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Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Wed Jun 24, 2015 6:36 pm
by Phill
Okay, lots and lots of things have happened since my last post.

I'll squeeze it into a nutshell:

1. The Kickstarter Campaign tanked.
2. I finished two of the three novels in a new (old) trilogy (See this link for information about that)
3. Celebrated my 7th anniversary with swords and jousting.
4. I was injured in a fall (Concussion, strains, sprains) caused by a lack of critical thinking skills and stress.
5. I moved to a new place that is not as conducive to writing (or may be more-so, hard to say thus far).
6. Just getting to the point where I MAY exhibit some interest in writing creatively for the first time in two months (or more).

It's been kind of a shitty Spring. I'm hoping summer is going to be a lot better.

Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:37 am
by Phill
It's now Fall, and, unfortunately, things are even worse.

I have several medical issues that have yet to be definitively diagnosed, let alone treated, (I rely on the VA, so I think I'm doomed) which severely limit my ability to focus on much of anything, let alone my writing. The VA is responding at about half the speed of smell, and I have serious concerns about the competence of my primary care physician.

Because of my background, with a 20 year career in the medical field, I'm not the easiest patient to treat. I've been around too many doctors to hold them in any kind of awe and, probably more telling, I ask a lot of questions. Because of my various issues, I tend to keep up on the latest peer-reviewed and tested findings regarding them. Apparently, my doctor doesn't do any of that. She disregarded my stated issues and concerns and focused on (what I considered and still consider to be) problems of her own making.

The long and short of it is that she didn't listen to me. She is not the first VA doctor I've had who seems to do this, either. Her predecessor was equally awful, but at least did focus on what I was saying, even if she didn't do much about it. Because of that, and because she didn't answer my questions, I ended up having a relatively minor condition in my left leg turn into one that could cause me to lose it.

I'm submitting paperwork today to "fire" her, and requesting another doctor.

I have a rather large amount of pain and swelling in my leg now due to an unnecessarily potent medication with (what I later learned were) well-known (except she wouldn't tell me what they were when I asked) side-effects that made my left leg problem far worse. I can still feel my foot, my leg still holds my weight, circulation seems to be intact, so I'm hopeful I can keep it. But the pain and swelling impede my ability to sit and write (or do much of anything else that requires any typing), as well as my sleep - which makes me foggy and unable to focus on writing very well.

This is only the capper of a truly awful year, health-wise, though. I've been having increased pain and decreased mobility all summer, leading me to reluctantly close my IT business of 18 years at the beginning of October. I can't do for my clients what I need to do to provide the kind of service I'd expect to get. Well, to be honest, I CAN do it, but most folks are put off by the screaming in pain that accompanies things I have to do such as bending, kneeling, lifting and other things one does when setting up or servicing a computer.

If there is any bright side to all of this it's that all of these things are working up a gigantic rage in me which usually fuels my writing. That I can't vent it very well (or at all) is a bother. But I hope when I do get back to it, my writing will be spectacular and prolific.

As of now, I'm not writing on anything, though I desperately want to. I just can't sit long enough to get into a roll and write well. I can't focus well in the short-term due to continuous fatigue and/or pain. My mobility issues are messing up my typing (accuracy is important if anyone other than me is going to read it, after all, and spell check ruins the flow). And to be honest, I can't really get my head into the writing right now.

So, sadly, all of my projects are on hold for the moment. The good news is that I expect my conditions can be treated and the issues resolved. It's just a matter of getting the VA to do it BEFORE I lose my leg.

(ring, ring went my phone)

As I wrote this, I got a call-back from one of the VA clinics I called almost ten days ago to make an appointment. They told me their earliest appointment was in January (about 6-7 weeks from now). I told them it was moot, since I was going to head to the Emergency Room for them to address the increased pain in my leg (new as of last night) which that clinic, had they been available, could have helped treat. I'm only waiting on traffic to clear right now, then will head out.


I'll let you know what happened once I'm back to writing again.

Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Sat Feb 25, 2017 1:14 pm
by Phill
Four months on from the disaster that was the last quarter of the year last year, I'm doing somewhat better in some ways and a bit worse in others. As one gets older, and without a good, personal manual on what to expect from getting older, one learns to adapt, but one also learns what's more expected than other things.

The good news is that I'm actually "generally healthy" for someone my age. The bad news is depressing in a "so, what do I do now?" sort of way I won't go into except to say that a disabled placard is probably in my car's future sooner than later.

At least I'll find better parking most of the time.

I also had a major issue with my computer. Yes, I worked in the field, but couldn't really nail down what the problem was. As it happened, it was two problems, not just one, and both my main hard drives failed for entirely different reasons a few weeks apart. I bought them at the same time, so it's sort of fitting they died within a month of each other. While I wasn't certain what the problems were, for the most part, the death of my hard drives didn't impact my data at all (I'm pathological in my backing up), so nothing was actually lost other than the time it took to restore/reinstall things. It was essentially an annoyance more than a disaster.

But with respect to my writing, the medical issues I faced took too much of my focus, and inspiration mostly died, so I did virtually no writing at all these past few months. That, fortunately, is beginning to change.

There is also a new thing I'm working on in increments - converting all of my e-books into concurrent paperback books, all available in the same place. I don't HAVE to do this, mind you, but while no one has mentioned it (no one ever mentions these things), I grew up with paper, not plastic, and I like books with actual pages. I figure other people do as well.

The pricing is mostly set at 9.99, which is determined by printing costs of the individual book(s) and Amazon's cut. The printing costs vary, so some books (the longer ones) will cost more because $9.99 won't cover Amazon's minimum required pricing.

As for what books are being converted first, I'm focusing on the SCOUTS series, since that's most popular among my readers. They probably won't be in order, though, mostly because none of the first books had "full art" for their covers. Full art means the image seen in an e-book cover extends to a back cover that is cropped out for the e-book. That means I have to deal with getting "full art" for those, too.

To be clear, both e-book and paperback will be available for all my books eventually - probably within the next month or two. I have 15 books on Amazon now, five of which, (Including the last two SCOUTS books) have been converted and are available as paperbacks.

I did start on a new story, but I'm mostly using it for exercise and inspiration at the moment. Whether it gets finished remains to be seen. I'd like to get back to some of my other books, and may publish a few that have been "finished" as parts of series or trilogies in the next several months. I've always hated waiting for new books in a series/trilogy to come out, so was thinking of releasing them all at once like I did the Sunderland trilogy. I'm re-examining that practice since I'm not sure where some of these will actually end (meaning, they'll probably end up being serialized like the SCOUTS books are, which means they can be put out sooner than later).

There will be new stuff this year. Potentially, a hell of a lot of new stuff. I can think of at least three books ready to go, maybe as many as six with some editing (which is time-consuming, but necessary). I'm making no promises as to what or when anymore because it seems every time I do, something comes along to kick over my sandcastle. Just keep an eye out and I'll be sure to announce it when it happens. The "upcoming" part of the site will give you clues as to what book(s) are coming.

I've not exactly enjoyed my retirement from my "day job" so far. But I have a new doctor with whom I'm relatively pleased, my ailments are being addressed (one way or the other, since some won't ever be "fixed"), I AM back to writing, even if currently at a fraction of the pace I was going before. I will be putting out new books and I'm upgrading ALL of them so that if you like holding paper, you will be accommodated. I'll no longer be publishing "just" e-books. It's only a bit more trouble (mostly formatting and getting the art perfectly sized) which I think is worth it. I didn't do it before because it required a lot more steps in a different (but related) department through Amazon. Now that it's all in the same place, it makes things MUCH easier to deal with.

So keep watching the author's page for new books, and come back here every week or so to see what's new. Now that I know more about where my health is going, I'll do my best not to disappoint.

Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Fri Mar 03, 2017 1:44 pm
by Phill
I hope you're checking back every week, because much to everyone's surprise (even mine), I finished the conversions from e-book to paperback on all of my books since my last post.

For anyone keeping track, that was a week ago.

As it happened, despite the computer crash, I reinstalled the graphics programs and purchases I had made for the cover art I had been doing before, along with the saved cover art files, and managed to create full sized paperback cover art that, if not exactly what I had before with the e-books, emulated them to a large degree. The book listings on my author's page are still the thumbs from the e-books, but on the individual books (e-book or paperback) the covers can be seen as they are on each.

The better news is that I'm pretty clear on how to create new art much more quickly. The new Kindle Direct Publishing (KDP) methods for paperback books are simpler to deal with than the Create Space ones. And consolidating everything under "one roof" is advantageous in managing them.

In any event, I have ALL of my currently available books in BOTH formats - e-book for those who like the techy side of things, and paperbacks for those who prefer the more traditional ways to read books.

As I mentioned before, I've also got a few books in mind for publishing in the near future, with the leading candidate being "Warrior King", technically the second of the Warrior Trilogy, but Warrior's Land is a LONG way from being done, so it may end with Warrior King. They're all "technically" stand-alone stories, so howsoever it's classified, it will be done one at a time.

I'm also looking at getting out the first book in the Full Spectrum series (Also, likely, a trilogy). Full Spectrum started off as a single novel of that title, with hugely uneven pacing, so I expanded the last third of it into a book, then needed to expand it again using the epilogue. I have the first book edited and most of the cover art done, so it's pretty much ready to go. The second book has most of the editing done, but no cover art, and may go out toward the end of the year. The third book has about 28,000 words in 4 chapters, but is still under construction, and I have no ideas about going forward from it, so look for a trilogy there.

Finally, I have the Paladins series that merged two separate book ideas into one. There is one novel done, but needing editing and given its length (over 115,000 words), will probably be split into two, with any number of future novels possible. That series needs both extensive editing and cover art for (very likely) two novels. There's a good transition point in the middle of the book to go from one book to the next. I'm working on the second/third novel in stages at this point, but don't expect to finish it this year.

So for this year, I'm trying not to start any NEW projects, and am focusing on getting the ones I have done ready.

SCOUTS 5 "Wind Child" is still being worked on, and some ideas aren't panning out. Keep in mind that none of these books are "outlined", and are based on simply a general idea of what they're about. I actually have twice as many books started as I have published, and even about ten others that are done, but for a variety of reasons I don't plan to ever publish. Some of the unfinished ones are pretty lengthy at this point, but I have no idea when, or if, they'll get finished, let alone published. I get inspiration to add or change things as I write, depending on the circumstances and how I envision the characters reacting to them, while trying (and not always succeeding) to get them from point A to point B.

Wind Child was started in the early 2000's, but I burned out on SCOUTS and went on to other things. I've since returned to it in bits and pieces, but I don't expect Wind Child to be finished this year (given I have at least five other books to deal with). Fortunately, I'm feeling much better and have more energy to write, so anything's possible. I also have more TIME to write, so that helps as well.

Look for new stuff in the next few months!

Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Fri Aug 11, 2017 1:26 am
by Phill
Howdy everyone!

It seems there's a name for the issues that stood in the way of my writing. Post Concussion Syndrome. Basically, it's kind of a nasty sort of Cling-on from a concussion that can cause a variety of symptoms for anywhere from weeks to forever. the symptoms include memory issues, like being able to remember words. Kind of important when one is writing and doesn't have a Thesaurus stapled to one's eyelids.

That's the bad news. The good news is that I finally broke through the writer's block I've had for almost a year, and in sort of a big way. I've written about 200,000 words on 3 novels in the last two and a half months. The novels are... weird. But they spoke to me, and I incorporated many weird ideas I had for other novels I started, but never finished, into them. It's a, well, probably a series, but I know for sure it'll be a trilogy at the least. It may go to four books.

Describing it is... ...difficult... because it covers a lot of subjects. Technically, it's a hard science fiction series, mostly a character study, with only a small amount of "action" thrown in. The working title of the series is Guardians of Destiny, and covers a very wide array of relevant topics like time travel, genetic research, space exploration, wormholes, nuclear war (and how to prevent it), along with sex, interpersonal relationships, geniuses, AI's, the concept of self and a bunch of other stuff that's been of interest to me over the years. Were I to title the series more honestly, it would probably be "the incredibly self-indulgent series".

I'm working on titles for the individual books with the first being "Time Matters", the second being "Family Matters" and the third being "Life Matters" If there's a fourth book, it'll be "Tomorrow Matters" (probably).

I also found someone with some education who can do copy editing for me, and help out with my word odd usages that I've been known to do (that was intentional, by the way). I have to get the wife out of the house to read aloud so I can hear what I'm saying and realize I said something stupid. I don't always have that luxury. So someone with eyes on my words helps out. He's thinking of starting a copy editing service, and needs to know his speeds and how well he does overall. So, I'm having him start with the Scouts series and will be updating each of those as he finishes. This, I expect, will take a couple of years to complete, by which time my wife will be able to help me finance some of this stuff, too.

In any event, I'm back in the writing saddle after WAY too long. I took the tack of getting back into it by doing some very self-indulgent writing. I'll publish it, sooner or later, but probably not before the end of the year. I'm looking at getting the Full Spectrum series up and done (only the last parts of the last book to go, assuming it doesn't turn into another clown car). I'd also like to get Scouts 5: Wind Child up and going. I had some new ideas, and I've been doing some writing on that, but it's slow. Maybe next year some time, maybe after that.

Some of you may have noticed the site layout is different. The style I once used for the site didn't fully support the new version of site I have, so I picked a new style. I'll also be working on adding https support to the site for better security. For the most part, that's probably not a huge thing, but it would adhere to industry standards.

Health-wise, I'm doing much, much better.

So, another nutshell, crushed, spread on toast and ready for consumption. New books, probably by the end of the year, are expected, with more to definitely follow next year.

For more on the Guardians of Destiny, I'll be adding backstory and book discussions in the near future.

Thanks for reading!

Re: Being P. H. Campbell

Posted: Wed Oct 18, 2017 2:17 pm
by Phill
For the record, the Guardians of Destiny, currently a trilogy with 2 3/4 of the books written, have been taken off the "likely to publish soon" list for a variety of reasons. The chief reason begin, it really wasn't that interesting. It had moments, but it didn't 'grab'. In flavor and style, it sort of reminds me of a book I read 30 years ago called "Earth Abides" by George R. Stewart. It's more human interest than action/adventure, and action/adventure tends to be the thing these days, and is more along what I've always written. For the record, I loved that book.

I'm calling it my "vanity" trilogy right now, since I mostly wrote about what I knew about, and not so much for "entertainment". I may revisit it, give it more kick and finish it, but when I ran out of steam (as in interest in finishing it), I decided to shelve it all and not put anything from it out until I had a chance to do more editing/fixing.

What it did do, however, was actually pretty important. It got me back in the habit of writing again. And it led me to write SEREN: The Secret of Magic, which is currently available on Amazon.

THAT book WAS a record, by the way, or at least a personal best in speed-writing. 80,000 words in the rough draft, 92,000 words in the final edit and from the start of writing to the date of publication was 28 days. Unicorn Dreams had a rough draft in 13 days, which SEREN tied, but Unicorn Dreams was only 68,000 words in rough draft, so that was 12000 more words in the same time frame. And Unicorn Dreams took 20 years to get published. The trivial things one remembers about one's stuff can be annoying, huh?

That speedball record is also what kept be from finishing the GoD trilogy, or even editing it. If I finish it, I may put it out there. I wouldn't put my life on pause waiting for it, though.

I'm doing relatively well otherwise, having achieved a state of relative equilibrium in my health. That, too, facilitated my writing since I wasn't preoccupied with the idea of dying anymore.

Right now, I'm taking a somewhat slower track on the second book SEREN: The Secret of the World (Tentative title, I may change that to "The Secret of the First Ones"). It's less gelled in what I want to do with it (lots of possibilities, which tend to slow me down trying to decide how, or if, to use them, along with maintaining consistency with the first book since I have to take that into consideration instead of just making it up as I go) but it also has a bit more action than the first one. When you're skipping an airship like a flung stone along the top of the ocean in a storm trying to make it to land since no one knows how to swim and personal flotation devices weren't standard equipment, well, that was one fun scene to write. There will be others. That book is only at about 20,000 words, though, and I hope to have a rough draft by the end of next month, and beyond that I'm not saying anymore because when I do, I always miss my self-imposed deadlines (Potential traditional publishers, don't read that! As if that'll ever happen.)

Another thing is that my Sunderland Saga trilogy titling got messed up on Amazon. Well, admittedly, it was probably my fault. So I had to "unpublish" the three books (and both formats) then publish them again with the titles corrected. That means new webpages for them and new links needed. Once they're put together on the same page (with different format options), I'll re-link them here on the fan site. You MAY see "not available" on them on my Author's Page, which means those are the ones that were "unpublished". Amazon considers it important to have every "edition" of the books out there, even if you can't buy it. The books that are "live" should be able to be purchased.

Anyhow, that's pretty much it for now.

All of that is in flux but should be fixed by the middle of next week.