Tag Archives: NaNoWriMo


Well, it’s here again.  Another November.  Also known as the craziest month of the year.  I’ve run Kickstarters in November before, and I’ve done NaNoWriMo on two different occasions.

This year, I’m doing both—at the same time.

Truth be told, this year, I’m trying to see if I can reach three goals by the end of the month.  It’s going to be insane.  It’s going to be intense.

For the Kickstarter, we need to raise $15,000 in order to secure the minimum order from our manufacturer.  It’d be even better if we managed to pull off more than that, because I have so many cool things lined up that I’d love to see if we could hit.

In case you haven’t seen all the KS links plastered all over the site, here’s another one.


On the NaNoWriMo side of things, I’m also still working on Quantum Quest.  This year’s book is going to focus on a novelization for the upcoming game, and we’re including some pretty cool things from the Tellest universe.  One of them is a hero who wasn’t on the front cover of the game box.  When you’re thinking of wibbly wobbly, timey wimey stuff, I know who you’re thinking of.  That’s right.  Rhys Oberon.

That was who you were thinking of.  Right?

Rhys has only had one small starring role so far.  He was the character who set a lot of time traveling shenanigans in motion in Keeper of the Void.  But he’s a huge character in the grand tapestry of Tellest.  I haven’t had a chance to write a follow-up story for him, but I’m definitely going to make attempts to get at least one more short out for him before QQ and its novelization release.

And even if you haven’t realized it, he’s had his hand involved in some of the other events in the Tellest books so far.

For the Quantum Quest book, I need to complete 50,000 words in 30 days.  I’ve pulled it off before, but never with so much else riding on my shoulders.  With two big convention weekends this month, it’s going to be interesting to see if I can pull it off.

I should probably abstain from writing big ol’ blog posts, huh?

Finally, this last goal is more for myself than for my creative passions.  I’m a little too old to be as pudgy as I am.  Rhianna and I found a lifestyle change that’s been working out for us pretty well.  I’d love to drop another 10 lbs by the end of the month.  So that’s it.  The third goal is a little bit of weight loss.

The conventions are certainly not going to help with that.

So that’s it for now, but I’m going to be a little bit more vocal on this site as the Kickstarter and NaNoWriMo go on.  You can actually see a sneak peek of the QQ novelization if you head over to the campaign page.  I think you’ll like what you read!



State of Tellest, October 2017

Holy heck! I had no idea it’s been so long since I did a blog post for Tellest. It’s about time to change that up then, I suppose, and what a time it is!

I have got an awful lot to talk about, so let’s get down to business, shall we?


Tellest Legends Books

The Tellest Legends project ended up getting a lot bigger than I expected! While Tales of Tellest was a set of novellas, each of these Tellest Legends books is a little bigger. Silver Serpent, the next one up in the queue, is much bigger than the books I’ve done recently.  Intended only to be about 50,000 words for last year’s NaNoWriMo, it ended up becoming a 210,000 word novel. It’s the biggest book I’ve worked on since The Enemy Within, and is nearly as long as The Bindings of Fate.

Now, part of this is awesome news. In my opinion, this is the best book I’ve ever written—not because of the word count, but because of the time and care I put into it. The downside is that there is a lot of work there, and it needs to be carefully curated in order to be ready for release. It’s already put me at a bit of a delay. It’s gone through its first editor pass and come back to me, and I have to clean it up before it gets delivered to our second editor.

Originally, the plan was to get it released last month. That unfortunately will not happen, but it will be out soon. Unfortunately, its delay has impacted the other books that are also coming out—Arise, Heart of the Forest, Stealing Seramore, The Maelstrom and the second short story collection are all coming a little later because of Silver Serpent. I thank everyone for their patience while I get these stories prepared.


Quantum Quest

Another big culprit of the writing delays is our upcoming tie-in tabletop game.  Quantum Quest is a massive undertaking spanning almost three years, and we’re trying to give it the best chance it has to shine before we go to Kickstarter with it next month.  We’ve been holding playtests, gathering fans, working on new cards and so on all summer long. As we draw closer and closer to November, you can be sure I’m going to end up losing my mind a little more each day—I can’t wait!

Fans of Tellest are going to get an early preview of our campaign page in the next couple of weeks, but I can give you a preview excerpt right now:

“This is where things start getting really awesome. We’re offering up a pack of adventurer cards that you can only get here on Kickstarter or directly from us when we attend conventions—these will never be available at retail. And that’s just to start—the more we raise, the more you get. “

Suffice it to say, we’re incredibly excited for Kickstarter next month. I feel like we’re batting 1000 with this game, and I can’t wait to show it off some more.  If you’re at PAX Unplugged, definitely consider stopping by our table to play a game yourself!


NaNoWriMo 2017

This one ties into Quantum Quest in a big way because… it’s the Quantum Quest novelization!  Yep.  My aim is to get 50,000 or so words cranked out by the end of November that will add some lore and backstory to our upcoming tabletop game. Since we also have the Kickstarter going on, this is the first year where NaNoWriMo has to come secondary, so I’m not 100% certain that it’ll be finished, or that it’ll be 50,000 words.  That said, I’m going to make sure the book is complete and polished by the time Quantum Quest reaches backers in May of 2018.

Here’s another bonus: Everyone who backed the Tellest Legends Kickstarter is going to get a copy of the ebook since it’s pushing off the other books.


Short Stories

Short stories are going to continue to fill in the gaps between the big releases.  We have a couple of stories that are currently backlogged, and we have two holiday stories coming as well.  Once Silver Serpent moves onto the second editor, we’ll make sure these stories get their chance to shine.


That’s it for now, but you can be certain we’ll be talking a lot in November, on account of the Quantum Quest Kickstarter.  See you soon!

State of Tellest, November 2016

Howdy folks.  This is the first time that we’ve had the occasion to bring you two “State of Tellest” posts so close together.  I’d say that is a very good thing, because it means things are coming together at a quicker pace than ever before.

Part of that could be due to the fact that Tellest now encompasses so many different projects, from a handful of different people.  Let’s get right to it, shall we?


Legacy Novellas and Tales of Tellest Short Stories

A while back, we had mentioned that Brandi Salazar was brought on board to help us clean up our act—Act I, that is, to be clear.  She’s done a very good job of putting a further layer of shine on the stories from the original Tales of Tellest volume.  If you are one of our readers from the get-go, you should be able to update your reading devices to get some cleaner prose than before.


Tellest Legends Project

We’re coming along well with the Tellest Legends books.  The timeline is still looking promising, and we’re getting ready to run our second wave of edits on Lord of Thunder, starting today!  Those edits should go relatively quick; I’m assuming that the book is going to end up being roughly 4.5 hours total in reading time, so usually, my second pass takes about that long as well.  Then, it’ll go to our two wonderful editors, and we’ll get it ready for the Tellest Street Team prior to the March release of the book.

Since it’s November, most of the focus has been on the NaNoWriMo book (more on that in a moment).  We have to shift again in December, back to Dragonspeaker (which is first-pass complete), and to Stealing Seramore, which needs to find its feet again.  Arise, meanwhile, has been seeing some steady progress.  I write that book on the train to work in the mornings when I’m in my satellite office, so that’s been doing well.  I have a feeling that is going to run longer than the previous books of the new collection, but I’m still optimistic that we’ll get that prepared in time for the planned release date. After all, it’s still 2016!


Short Stories

I’m very happy to announce that we’re moving back into position with the Tellest short stories.  In fact, I made a whoopsie and didn’t include one of Aaron Canton’s shorts in the Tellest Newsletter as an exclusive like I believed I had, so we’re starting the new shorts up again today!

With my focus on the longer form novellas and novels at this point, I’m going to be letting Aaron helm our short story department for at least a little while, but I’ve got a handful that I want to put out before the second short story collection comes out in 2018.  Don’t forget, we’re trying to release at least 24 new shorts—but you’ll be able to catch most of them here first.



I went from believing that my NaNoWriMo project, The Silver Serpent Chronicles, was going to end up being too short to fit the 50,000 words required to be a victorious novel.  As it turns out, I’m probably set to reach at least 75,000 words by the time the story is done.

Now for the bad news: I lapsed!  Between funerals, podcasts, noodgie dogs and just a little bit of writing burn-out, I fell about 3,000 words behind.  Now, that’s not exactly difficult to make up—I’ve had 4,000 word days before, and with a four day weekend in front of us, I can likely make that up—but it is just one more obstacle before me.

In any case, I have my doubts that I’ll be able to finish the project in its entirely in November.  What we’ll probably end up doing is shifting some things around to find a focus on the books that are coming out sooner rather than later.  I have to do the same thing for last year’s NaNo project, which is even longer than this one.  Once I fall back into that one, we’ll be in a very good place.


Audiobooks, Now and Future

Phew… tired of reading yet?  If you are, I’ve got some great news for you: the first round of audiobooks are complete, though we’re still waiting for ACX to approve the fifth and final “Tales of Tellest” novella, Awake.  Once that’s done, we’ll have five books in audio form, and that’s a pretty cool feeling.

We had considered also having the short stories produced for ACX/Audible, but there are too many hoops to jump through to do that properly, so the idea we’re entertaining instead is bringing on another voice to our team in order to capture the short stories in audio and deliver it straight to our site.  We’re still prepping that relationship and those goals, but keep your eyes and ears open for that in the near future.

Further away, what we’re anticipating for our audio goals is that we’re going to work on getting most of our novella and novel length projects narrated a lot earlier in the game.  Previously, we waited to see if people enjoyed the written content of the Tales of Tellest novellas before we moved along.  This time, we’re going all in on day one.  The day the new books release, they should have the appropriate level of polish, and we’re going to begin the process of prepping them for audio.  For sequels, we’re anticipating continuing along with the narrators of the first books in each series.  For new properties (Dragonspeaker, Heart of the Forest, Silver Serpent Chronicles), we’ll look for new narrators to bring to our team. There’s a very real chance that we’ll end up running over ourselves eventually.  20 weeks isn’t that long when it comes to whipping up some decent audio, but we’ll see what we can pull off!


Card Game

Yes, we’re still working on this little side project!  In fact, it’s coming along very nicely.  All of our alpha art content is completed, though there has been some thought given as to whether or not we could get one or two more sets of assets.

In any case, we’re getting ready to prototype our game in the coming weeks.  Christmas is a great time to test how all kinds of different people enjoy the game, from nerds to regular ol’ folk.

The great news is that even when we had zero art, the game ended up being a lot of fun to people who liked tabletop.  I’m hoping the gorgeous art we’ve been acquiring for around 18 months really helps to step up the enjoyment of the game even further.

You can see the latest cards—full cards—on our Facebook page. There are adventurer cards up now, but we’ll be showing off a selection of dungeon cards in the coming weeks as well.

Now, there is a spot of bad news here.  Since this is the first time we ever put together a tabletop game, there’s still some things that I’m trying to put together and understand.  The timeline is one of the things that I didn’t realize was going to be so hard to stick to.  Here’s our dilemmas so far:

We aren’t going to make it to Magfest and PAX East (sold out, drat!).

What we are still going to try and do is make it to AnimeNext, Philly Comic Con and Metatopia next year.  I really want to run the circuit for this game, and if we see a lot of genuine enjoyment out of it, we may try and jump into some other places as well.  The ultimate goal is to try and Kickstart this game, ala Boss Monster, but we shall see what we can pull off.  I’m very happy with the journey this game has made (even though I still haven’t settled on a final name for it yet). Time will tell if the destination is a happy one!


That’ll about wrap us up.  Even though it’s only been a month, it seems we had plenty to talk about.  Here’s hoping the next time we get to chat, there’s even more incredible Tellest news.  Thanks for tuning in!


Michael DeAngelo

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.



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!


Art – Heart of the Forest Cover by RedPear

Good morning all you fans of fantasy!

As many of you know, last month was November, which for a lot of people means not shaving your mustaches and beards.  For some writers, it means one hectic 30 days of trying to reach a goal that might seem impossible: 50,000 words.  For some people, NaNoWriMo is a breeze.  For me, I knew it was going to take some special attention.  I did away with my notebook for this particular adventure, and just wrote everything on the computer.  My goal was 1667 words per day—I met them most days, surpassed them on a couple of days and missed out entirely one or two days because of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and other things.

I knew that I couldn’t do it by myself.  Though the story had been brewing in my head for years (more on that later), it had been part of a different medium.  I needed a little push to think of it as a real story in the Tellest universe.

That’s where RedPear came in.  While I wasn’t ready to commit 100% to it being a novel, I wanted a cover for this story.  She agreed to give me an interim cover, which, when it’s completed, will inform the final cover that we’ll likely get from Leo if he’s up for it.  But first, we started with some sketches.

HotF 3

HotF 4 ZO

These were both ones that we ultimately passed on.  Even though I love all the things that RedPear does, we could only choose one, and we ended up with this one:

HotF 1 ZO

After that, it was only a matter of fleshing it out.

Heart of the Forest Follow Up Sketch

It’s amazing how much of a difference RedPear can make with just the lineart/sketch phase of her work.  She did a really cool job letting me know where we were going with the final piece.

Heart of the Forest Colored

After that, RedPear did some nice coloring, giving our ranger those verdant greens he’s known for.  She also did some foreground and background work to make the piece pop even more.

Heart of the Forest Complete

All of that work culminated with the final variation, where Steel Tip aims at the foreground, ready to protect the forest of Cefen’adiel.


So what’s Heart of the Forest about?  It’s the novelization of a game that I’ve been working on for a while.  You may have seen the sprites from our earlier attempts at putting it all together.  If nothing else, this is going to make the story in that game all the more impressive.

While I was successful in “winning” NaNoWriMo, this story still has a long way to go—20 chapters are so, actually.  But it’s my aim to make sure that a new chapter is written every week for it, and able to be seen on our Patreon for the uberfans of Tellest!

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!



NaNoWriMo, Worldspinner, Bear Mountain Books and a Wedding!

Hello there, fans of fantasy and friends of Tellest!

This next month-and-a-half is definitely going to be a busy one for us. Let’s get the most awesome news out of the way first.  Rhianna and I are getting marriedon Saturday!  In a lot of ways, Tellest brought us together, so I thought that this was a fair place to announce the happy occasion.  We’ve got some wedding-related goodies that we’ll be posting on the site in the next few weeks as well, but other than that, we’ll probably be a little quiet until we’re back from sunny Florida.

Luckily, I’m leaving you with a decent amount of news as well!

National Novel Writing Month

First off, I’d like to formally announce my first ever entry into NaNoWriMo.  For those who don’t know what it is, NaNoWriMo is National Novel Writing Month.  It’s a challenge for authors to write at least 50,000 words in the 30 days of November.  Those of you who have been following Tellest for a while are probably well aware that it is a real challenge for me.  The Fall took me almost half a year to write, and it didn’t even have 50,000 words in it by the time it was complete.  I’m committed to the attempt though, and I’m going to give it my all.  In November, I’ll give you more information about the story I’m writing, and give you previews and excerpts so that you can join in on the fun as well!

We’ve also got some very cool collaboration news to talk about.  Earlier this year I began working with some fine folks at Worldspinner.  Their Kickstarter absolutely crushed it last September, and they’ve been making great strides to bring a wonderful product to the world.  It’s a worldbuilding tool that both gamers and authors can use to help with that process.  It’s an amazing tool with a lot of potential to make your tabletop games, your world lore and your stories in general exponentially more robust.  I’m just freelancing at the moment, proofreading and offering up some smaller plots that may randomly show up, but I feel incredibly blessed to be a part of their huge story!

Last but not least, I’d like to direct your attention to Bear Mountain Books.  They’ve graciously decided to take the cover for Mageborn and poll their readers about it.  So far, it seems that the cover image itself is appreciated, but the font and even the logo may be a little confusing.  I love what Bear Mountain Books and Maria Schneider are doing for authors (and for readers) and I encourage you to give the site a gander.  And you might as well like theirFacebook page as well—you’ll be the first to know about deals, reviews and book cover polls like the one running for Mageborn.