Wednesday, July 31, 2013


We're getting close, Peeps! The Winds of Heaven and Earth is about halfway through the editing process, and I'm wrapping up the formatting for the print version this week. Work on the sequel, The Dark Paths of the World--which stands at about 24,000 of the projected 150,000 words--is on hold while I put the finishing touches on WHE.  We're looking at a September launch date for both print and Kindle versions.

My big news is: I'm launching a website tomorrow. It will be my Grand Central Station for all my online author presences, like this blog, my Facebook Fan page, Twitter, etc. But it will also feature showcases of my writing, a bio, contact pages, and links to where you can find my work--and most importantly, a showcase and samples from my books and novellas. I'll post again tomorrow with the website address.

I will be providing a link to a sample excerpt from WHE--more than 100 pages from the beginning of the novel, free, in a pdf format.  If you like what you read, please start the buzz.  September is just around the corner.

Switching gears: I had the pleasure this past weekend to scuba certify (I'm a PADI intructor) local radio personality Preston Elliot and his family. Preston has been the anchor of the long-running morning show "Preston and Steve" on the iconic classic rock station WMMR (93.3 FM) in Philadelphia for as long as I can remember. On Monday morning. Preston and the other members of the show talked about his experiences and scuba for a good twenty minutes, and I got a nice plug.

You can hear the show's podcast here; the scuba discussion starts around the 1 hour 23 minute mark.

See you tomorrow when I launch the website.

Friday, July 12, 2013

On the Road and Going Deep

Just a short post; in the North Carolina Outer Banks on the road to Beaufort, NC for a long weekend of wreck diving.  For those of you who don't know--but could probably infer from my ubiquitous profile pic all over social media--I'm an avid scuba diver and a PADI instructor; I've been diving for over 25 years. (Yeah, since I was 10, right?) I love the thrill of seeing a wreck emerge from the gloom on a descent--it never fails to raise the hairs on the back of my neck.  There's something about seeing a ship on the ocean floor and knowing the history behind her, and in the case of natural wrecks (there are many sunk deliberately as artificial reefs and scuba diver attractions), the story behind that particular ship's demise.

The Dark Paths of the World (DPW), the sequel to The Winds of Heaven and Earth (WHE), stands at 20,000 words, but I'm setting it aside for now. My editor, Rebecca T. Dickson, has started throwing chapter revisions for WHE back over the wall and I'm head-down on that incorporating her edits. We have 5 chapters in the can now (of 55), and I may post the first few chapters online in the near future as a teaser.

A publication date for WHE is hard to extrapolate, but a decent guess based on the current revision rate would put it around early September. I'll be doing a giveaway promotion for a free autographed paper copy (an Advanced Reader Copy, ARC) on Goodreads in the near future, so if you're not a Goodreads member, sign up for a free account.  (The book will be available on Amazon in 6" x 9" trade paperback and Kindle eBook format.)

If you're a reader, Goodreads is a great site to get and give book recommendations and stay plugged in on updates and news about your favorite authors and genre, and it's also a social media site where you rub elbows with friends with similar interests.

Now time to blow bubbles . . .

Help me build my audience and readership.  Please follow me on Twitter @StephenMHolak, and Like my Facebook page: For news about my releases visit my Amazon Author page and subscribe to the "Stay Up to Date" link in the right hand column; you'll be sent an email to notify you of new works as they're published.

Monday, July 8, 2013

A Good Week Had

As I mentioned in my Independence Day blog post on the 4th, writing a sequel is fun. The words keep pouring out of me--and I think they're good words. Despite working three full days at my real job, taking a day to do some diving, the usual holiday cookout and fireworks oohing and aahing, and watching 14 one-hour episodes of Dexter on Saturday and Sunday (seasons 1 and 2; I'm hooked), I pounded out over 15,000 words on the sequel to The Winds of Heaven and Earth, (titled The Dark Paths of the World), last week. I seriously doubt I can hold that pace, especially with a road trip to do some wreck diving off North Carolina starting late this week, but let me fantasize for a minute: at an average pace of over 2100 words per day, I could hit the word count I kicked out for WHE of 163,000 in just two-and-a-half months.

I fully expect all that to come to a screeching halt when my editor Rebecca Dickson kicks back (covered in red ink and strike-through font) the first manuscript draft of WHE I turned in to her a week and half ago, and I have to turn my attention back to that. But it's fun to dream about that four-book-a-year pace, isn't it?

I hope everyone had an enjoyable weekend.  Now back to work, Peeps.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Independence Day

Just short posting this morning to check in, wave the flag a bit (yes, that was deliberate), and wish everyone a happy and safe holiday.

I sent the Winds of Heaven and Earth to my editor Rebecca Dickson last Friday, and took a few days break from writing over the weekend to do some local diving.

The second volume in the trilogy (God, I hope it's a trilogy; I don't want to pull a Robert Jordan), is titled The Dark Paths of the World, and I had already spent some time a few months ago outlining it.  On Monday I expanded the outline to scene-level, and started in. (The protagonist of WHE is Jordan Parish; Jordan is homage to the late Robert Jordan, author of the epic, and I mean epic, Wheel of Time fantasy series, a 14-volume story that entertained millions of readers and set a high bar for the rest of us writing in the genre.)

That mother is exploding out of me. I had no idea how much fun writing a sequel is. World building, character development, backstory not necessary; it already lives in the previous book and in the reader's mind. Just jump right in, im medias reis, (in the middle of things for those who think Latin is a dead language. Google it if you're stuck), and off we go. I've hammered out 2 to 3,000 words every day for the past few days, peaking yesterday at 3700 and scaling back for the holiday this morning with a quick 1,100 before calling it, well, a holiday. DPW stands already at 9,000-plus words and over 50 pages. DPW picks up about two-and-half months after the close of WHE.

Independence Day.  I avoid the label "Fourth of July" because that conjures images of fireworks, burgers, and slow-cooked ribs. (Well, it does for me.) Take a moment today to contemplate what that phrase actually means. Do a little research and understand what happened on that day and how those events and ones that followed led to where we are today, one of the greatest nations that's every graced the face of this planet (yeah, we have flaws and warts, but who doesn't?) The good ol' USA didn't spring forth from the primal ooze, it took a lot of hard work and sacrifice to gain independence and build this country  and then more of the same to defend it and grow to reach the state we're at now.  Before you fire up the barb-y, take a few and learn something.

Have a safe and happy holiday Peeps.

Try to wake up Friday morning with all your fingers intact, OK?