It's been two weeks since Second Chance was published, and I'm changing my Author Notes.
But, don't worry. I am archiving my previous notes right here for those of you who are interested in the preservation of such things.
Why am I changing my Author Notes now?
I've had time to rest. My MBA is finished. I even took a long-awaited vacation with my wife and kids. During that time, I was able to reflect on my journey without the constant stress of trying to get everything done while still working full time.
What did my previous Author Notes tell my readers? How complicated my life has been? How stressful the journey has been? How I wish I could have written this book faster, but there were excuses in the way?
Now that I've had some time to breathe, I realize it wasn't the best way to end the book. And after reading the notes, how many readers turned the page to see the bonus chapter?
Surely some, but perhaps not nearly enough.
So, I'm going to give it another go. I'm going to try to tell my readers how important they are to Denton's journey, to explain why their review means so much. And I'm going to do it with a lighter spirit and a heart full of appreciation for all the people who have read Second Chance so far.
To my loyal readers, thank you. I can only ask that you go out and leave a review. Tell other readers why you enjoyed this story. And if you can't put your feelings into words, please consider marking the reviews that match your sentiments as Helpful.
The current 'Most Helpful' review is a 1 Star -- and if that's how the majority of readers feel, I will accept it. But if you disagree, and don't share your voice... Other potential readers will walk away, and I will be left with the impression that my work was not well-received.
I do have big plans for Denton. I know he was resistant to the idea of being in the game world. But it's important you know that. It's important because I have some very big things planned in future books. Things that may make you rethink what you thought you knew.
I just need the chance to get those books out. And I need fans to help make that happen.
Thank you, everyone. Thank you for your time. Your dedication. I appreciate you more than you could ever know.
First of all, I want to thank you for joining Denton on the first steps of his unexpected journey in EndWorld Everlasting.
I hope you enjoyed Second Chance as much as I enjoyed writing it.
I first started writing Denton’s story on a lark, mostly. It was early 2017. Either in January or February. I had spent a very long time writing and rewriting a science fiction book. It was a space opera novel that started out as a short story back in 2015 after years of bouncing around in my head.
It was a complicated thing and, over time, life became complicated. Work became complicated.
Everything was complicated.
I found myself constantly too exhausted to give that book the attention it needed. And I needed a break from all the complexity.
When something like that happens, you have to take a step back and get some perspective. Sometimes a fresh start on something exciting and new can give you a surge of energy when you felt like there was nothing left.
For me, Second Chance was that opportunity.
In the months leading up to this new beginning, I’d listened to an audiobook for Ready Player One and then jumped down the rabbit hole. My Kindle Paperwhite took me on some interesting adventures.
I read a lot.
Hero of Naught, Life Reset, The Dark Herbalist, Project Daily Grind (Mirror World), and Eden’s Gate for starters.
Not all of the stories I read were good, per se, but they scratched an itch that video games hadn’t in years.
I still had the urge to play, but I usually spent my time messing around on the auction house, making gil or gold depending on the game I felt most drawn to at the time. I had months of play time stored up in WoW tokens. Unfortunately, logging in was becoming a chore.
I had also just finished reading a book called Battle Mage by Peter Flannery (pure Fantasy, not LitRPG or GameLit). The start was a little slow, and the main character a little hard to relate to at first, but the story pulled me in. The more I read, the more I felt myself engrossed in that world.
With reading Battle Mage and all those LitRPG and GameLit stories, my mind went back to my early MMO days when I first logged in to Final Fantasy XI after getting a copy from my wife for Christmas in 2003.
I recall going through each of the job descriptions available. I liked the idea of playing a Black Mage, but I decided to start out as a Red Mage instead. With the ability to fight and heal and cast damaging spells, it seemed like the best choice for me.
I logged in.
I still remember walking around Windurst for the first time. I felt so lost, and yet amazed at how big the city was. I tried talking to people, but those first attempts were fruitless.
No one seemed very interested in conversing with a total noob.
I also remember how embarrassed I felt when I discovered I had been talking to NPCs instead of other players.
My jaunt around the town was short lived, however.
My wife was sitting next to me, watching as I experienced this new world called Vana’diel for the first time. And I was aching for adventure.
So, I stepped outside, targeted the nearest creature, and drew my weapon.
It was a Savanna Rarab, a cute little rabbit with beady, black eyes and long, straight ears tipped with white at the ends.
The next few seconds played out pretty much like Denton’s encounter with the Meadows Rabbit.
I died in just a few quick hits. It was devastating. But I was hooked.
I’ve had much of the same feelings while writing Second Chance. The going hasn’t always been easy, but the journey has been worth it.
Just a short while after I started, I reached out to Edward Brody, the author of Eden’s Gate. I told him I was thinking about writing in this space, that he had inspired me with how big Eden’s Gate felt.
I was nervous about getting into the GameLit/LitRPG space. I saw a lot of fragmentation going on between authors and fans. Those were troubling times. With trademark filings, domain name scrambles, the whole shebang. Was my story idea GameLit or LitRPG? Would people enjoy what I had to bring to the genre?
Edward Brody was super cool, and he encouraged me to jump in. His biggest piece of advice: write a book you would enjoy reading.
And so that’s what I did.
Other members of the community gave me some encouragement as well. Nicolas Lagrand and Paul Bellow were great, though it’s been some time since we last interacted, and they probably don’t remember me.
To be perfectly honest, the writing hasn’t gone as fast as I would have liked. I had to change jobs last year and moved my family back home to Utah after living in Texas for a number of years.
I won’t go into the details here, but it was a tough decision. Which is pretty much life in a nutshell for you.
The move was hectic, and I ended up having to pay to keep our Texas house vacant for about seven months while we rented a place in Utah and tried to find a buyer. In the meantime, it seemed like the house was angry about being left alone.
We were constantly paying to replace or fix various things that had never been a problem before.
On top of that, the new job required me to leave my family and go out of state for training for three months.
The shift hours can be pretty brutal, and I’m constantly tired. But it’s meaningful work, and it does fairly well at paying the bills.
Last year I doubled down and started working on my second master’s degree, an MBA. Since I’m a veteran, and still had some education benefits left, it was a way for me to help cover the additional moving expenses until our Texas house sold. It wasn’t much, but it made all the difference.
The degree is almost done, and I should finish my final projects this month. (October, 2019)
Through it all, I’ve continued writing. The progress has been slow at times, but I’ve done my best to keep the story moving despite everything else. A super huge help in this regard was my coworker, Stephen.
It was amazing finding someone who I could talk about this stuff with. Someone who understood the whole ‘it’s-a-book-about-a-game-world’ thing.
I have big plans for Denton and even further plans for EndWorld Everlasting. And, with my MBA finishing up, I’m looking forward to writing the next book.
I’ve learned a lot throughout this process and I’m confident it will be done much, much quicker. I’ve got a cover picked out and the first few chapters outlined so far. It’s very exciting.
I anticipate Book 2 being done in the first quarter of 2020.
But that’s not all. I’ve also been working on a co-writing project with my son. You’ve met his character briefly in Second Chance, and I think you’ll enjoy where his story is headed.
As for Denton, he has a hard road ahead of him. There are so many questions left to be answered, and I’m sure he’ll uncover even more along the way. Dark times are ahead. Not just for him, but for the entirety of EndWorld Everlasting.
Thank you, again, for joining me on this journey.
I sincerely hope your time in EndWorld Everlasting was memorable. There are a lot of great options out there, so many game worlds filled with imagination and magic by authors who really care about their creations.
If you enjoyed this book, please leave a review and recommend it to other fans of GameLit and soft LitRPG.
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I hope to see you again in the next installment of A Battle Mage Reborn: The Broken Blade. Be sure to stay tuned for news about upcoming releases..