Fracture (The Machinists, Book 1)

Allyn Kaplan’s life is anything but magical. As a first year associate at a prestigious Portland law firm, his professional life is on the rise. All that is turned upside-down by a mysterious attack on his life by strange people with stranger abilities. Thrust into an underground world of magic where rival Families are on the brink of war, Allyn wants only to return to his normal life and thriving career.

But distancing himself from this new reality is nearly impossible. Haunted by the attack and questioning why he was targeted to begin with, Allyn's questions only deepen with the sudden disappearance of his sister. The only place to turn for answers, and for help, is a Magi Family whose agenda he wants no part of. Yet with his sister's life on the line, he may have no choice but to pick a side.

Capture, Book #4 of The Machinists Coming July 25th!

Capture - eBook small

The magi order is at war… and losing.

The Knights of Rakkar, an ancient enemy thought long dead, have stolen the Blood Wand—a magical artifact capable of imbuing people with magical abilities. With it, the Knights’ strength grows, and the magi’s greatest advantage disappears.

The once disgraced McCollum Family fights on the front lines. After suffering a massive defeat, Allyn McCollum knows the magi forces must change their defensive strategy. The only problem is the magi leadership doesn’t agree. Going rogue, Allyn defies the will of the magi Forum and sets forth in a desperate gambit to turn the tides of the war.

If he succeeds, victory is at hand. But if he fails, the magi’s worst fear will be realized, and their existence will be exposed to the world once and for all.

The exciting fourth book in The Machinists comes out on July 25th!

Q1 2017 Updates and Progress

Hi everyone,

I hope you’re getting some nice spring sun like we are here in the Pacific Northwest.

I’ve been hard at work on Book #4 of The Machinists over the last few months, and just hit a major milestone last weekend when I finally turned it in to my editor. Since it generally takes about three months for me to get through my editor’s notes, line edits, proofreads, etc. we’re looking at a release in the July time frame. That said, I’ve taken some time off from my day job, so I’m hoping to get through it even faster than usual, so there’s a *chance* I can have it out even sooner than that. Cross your fingers!

With this being the penultimate book in the series, there are some major twists in this one that I can’t wait to share with you. In the meantime, you can expect a cover and blurb reveal coming from me sometime soon. I haven’t seen the cover yet, but if it’s anything like the first three, I know it’s going to be awesome.

Now it’s back to work for me — I just wanted to take a moment and share the good news!

Thank you and happy reading!

-Craig

End of Year Update

Hello from the gloomy Northwest!

2016 has been a crazy year for a lot of people, and I’m no exception. After managing the logistical nightmare of writing, editing, proofreading, approving design and proofs, while simultaneously planning my launch strategy for two books, Martyr and Heritage were released on October 18th. The reviews continue to come in and they look like they’ve been pretty well received (whew!), and are selling consistently. Since then I’ve been hard at work on a couple of different projects, and this post will act as a primer of what you can expect in 2017. Before I get into that though, let me take a quick step back.

This was a big year for me as it marked the first time in nearly two years that I released a new book. To help make up for the delay, I released a novella set in the world of The Machinists which is free to anyone who signs up for my mailing list, but the two year gap was something I vowed to never let happen again. Because of this, I’m already well into a couple new projects and have a big year planned for 2017. How big? Well on my plate I have:

Exposure, Book #4 of The Machinists – My first draft currently sits at about 45% done (14 chapters out of 30), and with the holidays behind us and some PTO from my day job coming up, I expect to have the first draft completed by the middle of February. The book goes into the editor at the end of April, putting us with an expected release in the Summer of 2017. Beyond that, The Machinists will be concluding with Book #5 (still untitled), so you can expect quite a bit of fireworks with this one. I’m very happy with how the outline turned out, and I can’t wait for readers to dive in.

The Machinists Box Set – A box set including the first three books in The Machinists will be released in February 2017.

The Forgotten Fleet – Before I jump into Book #5 of The Machinists, I’m taking a step back and tackling a science fiction series that I’ve been dreaming about for years. Right now the series, titled The Forgotten Fleet, stands at a trilogy, and includes the books Wings of Honor, Wings of Mourning, and Wings of Redemption. My goal, and plan, is to have all three books done and ready for a quick, successive release by the Winter of 2017.

Things could obviously change, but right now I’m confident enough that I can make this happen that I’ve already commissioned a cover artist who will begin working on the three covers in July. So that’s where we’re at. After not releasing a book in 2015, I’m working hard to release four novels in 2017. I’m going to need your help, support, enthusiasm, and a lot of caffeine!

Have a safe and happy new year, and as always, thanks for reading!

-Craig

October, 2016 Updates!

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000446_00062]Hello from Portland!

If you’ve been following me on Facebook at all, you’ve probably seen me talk about a lot projects lately, so I wanted to take a moment to explain each in a little more detail. Here’s everything I’m currently wo
rking on (with confirmed and targeted release dates!):

Martyr, Book #3 of The Machinists – This is done and will be available on October 18th in print and eBook format at all major online retailers.

Heritage, Book #0.5 of The Machinists – Yes, I kinda made up that numbering system. Heritage is a prequel novella (22,500 words compared to Martyr’s 78,000) set in the world of The Machinists, and will be available on the same day as Martyr (October 18th). I wrote it to take a break from the normal Machinists crew, explore new character, setting, and time period, while also rewarding those who have signed up for my mailing list. Fans of The Machinists will really like it (my editor loved it) as it gives us a view of what life was like for early magi, and shows the formation of one of the Order’s most influential Families. Since it was written to readers who have signed up for my mailing list, the only way to get it is, you guess it, by signing up for my mailing list. It will never be available via Amazon or any other retailer.

Exposure, Book #4 of The Machinists – I’ve mentioned before that The Machinists is going to be a five book series, so the tension really gets ratchete
d up in this one. I’m currently writing Exposure, and am about 20% of the way through my first draft, and targeting a late Spring/early Summer release.

As if that wasn’t enough, I’m outlining a couple ideas for my next series. There’s a sci-fi series that I’m really excited about and an epic fantasy series that I’ve been tinkering with for a couple years. I haven’t decided which direction I’ll go yet, but in either case, I’m excited about what the future holds.

As always, thank you for reading. I can’t wait to share these new books with you!

-Craig

Martyr Cover and Blurb Reveal!!!

Hi everyone! It’s that time again–time to reveal the cover and blurb for Martyr, Book #3 of The Machinists. I’m incredibly excited about this book and hope you are too! Without further ado…

martyr-ebook-1

Allyn Kaplan and his team of Machinists have successfully led the McCollum Family through an FBI manhunt, finding refuge in the home of a former rival. As the Family struggles to recover, the magi leadership has denied all pleas for help. So when the Arch Mage pays the Family an unexpected visit, Allyn fears the worst. But the news is even more terrifying than he imagined.

An ancient Family has been massacred by an unknown enemy and there’s only one survivor–a young girl who’s too traumatized to tell her story. Hoping to avoid igniting a panic within the magi Order, Arch Mage Westarra presents the McCollum Family with a secret offer they can’t refuse: discover who’s behind the attack and he’ll re-admit them into the magi Forum.

Once again, the McCollum Family turns to Allyn and his Machinists to see it through. Unfortunately for Allyn, the Arch Mage has a secret of his own, and the truth will change the course of magi history forever.

Martyr is Done!

…or nearly done. 🙂

After three intensive drafts, I turned the Martyr manuscript into my editor on May 21st. Sometime in the next couple weeks I’ll receive notes and feedback which I’ll incorporate into the book, and from there it’ll go into line editing, copy editing, and proofreading. Assuming I’m not forced to do huge revisions or restructuring, the book will be released this October. That means all the fun stuff is coming soon! Cover reveals, blurb reveals, preview chapters, it’s all be rolling out over the next few weeks, and let me tell you, we’ve got some good stuff lined up.

You might also notice a new project in my “Works in Progress.” Without giving too much away, Heritage is a prequel story set in the world of The Machinists, and will revolve around a set of characters you haven’t been introduced to, but are central to the overall story. The goal is to have a good portion of the rough draft written before I get my editorial notes back on Martyr, and release the two books at about the same time. There will be more on this to come, but my ultimate plan is to…oops, never mind, too much info…

Stay tuned for more Machinists goodness and be sure to like my Facebook Page for more updates!

Thank you,

-Craig

December Writing Update

I’m back! And I mean that in more ways than one. First and foremost, I’m back with your December writing update, and unlike in some of the more recent ones, this one is full of good news—which, I suppose, explains the second meaning. You see, this last year has been difficult for many reasons which we won’t get into, and as a result my writing productivity plummeted. For example, I wrote three drafts of Splinter, and went through the full editorial and release process in exactly 12 months, whereas in the same time period this year, I had only written about 30k words of Martyr’s first draft. Not my best year. Not even close.

But, as I said, I’m back! Since December 1st I’ve written nearly 20k words and am on pace to eclipse 30k which would be my largest writing month ever. This was made possible because I recommitted myself to a writing schedule that has me out of bed at 5:00 AM and writing until about 7:30 AM before I head to work. I’m fresh, excited, and not distracted in these early mornings, and it’s wonderful. By the end of December, I hope to be at roughly 60k words, which isn’t quite halfway through my outline. This means the first draft of Martyr is on pace to be 15-20% longer than my first draft of Splinter (which was in turn 25% longer than Fracture). One day I’ll get better at projecting the length of these things, but there’s just so much awesomeness I want to put into this one. New magic. New locations. New characters. And coolest of all, new villains. It’s all coming together very nicely and will be a great opening salvo into the final three books of The Machinists.

Assuming this level of productivity continues, which I don’t see being a problem, I shouldn’t have any issue getting my “final” draft to the editor when it’s due in May. That puts us looking at a Fall/Winter 2016 release. If all goes well I hope to be really deep into my first draft of Book 4 at that point, and greatly reduce the turnaround time between the two books. Cross your fingers.

Anyway, there you have it. I’m still here, I’m working hard, making serious progress, and plan on riding this growing wave of momentum. Until next time, I hope you all have a great Holiday Season and appreciate the time and energy you’ve invested in me. Knowing there’s people out there that care about the stories I write is everything I could ever ask for.

Thank you,

-Craig Andrews

June Writing Update

June Writing Update:

I’m alive! To be completely honest, this update is long overdue. I had originally wanted to provide an update every month, but looking back now I realize that idea is not only impossible, but overkill. That’s not to say I don’t want to provide updates, I do, but these larger sized updates take time and planning which takes away from my writing time–and as someone who works full-time, is married with two small boys, my writing time is limited as it is. So as a compromise, I want to put these larger updates out on a quarterly basis, while giving smaller ones every month or so.

That said, what’s been going on?

Well, Splinter has been out for six months, and continues to sell consistently. This is huge for me, because I really didn’t know what to expect. I knew how many copies of Fracture we had sold and I knew it was pretty well received, but I didn’t know what kind of appetite there was for a sequel. To my surprise, Splinter shot out of the gate, vaulting up the Amazon Bestseller lists in Urban and Contemporary Fantasy and stayed there for several weeks. Like Fracture, it seems to be pretty well received, and that’s really all I could ever ask for. For those that have read Splinter you know that there is a third book coming out titled, Martyr, but before I get to that I want to take a step back and talk about the series as a whole.

The Machinists series was always intended to be a multi-volume series. I’m not pulling a Jim Butcher or Kim Harrison and writing a 10-20 book series, but I think five or six books is a healthy size for this story. Five, because I like the way it lends itself to story structure; six, for…other reasons. Knowing this, I started to flesh out the series outline, highlighting key moments, key conflicts, and turning points before I began working on Martyr. I want to make sure we’re moving the story to a satisfying conclusion, while laying the groundwork for the exciting things that will happen in later books. So when I started working on Martyr I was already in outlining mode and decided I wanted to try something new. I wanted to write a detailed outline of the book too.

See, I’m a discovery writer (or what George R.R. Martin calls a Gardner). I don’t start writing until I know my entire first act (I’m a firm believer in story structure), but beyond that I only have a fuzzy idea of how the rest of the book will play out. I typically know my ending, or at least, an ending, and a couple key moments between it and the beginning, but it’s all very loose and can change if I want it to. It’s like knowing I want to drive from Portland to New York. I know I’m headed East, I know I’ll stop in Denver to visit my wife’s family, and probably catch a Cubs game at Wrigley, but beyond that, I have no idea. I don’t know where I’m getting gas, I don’t know where I’m eating, I don’t know who I’ll meet along the way. But I know I’m ending in New York. Well, with Martyr I wanted to try and build a solid outline hoping that it would quicken the actual writing process.

It didn’t.

Or, I should say, it hasn’t. I’m no longer discovering the story as I write it. I know it. It’s like re-watching a movie you just saw yesterday. It’s not as fun, and your more prone to distraction. I’m no longer like a reader, driven by the need to know what happens next, or how our heroes escape to become victorious. I already know all that, and it’s just not as cool. Having said that, and potentially having revealed too much, I’m incredibly proud and very confident in the story I’ve built. It’s going to be a good one! Martyr is bigger, we’re introduced to new characters and new settings (our conflict is going global!), and coolest of all, new villains. The stakes are bigger, the internal battles more personal, and above all, long held magi secrets will be revealed. If you like the first two books in The Machinists, I really think you’ll like this one.

Right now, I’m only about 20% of the way through my first draft–like I said, it’s been a slow process. But of that 20%, I don’t see any large scale story problems and hope that the rewriting and editing process will be shorter than my first two books (one of the benefits of outlining, right?). My tentative goal right now is to complete the first draft by November, and have the book ready by March of 2016. If I get into a good rhythm that could change. Ideally, as you can likely imagine, I’d like to get the book out in December like the first two, but right now that’s a pretty big stretch and I don’t want to make promises I can’t keep.

So… There we are. Fracture and Splinter continue to exceed my expectations, the entire Machinists series will be five or six books and has a loose outline to keep me on track, and Martyr is in the works and will likely be released in early 2016. I hope you enjoy these peeks behind the curtain, and understand my process.

As always, thank you for reading, and taking this journey with me. I’m forever grateful for every one of you.

Until next time…

Take care,

-Craig

Splinter Cover and Blurb!

Splinter - EbookToday’s update is about as good as they get. Splinter is done and will be released on Tuesday, December 9th. In the meantime I want to give you a glimpse at the cover and back cover blurb. What do you think?

Allyn Kaplan, the once promising lawyer and first in a new breed of magi, has done the improbable and dealt a deathblow to Lukas’s movement—but not without great cost. The McCollum Manor has fallen, the Family is on the verge of splintering, and the police, who believe Allyn responsible for his sister’s disappearance, are closing in.

Now Allyn and Jaxon, the acting Grand Mage of the McCollum Family, struggle to hold the Family together and stay ahead of the mounting investigation. When Jaxon’s request for aid is denied by the magi Forum, he and Allyn devise a desperate plan to reassert their Family’s legitimacy, and force the magi leadership into action.

Before they can act, a mysterious video appears online that could bring the investigation to their doorstep. Allyn and Jaxon are pit in a race against time to discover its origins before the police close in and their secret order is revealed.

 

April Writing Update

Today’s update is, unfortunately, a mixed bag of good and bad news. Starting with the good; Fracture continues to sell better than I ever hoped. It remains in the Kindle Top 25 for Contemporary Fantasy, and is in Amazon’s Top 100 for both Urban and Contemporary Fantasy. This is great because it allows me to hire someone to build my website, funds giveaways and promotions, and inches me closer to writing full time–which would mean more books in a shorter time frame.

Unfortunately, and this is the bad news, I’ve had to push back the release date of Splinter, Book #2 of The Machinists. There’s a multitude of reasons but it really boils down to these three: it’s longer than I anticipated at about 20-25% longer than Fracture, which means it takes 20-25% more time to write; my March writing goal took a hit as I acclimate to a new job and a new schedule (though with this, I eventually expect to end up with MORE time to write, not less); and lastly, I didn’t want to rush it. Book 2 is very important to fulfilling on the promise of Book 1, and turning casual readers into fans. It’s also very tricky. By design, the second book of any series is supposed to expand the world, make it feel larger, and deepen the reader’s relationship with the characters, but Splinter is a much smaller story–though with large scale implications–so balancing the two expectations has been tricky. Rest assured though, Splinter will have many of the same elements that made Fracture so fun: action, suspense, and a fast moving plot, but it’ll also have deeper characters, larger conflicts (personal as well as large scale), and a more defined setting. Basically, this is all to say that I want to get it *right*.

All of that said, I’ve only pushed the book back by two months, so we’re still looking at a new release this year, and who knows, this may mean a shorter wait between book 2 and book 3.

As always, thank you for reading, and thank you for sharing. I promise that I’ll continue to work my butt off to write the best books I can.

-Craig

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Work in Progress

Exposure, Book #4 The Machinists - Done!

80,000 / 80,000 words. 100% done!

Untitled Sci Fi Series - Book #1 First Draft

51,000 / 75,000 words. 68% done!

The Author

Books in The Machinists