Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Noah Zarc Cover Design

I'm really excited to show you the cover illustration and design for Noah Zarc - Mammoth Trouble. It features a scene from the first pages of the book and, I think, really sets the tone for the whole story. I worked with an amazing illustrator from Imagin8 Design, and I can't wait to see it in print. You can click the image to go to my website and see a larger version.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

New Website for D. Robert Pease

I have finished development of a new site for

If you follow this blog via an RSS feed, please update your link to:

Finally, if you'd like to have updates forwarded via email, you can sign up on the main blog page. I've moved all old blog postings over to the new site. But I was not able to move the comments over.

Thank you for visiting.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

2010 in Review and Thoughts on 2011

The final tally for the number of books I read in 2010 was a disappointing 18. However, to be fair, I think I probably read more pages in 2010 than I did in 2009 when I read over 30 books. 2010 was all about the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan (the last two books being written by Brandon Sanderson after Jordan's death). Each book hovered around 1,000 pages, so if you consider most books are around 300, then each book in the series counted for three books. Therefore I read more like 45 books over the course of the year.

In writing news I completed the edits on Noah Zarc, Book One, and am now considering options for publication (more news on that later). I also wrote the majority of a new story, called Joey Cola and the Stoat of Many Colors. I am very excited about it, and hope to have it completed and edited by the end of this year.

Things are changing dramatically in the publishing world. I think by the end of 2011 there may be some pretty significant shifts in the book market. Look for big book chains to either scale back their store's offerings, or go out of business altogether. I think it will become harder and harder to just get in your car and drive to a local bookstore and browse. Publishers have to make a change because of the rising power of e-books, and they are fighting it tooth and nail, and in doing so they may just put themselves out of business too. Without publishers, where will bookstores get their books?

The good news is, if you have an e-reader, I think it will get easier to borrow books from the Library. E-Book prices will continue to fall, and e-book lists will continue to grow. By the end of 2011, I imagine the vast majority of books will be available on most e-readers, and some books, by big names, will begin to be released only on e-readers.

I have yet to jump on the e-reader bandwagon myself, simply because I love to have books on my bookshelf, but I can see the writing on the wall (or on my monitor). It will become inevitable, if you want to read, you will need an e-reader. Maybe not this year, but in the next two or three.

It can either be a scary time to be in the publishing business, or it can be exciting. As a writer, I'm beginning to feel excited about the power shift that seems to be taking place. Authors can write a book, and have it in reader's hands in a matter of days or weeks instead of the, literally, years it takes now. So bring it on 2011, I'm looking forward to what you have to offer.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010


The magic number for today! I must say it is a pretty great feeling getting that many words under my belt in 30 days. But what is an even better feeling is I really think this could be my best book yet. I still have another 15 to 20 thousand words to write until the story is done, but I really like where it is going thus far. I will surely speak more about it later, but for now you can revel in my shiny new NaNoWriMo winner's badge.

Monday, November 1, 2010

NaNoWriMo 2010

Once again I'm undertaking the craziness that is NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month). And this year I vow I won't hit the middle of the month doldrums. This will be the third year I've undertaken to write a 50,000 word novel in one month, but from experience I can tell you in some ways it is easier than it sounds and other ways harder. Writing the words is easy. Getting beyond the blocks that crop up is much much harder. Each year, just around the 15th of the month I've run into a wall. My nice little graph that was trending upwards at a beautiful 45 degree angle suddenly flattens out. It is the awful middle section where I just don't know what to write about. But not this year.

I have done something that I never did in the last three novels I've written. I created a detailed outline of the whole story, beginning, middle and end. I don't don't know why I've never tried it before (except maybe I'm lazy). But this year I was not going to have that feeling where I was sure I couldn't finish, and everything I was writing was crap. This year I would triumph over mid-month blues. By the way, one reason I've never created an outline before is because I never had a tool that made it so easy. Let me restate that, I never USED a tool that made it so easy. I wrote last year's novel in Scrivener, but I didn't take full advantage of it. This year, no excuses. I have detailed note cards of every major scene. Detailed notes of every major location. Notes for the magic system of the world. Photos of all the characters (found at All put together in a wonderful, easy to organize format within Scrivener.

Tonight for example I was writing a scene involving my main character, Joey, and his Father. I split the screen vertically. On the left were notes about his father. Who he is, what he does for a living, his character traits, etc... along with a photo I thought represented him. On the right was the manuscript. I wrote while looking at the notes and photo. It was amazing the details I pulled out, that I normally would not have. I love this tool. If you don't use it, go to their web site now: The new Scrivener for Mac, version 2.0 came out today (I am not going to upgrade until after November) and the version for Windows is available in beta format. I can't say enough about this program, and to top it all off it is dirt cheap. Go there now.

I'm headed for bed. 3,500 words under my belt and it is only day one. Who knows maybe I'll crank out a 100,000 word novel this month. (I'd settle for 50,000 words with at least a small portion of those usable.) Happy writing all.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

On Epic Fantasy

I just completed The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson, the twelfth book in the Wheel of Time series. Robert Jordan died before being able to finish writing the series (sometimes I thought I'd die before I was able to finish reading the series) and Brandon Sanderson was chosen to wrap it up. There are actually going to be two more books by Mr. Sanderson before we finally get to the end. Book thirteen is due November 1 of this year.

This series is epic, in every sense of the word. Each book is big enough to give you tendonitis just holding it. It makes the Harry Potter series look like picture books. The storyline spans an entire continent, and encompasses the lives of dozens of people, although it primarily focuses on a handful. At times I found myself thinking the series could have been much shorter, but then I think there would have been a great deal lost. This series, more than any other in quite some time, became real to me. There were times over the past eight or nine months (that's how long it took me to read them) that I honestly had moments where I wasn't sure what was reality, and what was part of the world that Mr. Jordan created. As an example, for several books there was an intense heat wave that lasted well into winter. On hot days, in the real world in the middle of summer, I actually had in the back of my mind that it was supposed to be winter, even though the temperature outside was ninety degrees. These moments only lasted seconds, but they go to show how deeply immersed I was in the world of The Wheel of Time.

The fact that Brandon Sanderson wrote the last book, using copious notes from Robert Jordan, has been a great example for me as a writer-wanna-be on pacing. I can honestly say that if Mr. Sanderson had written the first eleven books, I think most of my difficulty slogging through the books would have been nonexistent. Robert Jordan would spend nearly entire books on one character. Then do big, honkin' prologues on the next book catching you up to what was going on with everyone else. His prologues could be a sixth of the book. So I found myself a bit frustrated at times wondering what was going on with the rest of the characters. Brandon Sanderson on the other hand jumped around. Every second or third chapter was devoted to a different character. Sure there was that disappointment when you were involved in one character's circumstances and he yanked you away to follow another, but each section ended in such a way as to force you to read on. I read the last book in half the time as any of the others.

All this to say, I love epic fantasy, but I'm sure it isn't for everyone. You do have to have the mindset that you will finish no matter what. That you will continue reading even if it is hard going at times. The world building is incredible. The scope of the story all encompassing. And the payoff at the end is usually (hopefully) worth it.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

I'm not supposed to be good at it...

I've been in a funk lately, in my writing, in my exercise regime, with my poker club, in my family life, in my spiritual life, in life in general. No big, nasty, horrible things are happening to me, just a general malaise has hung like a cloud around me. I've felt like I'm just not particularly good at anything. I know this feeling very well. I've had this feeling in periods of my life. But today (my birthday) I've discovered something profound. Watch this video and you'll see what I mean.

"...when you are learning things, you suck at them." I don't even know who this woman is, but I think she has stumbled on a deeply profound idea. Life is all about learning. I think maybe I've spent my life never really getting past the "suckitude" stage. I find something I like, I work at it a while then I start to feel like I'm just not that good at it, so I move on to something else. But what this smart lady is saying is I'm not supposed to be good at it, at first. Life is all about learning new things, but if we don't, if I don't ever get past the "sucking" stage, then what good are my attempts? I should just quit trying if every time I try, I quit.

So, here is to being lousy at something, but pushing on through. Here's to working from suckage to awesome, and not jumping from sucking at one thing to sucking at another, over, and over again.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009


I may have more to say later, but Avatar... wow! I'm not sure Cameron built the epic universe he was after (ala Star Wars) but man did he do something special with the world building and animation. I can't really say it was special effects because nearly the whole movie was animated, but it isn't your father's animation. I am usually as stickler for effects that don't look quite right, or animation that seems stilted or mechanical, but my goodness... there was barely a hiccup in the nearly three hour movie. It was utterly believable; like he took a camera crew to another world and filmed it. The 3D engulfed me. The flora and fauna was breathtaking. And the acting via digital performance capture was top notch. I felt like the Na'vi were real flesh and blood people, with a full culture and attitude. It was just amazing.

Now to the epic nature of the story. This is really the only area I think Avatar fell short. For what it was, the story was solid. It wasn't cheesy, or unbelievable, but was it epic? Did James Cameron create a universe with the vastness, the "bigness" of a Star Wars, or Star Trek, or Middle Earth? I don't think so. Was it a big enough universe for one 3 hour movie? Yes. But big enough for a series of movies? Big enough to become an icon, a piece of American culture? I don't think so. Again it was amazing, but more in the immersivness of the world, and animation, but not universe. Will it make a boatload of money? You bet. Will I see it again? You bet. Will it be something that defines this generation of movie goers, like Star Wars did? I just don't see it. But only time will tell for sure. What I can tell you is the bar has been raised considerably. Movies of this nature (science fiction and fantasy) will never be able to get by with what they were doing a year or two ago. I feel some regret Avatar didn't happen before The Lord of the Rings. If you could marry the effects/animation/world building of Avatar, with the epic story of the Lord of the Rings, I would probably call it the greatest movie ever made.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

30 Books in 2009

One of the things I believe strongly, is if you want to be a writer, you must first be a reader. With that in mind I set out toward the beginning of this year to read (and track my reading) as much as I could. Now I have a pretty busy life. I have several hobbies, a wife and two kids, friends to hang out with, church events to attend, a business to run, etc, etc... so what this means is I have to work to carve out time to read. That said, I feel pretty good about finishing thirty books this year, including the daunting "Einstein" by Walter Isaacson. But something curious happened in my quest to be a prolific reader. I struggled to find books that I really, really loved. In fiction, there were only two, "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card and "The True Meaning of Smekday" by D.M. Rex. This may partly be due to the fact that I felt like I had to finish every book I started. Because if I didn't, then it wouldn't make my list. So I ended up reading some books all the way through that I normally would have put down. This took up time that I could have been reading something else that I might have loved. I also read a few series that ended up being okay, but just not great. I was invested enough that I wanted to see how the stories ended, but I can't see myself reading them again.

This all got me thinking about my own writing. Am I creating something that is just okay? Something that people might add to their list of books read, but not loved? If so, am I okay with that? Obviously there are many different tastes out there. Some people may have loved the books that I thought were mediocre. So there is always that possibility with my own work. I guess in the end I need to try to write something that I love, and hope there are others out there with similar tastes.

What about you all. What books have you read that you absolutely love? I'd love to add some into the queue for next year.