Random Check-in, Nov 2019

Hey folks! I know I don’t come around very often, but I figured I’d just drop by and touch base. I’ve been very busy with the kids, finding an out-of-the-house job(I should start in Dec, barring unforeseens) and of course, writing.
My writing projects right now are to finish a weird west horror novel set in 1870’s Nevada at a silver mine and the town that grew up around it. It’s got all kind of spooky/creepy/generally weird stuff and I’m about 2/3 of the way through the first draft. I’ve also posted all of my first sci-fi novel, “Logicians of Ambervale,” and my first fantasy book in a new series, “Breaking The Word,” as well as 3/4 of the second book in the fantasy series, “Root of The Word,” over at my Patreon.
I also have written a few short stories, selling four, this year, and have a metric buttload of ideas for more. I’ll try to remember to update the bibliography page soon.
I participated in Inktober this year, which is a motivational event like NaNoWriMo, but instead of trying to write 50K words in a month, you draw one picture a day for a month. The event originator puts up a list of prompts, and I took those to build a story told in images, day by day. I only made it to I think day 13 or so? But it was fun to draw and I’ve been doing some drawing since. This includes attempts to draw characters from my stories and moving some characters from Inktober into digital format via my Surface & pen. I plan to upload the originals or digitized versions of them to my Patreon at some point and will link back to them when I do.
I’ll also soon be rejiggering my Patreon patron levels to allow for more content to be released at lower levels and hopefully encourage more people who aren’t related to me to support my work.
For now, though, the novel calls. Thanks for dropping by.

Patreon Update, Discord, and Fiction

Hey there, so, yeah, it’s been a while since I posted over here. I didn’t realize until just now responding to a comment how long it had been. Sorry. Most of my daily/ weekly posting is on my Patreon now. I’m currently serializing a former NaNoWriMo novel, The Logicians of Ambervale, editing it and souping up the plot as I go.
It’s becoming what I had hoped for it, but it’s tough to describe without spoilers. The basic story is that Elamon, a youth on the verge of becoming a man in his society, is sent on a quest to investigate and perhaps solve a shortage of metals used in scientific equipment. This is a very advanced tech society, but they don’t have fire and therefore smelting or other means to extracting metal from ores. They rely entirely on what they can pan out or chemically derive, and even that is rare given their obvious lack of glass. What they do have, though, is amber, which they control in what at first appears to be a magical way. As the series progresses, though, the science is revealed, along with social truths and a history of his people that Elamon never suspected.
If that piques your interest, hop on the above linked Patreon page and sign up for $5/mo and catch up Elamon and his friends, Bagba, the Agathi lizardperson hunter and Utia, the girl with electric purple eyes, as well as gaining access to my previous serialized fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, in its entirely before it goes to the next revision and leaps into the yawning pit of submissions to agents and editors.
I also post the occasional short story for all patrons ($1/ mo and up), anecdotes about funny stuff my son says, and updates on my writing a couple of times a week. I’m also working on additional features covering my various fiction worlds, Dungeons and Dragons maps, modules and creatures, and paintings and sculptures.
I’m also investigating creating Discord roles for patrons interested in that kind of thing, as I have been using Discord for gaming on Roll20 and general social contact.
If any of this interests you, please feel free to comment here or pop over and sign up for Patreon and leave comments on the related posts I’ve recently made.
I also also have an anthology coming out next month(September 2018) called “End of the World Potluck,” which is basically as advertised. As we get closer to release, I’ll post again about this, with links to the Facebook page, a cover reveal, and more about the premise.
Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!

Patreon, Ko-fi, Drip, etc

As some of you may know, Patreon recently announced a change to its terms that shifts the onus of most of the fees onto the patron. For some creators, this may result in more money, but the manner in which the whole thing is being executed leads to some less than pleasant conclusions about their attitude toward folks like me who have handfuls of followers and take in gas money instead of hundreds or thousands of followers making what I would consider more than a decent living.
This is business these days, I know. One cannot simply have a business and provide a service and have everyone involved go about their merry. No, one must channel the shark, become bloodthirsty and honed, sharp as a razor, trimming away the less productive parts of your business and feeding the best producing, striving for the top. Not everyone should be at the top, and everyone, clearly, cannot be at once. It’s a contentious, destructive system which will only end badly for all. I feel like I’ve veered off into a political rant. let’s steer this boat back on course.
I’ve been with Patreon for nearly six months now, and they’ve been good months. I’ve written half of my fantasy novel, Breaking The Word, as well as a few short stories, and felt more motivated, knowing people were actually waiting for and enjoying my work, rather than tossing short story after short story into the void and jiggling the line to try to attract new sales, only to have the line snap or have dropped the wrong bait for the wrong fish. I’m not sure where all these fishing/ocean metaphors are coming from. I don’t fish and I’m not generally comfortable in water I can’t stand up in…
I’ll be keeping an eye on the situation with Patreon as well as searching for new ways to keep myself going. As mentioned int he title, I’ve started a ko-fi page, which allows people to drop by and donate “a coffee”- about $3US – in support of my work. It’s not as directly tied to production as Patreon, or recurring as a subscription, but it’s something. Once I get a feel for the site, I’ll be posting content over there, some stories that have appeared only in print (not ebooks) photos of current sculpture and game creation projects, etc. This stuff will also go up on my Patreon whilst I continue to use it and have patrons over there as those people have stuck with me and deserve to see it first.
I’m also looking into Drip, which I believe goes live from its current closed beta early next year and looking into starting up some projects on Ratafire, which i know nearly nothing about and seems to have manifested itself in one of my browser tabs recently. Whoever sent me that link, thanks!
For now, though, I must attend the real world and ponder the ever-shifting landscape at the intersection of business and art. Thanks for dropping by! Keep reading!
And here’s my link for ko-fi, if you feel so inclined. Buy Me a Coffee

Where have you been? Where are you going?

These are two very important questions. We wonder them about everyone we meet, to some degree. The more a person stands out to us, the more deeply we consider the person’s upbringing, the path that brought them before us, and where their bring them next. From the jerk who cuts us off in traffic, to the cashier behind the counter at the coffee shop, everyone has a backstory. Everyone has a concept of what tomorrow will hold for them. Of course, we never have the whole story, even on ourselves. How deeply can we know anyone indeed, with such a flawed self image? But we go on because what else can we do? We exist on minimal information, gathered by weak senses and stored in unreliable media. So we must be aware of these failings in ourselves, in others. We forgive more easily when we know the story. We accept that this person is in a bad mood if we know their mother is in the hospital and they haven’t slept in days. This is their story. We’re by and large persuaded not to burden others with our story, not to “overshare” and make others uncomfortable in how much of reality we make them acknowledge. But that’s the good stuff. The depth of character, the convolutions of the story come from the details, however gruesome or uncomfortable.
Two things people often avoid discussing in “polite company” are religion and politics. These things cause arguments because we often take to them without a great deal of insight as to why we feel that way or believe this notion. When we are forced to examine our own characters, we have to deal with our flaws and assumptions, and life becomes more complicated. Our simplifications, our forgivenesses, which need to be revisited from time to time lest we forgive too much, are like armor, bulky, restrictive, and in time, soiled, and in poor repair.
Writing is often like pulling off that old armor, working over the kinks in the maille, hammering out the dents in the plates, and giving the whole thing a good scrub down. To write, to express oneself truly through any artistic medium, is to be forced to look at oneself naked in the mirror, note the stretchmarks, the scars, and find a way to present them to others in a way that reminds them of their own scars and wrinkles just the right amount. Too much and people will turn away, unable to bear the light. Too little, and the connection won’t be there. You end up with another piece of entertainment that means little, if anything. It’s our job to always mean something.
Recently, I published a novelette through Pro Se Productions. This story, Harridan: Sacrificial Lamb, is one of a woman who has spent her life looking at the uncomfortable. It follows her, harasses her, almost, because sometimes it seems she’s the only one who can see it. Harridan is a reporter on the occult and strange going on all around us, the scars and stretchmarks of the world, if you will, things no one wants to examine, or even acknowledge, but everyone has. I don’t know if I’ll get to write another Harridan story, as the character isn’t mine and the structure of the series is such that each episode is up for grabs, but I think it’s been pretty successful, and makes me want to publish more individual works. I certainly have the breadth of worlds for such an endeavor. There’s so much I’ve written that sits, in need of an ending or a good polish. I’m looking at a few things right now, and have been investigating Kindle Direct Publishing as an avenue for putting them out.
Should I release another story, I’ll post again. Until then, keep reading!

A Very Unofficial Guide to the Tarot: Prelude

This post isn’t /exactly/ about writing, but somewhat about creativity and Tarot and is by a writer friend. It’s the first in a series about the Tarot and I’m told will probably have a lot of swearing. Cheers.

Another Universe, Please

So I’m home from work, and thus have a glass of pomegranate booze (which seems appropriately mythological, and while I’m unsure how much I can drink before I have to spend six months in a chill and dark underworld, I already live in New England so it’s not like that will be new). I have also reset my WP password to be yet another string of obscenities, because oh my God with this letter plus number plus nonalphanumeric symbol plus case changes plus your mom–like, can we give up and just read my retinas already?


There was a lot of interest in Drunk Izzy Explains the Tarot, so I’ll be doing that. The Tarot being pretty large, this is gonna be a multi-part post, interspersed with blog tour stuff when Highland Dragon Warrior gets released next week (9/5, and did you notice how I worked that in? Drunk Izzy:…

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Going Solo

For four years now, I’ve slogged it through the mud of alien worlds and earthbound dystopias, planting flags and learning to communicate with the natives. I’ve written about flying men, paranormal investigating women, creatures without gender or with many at once, plying the oceans, the depths of interstellar space and the interstices of our bodies. All of these stories, though, have one thing in common (besides me 😉 ). They’re all been written to stand alongside other stories, other worlds, should to shoulder to build anthologies and magazines.
Now I’m onto two new projects. One is one I’ve mentioned before, but bears repeating. I’ve created a Patreon page, here, where you can follow the creation of my first serialized novel. I’ve been increasing my rate of posting new chapters, and hope to hit one chapter a week in October. (EDIT: I am currently doing one chapter a week, with the next, chapter nine, coming up Tuesday!)
Follow Celus, the wizard’s apprentice, as he tries to carry out his deceased master’s plan to defeat a conclave of evil wizards; Agit, Captain of the Guard for the small town of Greenpond; Meira, newly minted cleric of the god of travel and messengers, and Korl, a Dwarven ironmonger who is more than he looks. Will they save the world or be too consumed by their own worldly distractions to do what must be done?
The other project, about which I am also very excited, is one for Pro Se Productions’ new series. The plan is for one new story to be released each week, with four different main characters taking focus in turns, like the “movie of the week” from TV in decades past. My character is Harridan. Like Monk, Kojak, or Kolchak, she goes by just the one name, investigating the strange and coming up with answers nobody else could find. This first installment, by me (while further episodes will be taken up by others) is slated to come out in October.
Thanks for stopping by. Keep reading, and don’t forget to drop by my Patreon page. Even $1 a month helps me, and gets you access to short stories, some of which haven’t been seen before, others were published in obscure locales, as ell as humorous stories of my being a stay at home dad. At $5 a month, you can read along as Breaking the Word is serialized and see more fun content like character sketches and some material rewards such as bookmarks and post cards when those become available.

Publishing News – July 2017

Hey there, thanks for dropping by. I’ve just added a couple of things to the bibliography page, both reprints, my first two ever! That was something of a milestone. For one of the stories, “Mirrors of Mars,” it’s the first time in electronic form in the wild, and its original run was with a very small press. It’s a Ray Bradbury tribute piece, on his Mars, which was the theme of the original anthology, Dandelions of Mars, from Whortleberry Press. This time around, it’s headlining Digital Science Fiction’s Celestial Beans anthology! My name on the front of a book, instead of being buried in the “and More…” section is also kind of a big deal for me, let alone that my name comes first!
The Patreon is rolling along, with about twenty posts since the start of the month. Mostly, it’s writing updates, keeping people informed about the progress of Breaking the Word, the fantasy novel I’m working on right now, and a couple of character sketches. I also have one stand alone short story in the Dieselpunk/Atompunk genres available for all patrons to read and will be posting the first chapter of Breaking the Word sometime next week. I encourage you to come over and check it out, maybe throw a dollar a month at me for some first looks at new work and to help me keep writing. Thanks!

Let’s Try This One More Time

So here we are, a week and change into my Patreon campaign (which makes it sound like a limited time event, but for now I plan it to go as long as I can produce/ keep breathing, so hopefully, quite a while.) I have a couple of followers at the highest support level enjoying all I have to create and have run a poll asking what genre people want to read. It came up “fantasy,” so I brainstormed on a novel idea I had in the last year but never made time to explore. The next day, I started writing. I will hit seven thousand words tonight, eight if I’m lucky. It’s swimming along nicely, with my planning staying ahead of my writing enough to just keep writing when I get the chance.
In other writing news, I got paid for my second reprint ever! Woo! As soon as I get a link for the book, Fae Wings, I’ll post it on my bibliography page and update that with a couple other works. I also got a rejection today for a story I think it one of, if not the best short stories I’ve written. This was the fifth or six place I sent this story, but at least I got some advice that feels actionable as well as some nice words over all and an invitation to continue submitting. I’m going to look back over that one with the advice in mind and I have two more markets lined up for it before it becomes a Patreon exclusive read for a while and then goes to Amazon. For other writers, how many times do you send out a story before you give up on it?
Thanks for dropping by, don’t forget to check out my Patreon and FB pages!

Charting a New Course

Life is about change. Once upon a time, I was alone. I lived in a pit of a basement apartment working a crazy schedule. I played games on my computer and puttered around with writing. Then, I had a girlfriend and we did things together. She made me go…outside! Then eventually, she told me I was going to be a father, something I never thought I’d be. This cast a whole new light on my writing and I dug in. That doesn’t mean I wrote better, just more. More leads to better, so they say, and in the four years since, I do hope I’ve improved some. I’ve certainly sold a moderate pile of stories, even my first poem, and been invited to work on projects. That is something.

But now things have changed even more drastically, with twins and a house, and even less time. Does less time mean no writing? No. It does mean I need to focus more, make every page count. My days of sending stories to random markets seem to be sliding to a close.

I need another outlet for stories that didn’t meet with gatekeepers’ approval on the first or second shot and a means to see a return on all the hours and days I worked on those pieces.

To this end, I propose a new change. Patreon. Patreon, for those who don’t know, is a website created to help creative people bring their work, be it photography, painting, videos or writing (amongst others) to their audience directly and to create something of a community.

Patreon is a subscription based service, allowing the user to choose from a number of support levels. I will be starting at one dollar per month. You can subscribe, read some of my work before anyone else, see exclusive blog posts, even some readings by me. But there will also be other perks, such as (depending on backer level) port cards, coloring pages, refrigerator magnets and whatever else I can think of, possibly T-shirts. Many will be short/ limited runs. Others will be early runs of promo materials, which, like the fiction, you’ll have first access to, months before it hits Amazon and other markets.

Amazon may allow self publishing, but it is a very impersonal, strictly business, environment. I will utilize Amazon and other online outlets, but I hope to form a team on Patreon who will help me find the best direction for my work. Which will persist? My  steampunk stories? Harder scifi? Fantasy?

I’m looking to start up later this month (*cough*, June 30 is my birthday *cough* a great day to sign up), likely starting with a series of steampunk stories of our friends Aeolus and Chiron. A few of their tales have come out in anthologies, and the plan now is to flesh out the great, extended arcs into novella length collections. There’s also a series of novels on the horizon. I edit and post my unreleased novels from a number of genres, serially, a chapter at a time. I’ll be looking for remarks and suggestions toward improvement, but of course, such aren’t required.

I’ll be back on later this week with an update on recent and upcoming publications and a link for that Patreon page once I’ve set it live. Thanks as always for dropping by and keep reading and writing!

Here’s that link! https://www.patreon.com/JohnAMcColley

“Delve Deep” Dropping


A writing compatriot of mine, Jeremy Hicks, has another book in his series coming out soon. If you picked up Capes and Clockwork a while back, or the follow up, Capes and Clockwork 2 to read my stories, you probably enjoyed his steamy super tales as well. Click through for the cover reveal and info about the release: Cycle of Ages Saga: Delve Deep is the third installment of a fantasy series set in Faltyr, a world beset by magic and mayhem. Don’t forget to go back and read books 1: CoA_FindersKeeper01.jpg

and 2:



Thanks for dropping by. I’ll have some updates on my own work soon and a link to a release for another anthology I’m part of that will be happening July 1 as well.