Update – delays…

I wanted to send you all a quick update on the launch of “Ranger’s Oath” and what I have been currently working on.

Unfortunately, I have had to postpone the book’s launch for the next few weeks. Still waiting on a finalized version of the cover and I need some more time for my beta readers to send me their feedback. I promise that I am not being idle 🙂 I am hard at work on Book II in the series, and once “Ranger’s Oath” is fully edited and ready to go, it will be on digital bookshelves ASAP.

Being a new author, there are (of course) some bumps in the road that I’ll have to overcome. Never fear, though! I am still writing, still working hard to make this dream of mine a reality.

I’ll send you more updates as they come. Thank you for your patience with me!!


A note to all those afflicted with writer’s block…

To all my fellow writers who find themselves afflicted with the painful apathy of writer’s block (and that’s just about every single writer out there…), I salute you. You are not alone.

For the past six months or so, I have had the glorious experience of writing unencumbered by the crushing weight of writer’s block. I produced a full-length novel, wrote several short stories, and learned the ins and outs of indie publishing, all (seemingly) without taking a breath. Now, about five chapters into book two, I find myself facing a dilemma: I no longer have the energy to write. I no longer have the energy to do anything, really. When I get home from work, all I want to do is curl up on the couch, turn on the TV, and forget about my responsibilities until bedtime.

It’s frustrating.

It’s maddening.

But I know, of course, that I am not alone in feeling this way.

Writer’s block is a very real phenomenon that occurs when a writer gets burned out. Sometimes it even happens before we start writing at all. The trick, it seems, is to just power through it. That seems to be the advice everybody gives, anyway. “Just put your nose to the grindstone, put your fingers on the keyboard, and start writing. After a while the words will start to flow.”

The problem is, writer’s block is just a symptom. It’s not a diagnosis. The root causes of writer’s block can vary widely, and therefore I believe that so should the treatments.

#1 – Inspiration Block

Sometimes we simply run out of things to write about. Call it a brain fart, a lack of creativity, whatever. It is when the idea well simply runs dry and no matter how hard we try, we can’t figure out where to take our story next. That’s when we need to re-inspire.

We are all inspired by something. For me, it is epic fantasy. When I am looking for inspiration, I’ll read a book, watch a movie, or play a video game. Anything to spark my imagination and get the gears turning. Maybe it’s a film that I haven’t seen in a long time. Maybe it’s a video game from my childhood. Wherever your inspiration comes from, go there and spend some time feeding your mind. You’ll find that more often than not, it’s exactly what you needed to jumpstart your writing.

#2 – Lack of Structure

Have you ever sat around on a Saturday, aimless and unable to bring yourself to the computer to write? Have you ever known that you should use this free time wisely so that you can churn out another chapter or two? If so, then you may be suffering from what I call a lack of structure.

If you are a responsible adult, then your work week is likely structured and predictible. Wake up at this time; drive into work at that time; do my job, drive home, repeat. Our lives are this way because we are creatures of habit, and when we allow ourselves to fall into a pattern, our productivity increases. It is important that we take a similar approach with our writing.

If you don’t yet have a method or pattern, make one. Dedicate a time slot, find a quiet room, and write until time runs out. Make it a part of your routine. “I won’t check Facebook until I have at least five hundred words on the page”. When writing becomes part of your life, just like brushing your teeth, you’ll find that writer’s block won’t effect you as often, and, most importantly, you’ll write more book.

#3 – Burnout

Last but not least, we have burnout. This is what I am currently working through right now. It feels like the fire that once burned within me has been snuffed out, and finding the energy to do anything productive at all seems like an impossible task. It is caused by trying to do too many things at once, from pushing yourself beyond your limits, and from refusing to take time to rest and recharge your batteries.

From what I can tell, there is no easy solution to overcoming burnout. I know from past experience (not in writing, but in other areas of my life), that the best way to overcome burnout is rest. Take a vacation. You’ve earned it. Try to sleep a little more; eat healthier. Change up your schedule a little bit. Just like all things, this too shall pass. With burnout, all you need is some time to get your spark back. And don’t fret because it will come back.

Now, none of this is to say that sometimes you don’t need to just power through it. There are days when that is great advice – just sit your butt in the chair and start writing. But I guess the point I am getting at is that a lot of the time writer’s block is caused by a myriad of different things, and so our approach should be more tactical in the way we overcome it.

This is far from a perfect list, and guess what? I’m still struggling through a bit of writer’s block at this very moment. But it is helpful to identify the root cause so that you can hasten your way to a speedy recovery👍🏻

Let me know in the comments if you have any thoughts. Until next time, cheers.


First story now LIVE!


Quick update – my short story Cycle of Blades is now live on Amazon! You can get it here!

It’s story I’ve written in a series with several other authors, including Bryce O,Connor and Laura Greenwood. I’m super excited because this is the first story I’ve ever published. But I’m sure the endorphins will wear off eventually 😉😂

That being said, if you like the story or want to give me feedback, please do! I’d love to hear from you!

I’m going to be writing a lengthy post about my upcoming novel Ranger’s Oath soon. Until then,


Quick Update

Hi everybody!

Just a quick update – my writing progress has been sure and steady. Book 1 of “Arc of Radiance” is completed and undergoing final revisions and I am almost done outlining Book 2. Be on the lookout for launch updates soon! 😊

Additionally, I have written a couple of novellas that will be launching concurrently with Book 1. The first is a prequel that takes place in the same universe as “Arc of Radiance”. This I will offer free to all my subscribers. The second is a short story about an assassin called “Cycle of Blades”. It is written in a group with a bunch of other authors called “The Assassins Collective”. It’s a cool little story, and I evourage everyone to check it out! For the first week or two it will be free, so there ya go 🙂

Anyways, sorry for the radio silence recently. I’ve been hard at work trying to produce these novels, and I’m excited to finally break out onto the indie author scene.

More details coming soon!


Updates on self-publishing

Hello friends!

It’s been a while since my last blog post, but don’t worry! I promise that I haven’t slacked off in my writing. There have been some developments, however…

So, first thing’s first: I’ve decided to shelve “The Edge of Light and Shadows” for now. The decision was not an easy one for me, but I’m positive that it was the right one. For one thing, I think I was being a little overzealous in diving into such a large project having never finished a full novel before. After outlining it, it was going to be well over 200,000 words (my previous projects never even broke 20k). Second, I recently read a book by Chris Fox titled “Six Figure Author” that talked about using data to sell books online. In the book, he mentioned that the ideal formula for selling books on Amazon involves pumping out a book every few months. Needless to say the book inspired me. I wanted to publish on Amazon and build an entrepreneurial author platform from scratch.

I took a week off and cooked up a new world, a new plot, and a new outline, and I feel like I had a stroke of genius (or, at the very least, a mild stroke of inspiration). I came up with an idea for a story I call “Ranger’s Oath”. It is going to be a series of fantasy novels ranging between 60-80k, and it will follow a ranger’s apprentice and a mage-in-training who uncover a plot that could destroy the last surviving kingdom of mankind.

The best part? I’m almost halfway done with my new book. In only two and a half weeks! I plan on also writing a prequel novella before I release. So after editing and setting everything up, you can expect a release by May 2017.

I’m going to get back to work.


Five great resources for new authors!

Hi friends,

In my relentless quest to do research on what will make my writing career a reality, I have discovered that many resources exist out there to help indie authors break out and be successful. This is going to be a short post, so I’ll just go ahead and get to it:

  • The Writing Excuses Podcast: hosted by Brandon Sanderson, Dan Wells, Howard Tayler, and Mary Robinette Kowal. 15 minute episodes that help to teach writers how to improve their writing and find success in their careers (heavy emphasis on traditional publishing).
  • The Creative Writing Career Podcast:  hosted by Stephan Bugaj, Justin Sloan, and Kevin Tumlinson. This one is quickly becoming my all-time favorite, simply because the focus seems to be on indie authors rather than traditionally published ones. This podcast is laden with good information on exactly how to sell your book, and how to break out as a self-pub author.
  • Kindlepreneur: This website is an awesome resource if you want to learn about marketing your books. The emphasis (made obvious by the title) is on publishing with Amazon and how to sell books in the Kindle marketplace.
  • KDP Rocket: This is a cool little website that lets you search for key words in Amazon’s search engines. The idea is for authors to be able to write to market by searching for those keywords (and niche markets) that will result in higher book sales and SEO placement in Amazon. Just so you know, the service itself is not free.
  • Six Figure Author: I know that there are dozens (if not hundreds) of books out there that claim to have the secret formula to help writers become successful, but “Six Figure Author” by fellow indie author Chris Fox really inspired me. In the book he goes over how to use data science to sell books, which is a key part of being successful in this day and age.

Staying Consistent: an indie author’s guide to writing

Okay, I want to start this one off with a disclaimer: I am by no stretch of the imagination an expert on the subject. I am not a published author, and I don’t even have much of a following. But I have written consistently for the last year and a half and produced three novellas, a number of short stories, and about a third of a 250,000 word book. I wanted to share my method with any aspiring writers out there because it has proven very effective for me despite me having a full-time job and a wife/small baby at home.

How did authors like Brandon Sanderson and Stephen King become some of the most famous writers in the world? The answer is that they consistently write good stories that people want to read. The sad truth is that most authors fail before they can ever be “discovered” because they write in infrequent, sporadic bursts. They have a story that they have been developing in their head for years, and they go weeks or even months in between writing sessions, where they would sit down at the keyboard and pump out 1,000 – 10,000 words in a single sitting. Could you imagine if a bodybuilder did that when it came to weightlifting? They would never see any progress! I’ve compiled a little list of things I have discovered for myself that may help any writers who have found themselves in a similar sort of situation.

You Have To Love What You Write

This one may seem a little obvious, but you would be surprised the number of writers I have spoken to who actually find little enjoyment in writing their stories. I was one of them, once. The fact of the matter is that loving what you are writing makes the whole process much, much easier. If you find yourself dreading sitting down and writing your story, maybe it is time to move on to something else and experiment with something new. Try writing a different genre. Try switching the POV, or changing the gender of your main character. If you can find yourself getting excited about your world and your plot, then that’s the best possible situation, because you will find that you are always thinking about your story, even when you are not writing it.

A Good Outline Is An Absolute Necessity

This is something that a lot of new writers have a hard time with, and for good reason: outlining can be bloody difficult. The truth is that this is going to require some experimentation. For me, I needed to put my thoughts on paper. I needed sticky notes and highlighters and notes about who my characters were and why they were doing the things that they were doing. This helped me visualize the plot and the things I wanted to happen in my story, and eventually I was able to map out chapter by chapter exactly what I wanted to happen in my book. Here is a picture of my crazy method of outlining:

I’m not going to lie to you, creating the outline for “The Edge of Light and Shadows” took me 20+ hours to complete, and I still find myself adding to it or taking things away every week, but it was well worth the late nights and constant deliberation. Now, every time I sit down to write, I know EXACTLY what I will be writing, where the story is going, and what the characters need to do to move the plot forward.

Start With Baby Steps, Then Push Yourself

Writing consistently is hard, so do not overdo it in the beginning. Take baby steps. My goal initially: 500 words per day. That made it easy for me to carve out 30-45 minutes at the end of the day before bed to write. And here is a little fun fact – the more you write, the fast (and more importantly, the better) you become. If you are consistently pumping out 500 words per day, then you are getting 3,500 words per week. That’s not an insane amount, but it is enough. Eventually you will find that your writing is getting faster, and if you push yourself you can quickly get up to 6, 7, 8 hundred words in that same little time slop you allotted yourself every night.

Remember, I have a wife, a baby, and a full-time job in corporate America that takes up the majority of my time. But like I said earlier, I have been writing consistently for well over a year, and now I am producing between 1,000 and 2,000 words every day. Let’s do the math, that’s an average of 10,500 words per week, 42,000 words per month, and over 500,000 words per year! If I stay consistent, I could be pumping out a book equivalent to “The Way of Kings” and “Mistborn”, all within one year. How’s that for motivation?

Change Up The Way You Write

This one took a little experimentation on my part, but it absolutely changed the way I write. I keep all my writing in a cloud, but I do not do most of my writing on my computer. I do it on my smartphone. I got the idea when I heard that Peter V. Brett, author of “The Warded Man”, wrote the entire novel on his iPhone while he was on the subway to work each morning. Now, I do a majority of my writing on my smartphone and it is amazing. Suddenly I was not tied down to one place. I could write while my car was at Jiffy Lube, while my wife was trying on clothes at the mall, and while I was sitting on the toilet. It opened a whole new world of possibilities for me, and it also made it easier to hit my WPD (words per day) goal, each and every day. Heck, sometimes I will even write a chapter by hand in a notebook, just to keep things fresh. Anything that helps you hit your WPD goal is a very, very good thing.


Write Always, Even When You’re Not Writing

This should go without saying, but I still think that it is worth mentioning. Always be writing. Now, I don’t mean physically write down words during every second of the day; what I mean is constantly be thinking about your story, and think of ways that it can be improved. Sometimes I find myself thinking about my book in the shower, or when I am driving into work. It’s all good, because what it is doing is keeping your aspiring writing career top of mind. You wouldn’t believe the number of times I have come up with a great idea for a scene or a great plot device while I am laying in bed trying to fall asleep, or while I am binge watching The Office for the tenth time in a row. Try to always keep your writing in the back of your head, and becoming a consistent writer will naturally follow.

Find A Way To Be Accountable

The final step is perhaps the most important, and it is to find someone to whom you can be accountable. It is so easy to slip up and not write, especially when you have a lot of things going on. Take me for example. Recently I graduated from college and packed up all of our things and moved across the country (not an easy feat with a 10 month old baby crying in the back seat), and at the end of a long day of driving, the last thing that I wanted to do was delve into my fictional world and scribble down a few paragraphs. It was my wife, bless her heart, who pushed me and reminded me to write when I did not want to. In fact, she is constantly asking me, “Blake, did you write today?” Which is something that I appreciate very much.

Accountability will keep you consistent when you get in your own way, which is bound to happen considering that we are all infallible, imperfect beings. As an old boss once told me, “We are building this ship as we are sailing it.” I hope that my little blog post has been able to give you a few ideas on how you can become a more consistent writer yourself.

Until next time,


Considering Inkshares

Hello friends,

I’m pleased to say that the progress on the Shadowbinder series is coming along nicely. It looks like I will be completing Book 1 by late summer of this year. Yay! This is pretty exciting stuff, considering it is going to be my first full-length novel. And let me tell you, this book is going to be A BEAST. I estimate that ‘The Edge of Light and Shadows’ to be somewhere between 200 and 300k words. That’s a very thick book. But hey! It’s epic fantasy. It sort of comes with the territory.

So, for those who don’t know me, I am a planner. I like to look ahead and make plans accordingly. The question has crossed my mind many times: how the heck am I going to publish this thing? I can see the way the wind is blowing, and self-publishing is obviously the way of the future (which, honestly, appeals to the entrepreneur in me), but I of course am open to other options. One of the things that has caught my attention is this service called Inkshares. For those of you who don’t know, Inkshares is a crowdfunding publisher that is similar to Kickstarter and Indiegogo, only instead of products being developed by indie types, it is books. The idea is that if a book/author gets a certain number of pre-sales, then Inkshares will publish them, giving the writer editorial services, marketing, artwork, distribution and whole list of other benefits.

I’m not going to lie, this sort of thing really intrigues me. I’ve launch a few Kickstarters in my day, and the idea of crowdfunding my work appeals to me because it is something that I understand. One of the things that scare a lot of self-published authors is the initial investment to get artwork and editing done on your book. Inkshares addresses this pain point. They also have a platform that allows a no-name like myself to garner some sort of a following, which is something that traditionally has been very hard to do.

I wanted to get your opinions on the matter. Is Inkshares something that I should pursue? Leave your comments below, or feel free to email me directly.

Thanks for reading!


Moved to Tennessee!

Hello Everybody!

Sorry that it’s been a while since my last blog post, but my family just recently moved across the country and I’ve started a new job out in Tennessee. It’s a little bit different from what I am used to in Utah, but I can tell that I am already going to like living out here.

Needless to say, I haven’t been completely unproductive over the last couple of weeks. I have managed to stay on top of my writing, and as you can see I have moved the progress bar for Shadowbinder up to 10%! We are making steady progress. On track to finish the novel by the end of 2017.

I’ve been reading “Six-Figure Author” by Chris Fox, and I have to say that the idea of using KU and publishing independently is very appealing to me. It seems like that is the direction the industry is heading, and I feel like it will allow me to simultaneously be an author and an entrepreneur. I’ll have to do a little more research before I make my decision (luckily I have time… I don’t even have a book to publish yet), but honestly I am leaning more toward indie pub and away from traditional pub.

My writing is improving every day, and I can tell that I am getting much faster. Even with my day job, I am managing to pump out about 1,000 words per day, which is almost double what I am used to doing. Hopefully, if I am consistent enough and I don’t give up, and can be doing this full-time in the next few years.

Anyways, I look forward to updating you more in the near future! Until then,

Stay Classy.