever done, and I can’t wait to actually be able to bring it to you.  Below, you’ll see the list as it stands right now.  Things are always subject to change, as we have a couple other writers who are considering things too, so a reshuffle is always on the table.

Tales of Tellest: Volume One:

  • Mageborn
  • Son of the Storm
  • The Tinker’s Tale
  • Awake
  • The Fall
  • Becoming a Man
  • The Bubbles
  • Cloudrider
  • Dragonland
  • Dream No More
  • Fallen
  • The Littlest Kobold
  • “Masquerade”
  • The Night Before Nadeus
  • Practical Warrior
  • Remembered in Gold
  • “Untitled”

 

Tales of Tellest: Volume Two?

What’s that you say?  Volume Two?  Yes, it’s always been in the works, from the moment I started the Kickstarter for the original five.  When you have a mind that flows as much as mine does, it can get a little out of control, but I’m usually able to reign things in enough to get a cognizant idea of what direction I’m trying to go in.  And while I’m not sure of the details of other stories, I do know at least the five novellas that are going to make up this set.  By title alone, see what you can divulge from this:

  • Alura Une
  • The Crimson Veil
  • Escape from the Nexus
  • Ghosts of the Highlands
  • King of the Forest

We’re still a long way away from the second volume, mind you.  These stories are going to be secondary to the return to the feature length novels.  Kaos, Steel Tip, Christopher and all the rest of the heroes from the Child of the Stars trilogy have many more stories to tell, and it’s possible that the scope of the world is going to grow that much wider because of it.

 

The Enemy Within Rerelease

Part of the Kickstarter deal that I made was getting new art for the original set of books.  We’ve had one that’s been kind of holding out for a while now, but we finally have it in place.  Leo is working on the cover for The Enemy Within, and even without full color, it is a sight to behold.  It really is a great way to end the commitment that was made, and I can’t wait to finally show everyone.  I’m also hoping it revitalizes sales on Amazon and Smashwords, but that’s yet to be seen.

The good news is, after that’s all put together, there’s just the matter of cleaning up The Bindings of Fate a slight bit in an effort to bring it up to the same quality that you’ve come to expect from the novellas.  Four or five years makes a heck of a lot of a difference in the quality of a writer’s work, and I want my readers to be comfortable across the board.  So stay tuned for that!

 

That’s not all that we’ve been working on.  As always, we’re on the lookout for new talent, new opportunities, and new adventures.  We’re in talks with a few close contractors that you might have seen us work with before, and, behind closed doors there’s a super secret project that we’re beginning preproduction on.  Once some steps have been taken to protect our interests, we’ll announce that.

In the meantime, thank you for being a loyal reader.  We’re going to make sure you never regret putting your faith in Tellest.

 

Cheers,

Mike

Tellest Pixels 3

We’re rounding out the Tellest Pixels feature here on the site today. Over the past few weeks, we showed you what would have happened should we have succeeded with that initial Kickstarter – we were going to give out awesome little 8-bit inspired buttons.  We also showed you a second set more recently.

So far, we’ve seen the oldest heroes of the book series (Kaos, Dirk and Steel Tip), and we’ve traveled to Atalatha to see their champions (Alicia, Zachariah and David).  Today, we’re rounding out the biggest heroes from the second half of The Bindings of Fate.

8-bit Christopher version 18-bit Holklund version 38-bit Anson version 48-bit Adelia version 16

Here, you can see the characters that we were introduced to once Westwick was discovered in the book series.  Christopher and Holklund were specifically found in that town, while Kaos and his companions happened upon Anson and Adelia on their way to stop Blacklehn from destroying Atalatha.  They’re all featured from top to bottom in the order they appeared in the book.

There’s a couple of interesting things to note here, too.  I made two versions of Holklund – one with pupils, and one without, to denote his power to see through other people’s eyes.  Anson is the only character besides Dirk not to be presented without a weapon or a spell.  And Adelia took me 16 different tries before I was finally happy with the version of her I ended up with.

 

So, that’s it for Tellest Pixels.  It was a fun little side project, but I mostly wanted to focus on the young heroes of the stories.  That isn’t to say there aren’t more that we could do.  You’ve got the Knights of Virtue, the antagonists, and everything from the rest of trilogy and the series to follow.  If I get a lot of positive feedback on these, perhaps I’ll consider adding more to the list!

State of Tellest: September 2014

Hello there everyone!

We’ve gone nearly half a year without an informed blog talking about what our plans are, and I thought we needed to remedy that today.  Between writing, planning updates, working on side projects and personal enrichment, you’d think that there wouldn’t be much time to talk, but oh, you’d be wrong!

Let me address just a couple of the things that are going on in Tellest.

 

Continuing to Evolve

Once again, we’re constantly switching up our presentation.  Recently, Paul Davies spruced up our header, and Kevin Gallagher gave us a video that much better demonstrates our values.  Now that we have higher quality art constantly on display, it makes sense to have a more beautiful look for ourselves.

We’re still going to make tweaks and adjustments, especially as the new book covers continue to roll in.  When we have The Enemy Within, As Darkness Falls and The Fall spruced up with new covers, we’re going to make a new content trailer that will help get the word out about Tellest somewhat.

And of course, we’re going to continue to invest in great art that demonstrates crucial environments, characters and races of Tellest.  That’s what we’ve found to have made one of the biggest impacts this year, and we don’t want to stop doing that, even if we have to slow down.

 

Tales of Tellest ,The Child of the Stars Trilogy and Beyond!

The Tales of Tellest is nearing its end – at least for the first volume.

We’re going to continue putting work into the Child of the Stars trilogy, so that it can be the best fantasy series ever.  We want the quality of The Bindings of Fate to be on par with the new stories.  The Tales of Tellest is a great entry point for the universe, but we want Kaos’ first adventure to be just as alluring.

While we work on the rewrites for Bindings, we’re going to work on new Tales of Tellest stories on the side.  The novellas are a great way to keep interest in the world at a fair pace, but we have other stories that we want to tell as well.

The Tales of Tellest: Volume One stories that we’ve told had a lot to do with characters we’ve had some familiarity with.  The next group of stories is going to focus on new characters instead.  In the meantime, we’re also going to try and take a few steps back and see some prequel material for Kaos and Mathias.  Our goal is to make sure that you always have something to read, with a minimal amount of time between stories.  Whereas this first run for the Tales of Tellest has been relatively non-stop, we’re going to have larger gaps for our next run.

 

 

Encyclopedia

What we’ve decided to do is consider every big flow of encyclopedia entries a season.  We had the initial 25 entries that we released, and then we moved into another 50 items, which we are considering season one.  Now, season one is coming to a close, and we’re going to take some time off until Season Two begins.  What we’ll do in the meantime is freshen up some older encyclopedia entries with new pictures and links so that it feels like a wiki.

In the future, when we have more authors working on stories concurrently, these encyclopedia entries may have smaller gaps, but for now, the quality cannot be undermined by the quantity, so we hope you understand.

 

Heart of the Forest

We’ve got one more bit of news that reflects our need to take time into consideration.  Heart of the Forest, the game that will focus on Steel Tip, is being put somewhat on hold.  This is because the main part of development has transitioned over to programming, which is a very expensive part of the plan.  We’d need about $2000 before we could have a very basic demo in place.  Unfortunately, with a wedding coming up, I can’t be throwing my money into this project as much as I want.

That said, you never know what could happen.  The books could start selling three hundred copies a month like they did back in 2011.  With what equates to another paycheck each month, I could probably bring Heart of the Forest back into the forefront again.  For now, it’s just taking a much needed reprieve while we focus on the books that have become so important.

 

 

Besides those things, we’ve been keeping our nose to the grindstone.  The Fall is coming along nicely, as are some of our short stories, and you’ll have more to look forward to in the weeks to come.  We’re nearing the end of our banner year for Tellest, and I have you to thank for it.  You’ve been incredible, and I hope that these books are a well earned reward!

Tellest Pixels 2

So, after our last Otherworld absence, I thought it might be fun to highlight what almost was, and make it a nice three week (spread out, of course) feature.

Last time, we showed you a couple of our earliest heroes (Kaos, Steel Tip and Dirk).  But we wanted to focus on a locale this week.  Atalatha is a huge part of the story for Tellest, and with that in mind, we worked on three heroes from the glorious city.

8-bit Zachariah version 4 8-bit Alicia version 3 8-bit David version 5

 

From top to bottom there, you have Zachariah, Alicia Mane, and David Garus.  These ones are a couple of the ones that took the most work, because we were outfitting them so specifically, and we gave Alicia, for instance, some magical abilities.  David’s just a smidge taller than all the other characters, too, to account for his size.

Stay tuned for our final feature on Tellest Pixels in the next couple of weeks!

What Could Have Been – Kickstarter 201

A lot of you might not know this, because this site wasn’t nearly as large as it is back in January of 2013, but our successful Kickstarter this year wasn’t actually our first Kickstarter.  You see, we tried to run a campaign for the third book in the Child of the Stars trilogy, The Enemy Within.  It was very touch and go, because the book is so large, and required a lot of editing, which is why one book was gunning for such a huge campaign goal.

Needless to say, the campaign stalled – and for good reason.  I don’t think I managed it right, and I think toward the end, I was actually glad that we didn’t meet our goal.

That said though, I think there are some things that we really missed out on because of that.  I’ve always been a big fan of retro games – stuff from the 80’s and 90’s, as you can see from the development we’ve put forth on Heart of the Forest.  So one of the things I was really excited to do was release some 8-bit button pins that you could clip to your bag, or a mirror cozy, something that was just quirky.  I actually had our whole A-list lineup of heroes.  Here’s just a couple of them:

8-bit Kaos version 58-bit Steel Tip version 48-bit Dirk version 2

 

Obviously they feel like Megaman.  But I think they turned out really well, especially Dirk.  What do you think?

Back from Otherworld

Hello all!  After an extended stay in Otherworld for the past couple of weeks, we’re back on solid ground in Tellest.  It has been a busy couple months, what with the advent of Inner Demons, the continuing adventures in the Tales of Tellest collection, and the search for more artists to round out the vision that we have here.

There are still plenty of things going on behind the scenes, and I don’t want anyone to be left out.

One of the things that we are going to start on in the next few weeks is the arrangement to have the audiobooks begin.  We’re starting to small, with the Tales of Tellest, first and foremost – they’re up to snuff, and smaller morsels for potential producers to get their hands dirty with.  We’re actually auditioning Mageborn presently, and hope to bring you news on that front in the next couple of days or so.

Hopefully, once we have the Tales of Tellest properties properly narrated, we’ll have The Bindings of Fate ready to produce as well – following those rewrites we’ve mentioned before.  If the audiobooks sell well enough, we’ll be able to slip right into the bigger, chunkier novels (and give our narrators a decent amount of work)!

We’re also still chugging along with Tellest’s first game property. Chris and I have been tackling new things each month, and on our priority list for July is an interface that will really pop when the game is ready for release.  These are just mockups, but I think they’re really putting us in the right direction.

Main

 

MapDialogue

BattleDialogue

You can see we also used some of the previous art we’ve had the privilege of receiving from Paul and Joman in the past.  While it looks great in this little project, those are just placeholder for now.  There’s a good chance we’ll have original art in its place in the final form, most likely from Chris.

Tellest is coming along faster every day, and we have a wonderful audience to thank for it.  I really do appreciate all the opportunities you’ve given me, and am happy to continue showing it!

 

Cheers,

Mike

 

 

Life’s Little Detours

Hello there wonderful visitors, friends and fans!

One of the things that I would love to do is make sure my interviews are moving forward at a decent pace.  I’ve had a couple of great authors lined up for a while now, but life seems to be getting in the way a little lately.

Last Friday, my grandfather, Arthur passed away at 98 years old.  You obviously expect the end to be near at that point, but it still came as a big surprise to us.  I’ve also been dealing with health problems of my own.  Mine aren’t too serious – just the kind of nuisances that can sap your creativity and productivity.  Since the weekend following Easter, I’ve been having stomach issues that have been unexplained, and I’ve been going from doctor’s appointment to doctor’s appointment, from lab work to CAT scan, and it’s all just been very taxing.  To round out everything, yesterday I was admitted to the hospital for a new emergency (again, nothing life threatening).  I’m the proud new owner of a kidney stone.  So on top of everything else over the next few days, I’m also going to be heavily medicated.

I’d like to apologize first to the people I was supposed to be interviewing.  It was in my mind that I was going to be able to hammer these out week after week, and I’m being shown firsthand that sometimes its impossible to stick to schedule.  So with that in mind, I’d also like to apologize to the readers who come to this site expecting scheduled content that sometimes goes awry.

That’s not to say that I’m going to leave you empty-handed.  Even though the interview schedules took a detour, some other things are right on schedule.

Here’s another sneak peek at Heart of the Forest:

baseMap

As you can see, we’ve got the map of our game there.  It’s got a gorgeous hand drawn feel to it, and it very ably puts our story into full effect.

And of course, we can’t have that map without an avatar for Steel Tip.

s1x4

Keep checking back for more updates on the game, as well as the return of those interviews, starting with one featuring J.S. Morin next week!

Cheers!

-Mike