What I am working on:
Vampire's Heir 1 - Book 6 of the Greymantle Chronicles. I have done a lot of debating around this. At the end of Book Five, I warned that this next story would be focused on a different character on Earth and written in a different style. This is still true, but I may have given the wrong impression, and I want to correct that here. This new series will be part of the main Greymantle storyline. What happens in Daniel's (Chap's) story directly impacts Nate, Els, and their friends on Greymantle. I don't want to say more so that I won't spoil the story for you, but I encourage you to read Vampire's Heir if you have loved Nate's story. The characters will face common enemies, and an overarching plot brings them all together. In other news, Books One through Five have been picked up by a major audio publisher and are in the works. The release date will depend primarily on the availability of the narrator. Still, I hope the first book will be out in about four to six months, with each subsequent book every three-ish months after that. It will all depend on their schedule since that is out of my hands. So what are my plans? They say plans never survive contact with the enemy… on the other hand, they also say that plans are useless, but planning is everything. Book Six - Vampire's Heir 1 is set for release on May 3rd. I am in the final stages of polishing it before release. After that, I want to begin Els' first book. Her adventures also reveal more of the overarching scenario unfolding on Greymantle. At the end of Book Five, Nate may have faced off against the villains who caused his situation, but the story is far from over. There are bigger and worse enemies out there who have yet to reveal themselves. Daniel, Els, and Mara will discover more of the big picture in their stories. My most challenging job will be to juggle their adventures in such a way as to make their individual stories weave the tapestry of that larger plot. That said, their stories will be entertaining and capable of being read and enjoyed independently, even if you aren't interested in the bigger picture. For the rest of this year, I intend to release Daniel's Book One, Els' Book One, then Daniel's Book Two. I am still determining how long the writing will take, but I hope to release a new book every three months on average; quicker if I can handle that pace. Beyond that, the release order of the books will be determined by the larger plot and which makes sense next in the sequence. Their timelines overlap, so it will be a challenge to write and release them in an order such that one story doesn't provide spoilers to the others.
Greymantle Chronicles - Coming to Audio! In other news, Books One to Five have been picked up by a major audio publisher and are in the works. The release date will depend primarily on the availability of the narrator. Still, I hope the first book will be out in about four to six months, with each subsequent book every three-ish months after that. It will all depend on their schedule since that is out of my hands.
An AI generated image - I was playing around with Midjourney, one of the AI art image creators, trying to get it to generate a vampire character to see what might be possible. How this image comes out of a prompt for a male vampire character, I do not know. Still, it is awfully interesting and a striking image. Here was the prompt that generated that image: Photorealistic, Hyperrealist, HDR, Iridescent, ultra resolution, perfection, photorealistic, neon lighting, Super-Resolution, gigapixel, color grading, cinematic, dramatic lighting, male vampire, futuristic illumination, Art Deco, Full colors, Greg rutkowski, Trending artstation, cinematográfic
Some thoughts on AI - We are living in interesting times! I am excited about what AI can bring us, and I am definitely not a Luddite who is afraid of new technology. I have worked in IT roles for most of my career. That said, I have some definite concerns over some of the directions that AI is going. After all, we want AI to enhance our lives and free us up so that we can pursue the things that make life worth living, such as Art, Literature, and other creative endeavors. Unfortunately, there is a genuine potential for AI-produced content to flood the market and make it more difficult for traditional artists and authors to make a career from the thing they love. Worse, it is only a matter of time before AI might become better than humans at producing art. Thankfully, AI is not at that point yet! Still, a human without writing talent can prompt AI with story ideas and have it write the story for them; combining human creativity with machine production speed. We will likely see many thousands of new books come out over the next couple of years produced this way. Even if they are less good, the very fact that they exist means they will crowd out real authors and make it harder to get their books seen by readers. It is already a difficult task to market your stories. Unless you have tremendous marketing skills, you are almost entirely reliant on the Amazon algorithm to present your books to your audience. I won't say any more on that, but AI will likely be a market disrupter, the likes of which we haven't seen since the adoption of the internet. Because of this, I would love to see it become a requirement that any AI-assisted work be labeled accordingly. It wouldn't make my job of marketing my stories easier. Still, at least readers would have the choice to filter for human-created work to support artists and creatives.
Speaking of Support... Reviews!
One of the best ways of support you can give is to drop a positive review on Amazon, Goodreads, or anywhere you can. Those reviews directly affect the likelihood that the Amazon algorithm presents my books to other potential readers. The higher the ratings and the more reviews means more readers see my book in searches and 'also read' results. The more books I sell, the more time I can devote to producing more stories for you to read.
Ko-fi is similar to Pateron, but think of it more as a digital tip jar. I have started a Ko-fi page for supporters who want to drop a one-time tip to show appreciation but want to avoid getting billed monthly like Patreon does. It's a great way to say thanks and show your support.
As always, thank you! Thank you for joining me on this journey, and for supporting me!
- J David Baxter