Wow, it’s almost here

No, I’m not talking about the eclipse. Although, yes, I do have my special glasses and time marked off to watch the moon eating the sun later today. Since I live in the DFW metroplex, we’re in the path of totality–assuming Mother Nature cooperates. That will be a nice diversion from the nerves that have been eating me alive all weekend as I gear up for tomorrow’s release of Surtr’s Fury. You’d think I’d be used to it by now, but nope. Maybe it’s because the last couple of years have been focused on family needs and not writing, but this book feels like the very first in some ways.

But everything that can be done in prep for tomorrow has been. The final files for the ebook version have been submitted. I’ve finished looking over the print version and will be approving those files shortly. And, yes, I’ve held the proof of the print version and it looks good. See for yourself.

Today, while I try not to gnaw my fingernails down to nubs, I am making some notes on the next book in the series before completely changing lanes to Warborn Legacy. I realized last night one of the things bothering me with the plot thread on it, something that’s been holding me up on the next several chapters. That should make the words start flowing again. But not while the brain–and the gut–are tied up in knots waiting for tomorrow.

What else?

Maybe a word of warning to the writers and to those who want to be writers out there as well as bloggers, etc. I can’t find it now, but there’s apparently been some AI generated take-down notices being sent out to folks for allegedly using images they don’t have permission to use. Oh, there’s also a demand for payment. That means it is time for my periodic reminder that you need to not only have permission or the appropriate license for any image you use that isn’t your own. Even if you are using something available with a Creative Commons license, you need to note it. It seems silly, but it very well might help make your life easier in the long run.

Also, there are a plethora of new AI writing programs out there now. Some are good, within relative definitions of good, and some are truly horrible. There are some out there claiming to be able to write your book for you. All you do is guide it through the process and then do a final edit to “make it your own”. Others can be useful tools for analyzing your writing style, looking for spelling or punctuation errors, etc. But none of them will really write a novel that is ready for primetime. We aren’t there yet and, as a working writer, I hope we never are.

So here’s the thing, be careful when using AI during the creative process. Now, more than ever, if you use programs like Sudowrite, ChatGPT, etc., keep all versions of your work. It isn’t outside the realm of possibility that storefronts like Amazon, B&N, even Draft2Digital, will ask you to prove the work is yours and not primarily the work of an AI bot. They may feel forced to do so because of their desire to keep their customers, our readers, happy. Also, they are not going to want to be caught in the middle of a legal battle between Author A, who claims the AI-created work isn’t derivative enough from their original work to fall under the fair use doctrine, and Author B, who used an AI app to “write” the book or story. Already Amazon, and maybe others as well, ask if AI apps have been used to help create any part of the content of a book or illustrations/cover for the book. If you answer yes, you are then asked for more information, mainly about how much is original work and how much is AI. You are also asked what program you used. So far, Amazon isn’t prohibiting such works, but that is the fear among many in the writing community.

Okay, back to Surtr’s Fury. Here is a very short snippet from somewhere in the book. I won’t say where and I won’t give context for the snippet. Mainly because I’m evil that way. VBG. Anyway, here goes. Oh yeah, this is from the rough draft because I’m not on my work computer right now:

Flames rose around me, their dance beautiful and deadly. I drew them close, until they wrapped around me like a second skin. Fire called to fire and I answered. But I didn’t give up control. I never would. I knew the danger, tempting though it might be, of doing so. Giving up control meant giving up my humanity and losing control.

And that meant a firestorm the likes of which most people could only imagine in their worst nightmares.

Knowing I didn’t have long, I moved further inside, wondering what I’d find.

How many times had I walked this very path, never thinking about danger befalling me here? This had been one of the very few places I considered a safe haven, especially after Mom disappeared: home, work, even a place to retreat to when I needed to escape the demands of everyday life.

That all changed in a flash of fire and magic. Now danger lay not in the flames but in being trapped by a possible building collapse. The flames normally wouldn’t harm me, not so long as I stayed in this form. Not that I’d ever remained in it for more than a few hours and then I had not been under duress. But what choice did I have if I wanted to find out what happened to Red and the others?

If you need me, I’ll be in the corner, whimpering and trying to imagine this is Wednesday and the release has already happened.


  1. I saw a report awhile back where a student’s paper was disallowed for supposedly using AI. However, the student had used Microsoft Word (IIRC) exclusively but because Microsoft had added AI to the spelling and grammar checking feature several years ago, the school ASSUMED the entire paper was done by AI. I’ve tried to find that report but of course, now I can’t.

    1. I remember seeing the same story. Of course, iirc, the instructor used an AI-assisted program to see if it was created using AI. (rolls eyes)

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