CategoryKotov Syndrome

Book Launch Announcement (Times Two)

Hello. Yes, I know this is a non-Monday post. I have something to say.

*clears throat*

KOTOV SYNDROME WILL BE RELEASING ON JANUARY 23, 2021!

Announcement – Part 1

Oh. Hi. If you can still hear over the sound of my all caps shouting, I have some things to tell you about.

I’ve been talking about my work in progress book, Kotov Syndrome, for nearly three years now. I recently shared that I have a fancy awesome cover created by the talented Lauren Restivo. Since that point, I’ve reviewed three proof copies of my book, done a few rounds of editing, and gotten very angry KDP’s inability to handle the italic version of Helvetica1Seriously. This was the weirdest thing. There’s no good explanation for it anywhere in KDP’s documentation. The only thing I can figure is that Word technically classifies Helvetica’s italic version as an oblique font rather than true italics. But still. It’s fucking Helvetica. It’s been around since 1957!. That said, I think I’m finally done with editing (aside from one last grammar and style check). That means I can finally submit my manuscript to various platforms and setup pre-order. That, in turn, means I have a release date.

As of today, you can pre-order Kotov Syndrome as an ebook and paperback through various channels. I’ll be linking to some places where you can buy at the bottom of the post. While I encourage you to pre-order via whatever channels you enjoy the most, if you don’t care, I would recommend pre-ordering the ebook through Amazon or Apple Books. The more pre-orders I can get for an e-book, the better. As for paperback, feel free to request through your own local book store or your shop of preference. I personally adore Barnes & Noble, but I know that’s a me thing. And hey…while you’re at it, you should totally request my book through your local public library. Because that’d be the coolest thing of all.

I do not intend to do a hardcover version of the book at this time. While I’d personally love a hardcover of the book, there wasn’t a ton of interest in it outside of myself — especially not at the price point I’d have to put it at in order to even break even on a hardcover. If there’s enough pre-order interest in my book, I might change my mind. Additionally, if I can get enough support on Patreon to be able to fund some advertising for the book, that would potentially change this as well. So, if you’re not a patron and wish to help put me in a position where I can do hardcovers, go support me on Patreon. Please 😀

One other quick note I want to throw out there. This book deals a lot with mental health issues, as you’ll see in the synopsis. For every book I sell (pre-order or otherwise), a portion of the money I make will to the National Alliance on Mental Illness. I don’t know an exact amount yet, as there are still storefronts working on being setup. That said, I’m leaning towards something like 15% of the proceeds I’d make for a book.

Synopsis

So what’s this book about? You know, since I’m encouraging you to buy it and stuff.

Kotov Syndrome Cover

Kotov Syndrome focuses on a young woman, Erika Edens, who is struggling with life. She’s stuck in a dead-end job, suffers from mental illness and recurring nightmares, is estranged from her family, and is unlucky with love. Out of the blue, Erika’s ex-girlfriend and only previous long-term relationship, Abby Lin, contacts her out of the blue. There’s just one small problem.

Abby is a computer simulation. And she needs Erika to save her.

The story follows Abby as she adjusts to living life as a computer simulation in an android body in a world increasingly hostile to this technology. Meanwhile, Erika finally has her long-lost love back in her life. But can she put her demons aside long enough to co-exist with Abby as a roommate?

Trigger Warnings: Alcoholism, anxiety, bigotry, car accident, death, hate crimes, homophobia, intrusive thoughts, mental illness, racism, sexism, strong language, trauma/PTSD, violence

Feedback on Kotov Syndrome

While Advance Reader Copies (ARCs) of Kotov Syndrome are not yet available — more to come on that — I wanted to share some feedback I received from beta readers on the book. These pieces of feedback have been shared with the consent of the beta readers in question. While they did review a working version of the book, I feel like their feedback is worth sharing, hence asking them and then doing so. Quotes may be shortened for clarity, but are otherwise unaltered.

It’s an easy read. Like not in a childish way, but some books just seem heavy and need breaks. I didn’t want to stop reading yours. – K.N.

I read through it in 2 days on the first reading on my phone, so it is definitely not boring. – T.

Abby and Erika feel very real and they both feel very…whole. It’s absolutely like getting a glimpse of full, real people with rich histories that, even if I don’t know them, they’re there. – E.J.

The entirety of what I have written for Chapter 22 is “That… was terrifying”. SO. MANY. FEELINGS. – S.S.

I do really like Erika’s character though. She seems very real, and very flawed, which is nice. Not a heroine, yet relatable. – T.W.

Announcement – Part 2

Wait, you say, confused why I’m speaking for you in the middle of a blog post that you’re reading inside your own head. There’s a part 2 to this announcement? Yes, there is.

On the same day that Kotov Syndrome is releasing, author duo Jacob Crawford will be releasing the second book in the Dark Sentinels series, this one being called The Assassin.

For those unaware, Jacob Crawford is a mother-daughter author duo comprised of P.E. Crawford and E.V. Jacob. E.V. is a dear friend of mine and I could not be more excited than I am to be launching our books on the same date. I’m also the editor for The Assassin and believe me when I say that I am hyped as fuck for this book. While The Assassin is not available for pre-order at this time, you should consider picking up the first book in the series, The Shadows, to have something to read while you wait on our books to come out.

Where You Can Pre-Order Books

If you’re interested in pre-ordering either Kotov Syndrome, I’ve put plenty of links below to help you do so. As we get closer to the release date for these books, if there’s anything you can do — or would like to do — to help spread the word about said books, we’d love your help. More info on that to come in the near future. If/once The Assassin is available for pre-order, information for that will be posted here as well.

Kotov Syndrome Pre-Order Links

UPDATE (11/22/20): This page was getting insanely long, so I’ve moved all of these links to the new Kotov Syndrome page on my blog. If you haven’t already, go add the book to your Goodreads shelf.

WIP Update #7 – Title and Book Cover Reveal

Do not adjust your calendars. You are seeing another work in progress update less than two months after my most recent one. I know this has literally never happened with this specific work in progress, but it’s for a good reason.

Dear readers. I’m ready to reveal the cover and title for my book. The title of the work in progress that I’ve been working on since early 2017 will be Kotov Syndrome. The book’s title a nod to a phenomenon originally described in chess master Alexander Kotov’s book “To Think Like a Grandmaster”, wherein a player overthinks a complicated situation so much that they actually make a poor move out of desperation. The title also happens to be shared with a song by post-grunge band Rise Against, though no fiction book shares this title.

My artist for the book cover of Kotov Syndrome is the extremely talented Lauren Restivo. Lauren is the creator behind the work at Beanie Cap Prints where she has a portfolio of her work as well as some lovely prints and charms you can buy (I’ve purchased a few of the charms for myself and others…I’m a fan). You can follow her on Twitter where she often posts her artwork @beaniecapprints. She also does some 18+ art for those of you who are into that sort of thing. Not linking here for reasons1Read: The one time I did try to link to an 18+ artist’s work on my blog, Bloglovin’ threw a shitfit about my blog and banned me from being publicly shown for three years. So…, however, if you go to her Twitter bio, you should be able to find her account for that pretty easily. You can also support her on Patreon — which you should do if you can spare the money right now.

Without further ado, here is the cover for Kotov Syndrome. Hover over the image for a more clear version.

To say I’m excited about how the cover turned out would be a massive understatement. Lauren took an idea I had and ran with it, both making it her own and making it look far better than I had anticipated in my mind.

I don’t have an update quite yet as to a release date for the book, as I’m still finishing up some lingering beta reader feedback that got delayed due to COVID concerns. That said, this does put me one step closer to having this book — an over three year project at this point — published.


If you enjoyed the post you just read, please consider supporting me through my Patreon. Memberships start at only $1 and help support the costs for this site, as well as my other creative endeavors. You can also support me by purchasing my book, An Epilogue to Innocence, here. I also offer editing services on this page.

WIP Update #5/NaNoWriMo Update

This is going to be a combined update for a couple of different writing-related items at this point, as I felt like neither of them were long enough to warrant their own post at this point. That said, both were important enough that I wanted to be able to post about them on the blog.

In September, I asked many of you (both here and on Twitter) to give me your thoughts as to what topics you’d like to see if I did another NaNoWriMo Tips series this year. I got a lot of good ideas for what topics I could potentially talk about and even had started talking with a couple of different folks about potentially guest blogging for the series this year, as it seemed like a good idea.

I also recently wrote this short story that I really liked. In rather exciting news, it seems that a lot of you liked the story as well — which is great considering that the story itself is intended to very much be an introduction to what would likely be a larger story, if not a full novel. I took a poll asking people whether they’d rather see me do the NaNoWriMo Tips series again this year or if I should do the full version of this story on my blog for NaNoWriMo.

The results of the poll are irrelevant for reasons I’ll get into momentarily. The story won by a decent margin (69%-31%). But that’s not the reason I’m writing this post.


I’ve been working on my current work in progress novel for quite some time now. I’ve written four different posts to this point sharing where I’m at in the process of getting it to the point where I could look to publish it, all with varying levels of working having been done when I wrote said posts. In my most recent WIP post, I went through this long list of things that allowed me to get to the point where I had written three drafts of the book. Within that list was a note mentioning how I had a mental breakdown that led me to write a blog post about the duality of writing. Even still, there was a footnote buried in that list1I use the term buried loosely here. It’s obvious the footnote was there. That said, I know full well most of the views I get on my posts come from folks who don’t click on the footnotes. I’ve looked at the data. mentioning how this wasn’t just a one-time occurrence. Granted, the breakdown that led to that post was a one-off, but the act of breaking down was not — and is not — an isolated incident for me.

I’m finally starting to get the help I need to be able to deal with some of the stuff that caused everything I described in the paragraph above. I’m sure it’s going to be a long process — mostly because I’m already realizing there was a lot more that I need to work through than even I initially realized — and I’m not particularly ready to talk about it here yet. That may well be something that happens in the future. After all, the whole reason I started blogging/writing back in 2009 was because of a suggestion given to me by the therapist I had gone to see then when I told her I couldn’t afford to come to our second appointment. But that time likely isn’t any time soon.

That said, I bring all of this up because of something that happened somewhere along in the process of finally reaching the point of realizing that I need help. I found the place from which one of the characters in my book is coming from. I admittedly didn’t expect it. The character isn’t necessarily the character I was looking to continue building on in the next draft of my book. But at the same point in time, doing so not only makes a lot of sense to me but feels a bit more meaningful.


I say all of that to say I won’t be doing NaNoWriMo Tips in November of this year, nor will I be starting a NaNoWriMo project based on the short story linked in this post. If you’re looking for NaNoWriMo help, I would encourage you to pop over to r/nanowrimo on Reddit, as it was a great resource for me last year. I likely will still turn that short story into a book in the future, as it’s a story that has existed — at least in part — in my head for nearly six years now.

This November will be dedicated to working on my work in progress and helping to build it out to where I want it to be. I’m hoping that between whatever notes my editor has for me by that point, my own quick plot consistency review I’ve been working on, and the newfound voice for one of the story’s characters that this edit will go a long way towards getting my work in progress to a finished product.

WIP Update #4

Inner monologue: It feels like progress on my book has been going really slow. I can’t imagine what I’d even have to talk about since the last time I wrote a formal WIP update post.

*re-reads the last update post*

Inner monologue: Oh. Shit. There’s actually been progress for once. Well, let’s get to it.

This post is both a long time coming and yet a post where I feel like there’s still a long way to go. There’s been a lot I’ve done on my book since February — some of which I’ll be discussing in greater detail in this post. However, to quickly summarize, I have done the following since my last post about my work in progress:

  • Finished the first draft of the book
  • Written a preview scene for the sequel1More on this further down. to the book
  • Finished a second draft for the book
  • Torn apart my book with my editor/creative director/whatever she is2Hi again.
  • Finished a third draft for the book
  • Had a mental breakdown about a lot of things3This actually happening more than once, but only one of those times did it lead to me venting about my frustrations with writing. which manifested itself in a mental breakdown post about writing
  • Drew* out what some of the characters in the book looked like
  • Plotted out the basic premise of the series that will (hopefully) come out of this book

I’m writing this post in early July, so it’s certainly possible I could add something to that list between now and when this post goes live mid-July. That said, even if I make no changes to the above list4Note: I made no changes., that’s still a ton of shit I’ve gotten done.

As I mentioned before, I was debating whether or not this was going to be a series. I’ve ultimately decided that there will be a series coming out of this book, which has meant a good bit as I was going back and editing, particularly when working on draft number three. Oddly enough though, had I decided against making this a series, it really wouldn’t have changed the ending to this book all that much. Because of the sci-fi setting this book takes place in, there’s a lot that was left to the interpretation of my mind more than anything else. As this relates to the ending of my work in progress, it allowed me to have the kind of ending I wanted to the book regardless of the route I ended up choosing.

You may have noticed on the next to last point that I have an asterisk next to drew. This is because I have a bit of a unique problem when it comes to art. Specifically, I suck at art. That said, I really wanted to be able to have some context for what my characters looked like beyond what was in my head. So I did what any rational person who was bad at art yet has access to a computer would do: I created my characters in The Sims 3. I’m not quite ready to post those character mockups on here yet — mostly because I want to do that once the book goes into the beta reading stage (or shortly thereafter). That said, I did share a couple of them this month for my Patreon subscribers, so…hint hint.

I already plan to do a whole post about the editing process once that’s done, however, I do want to take a moment to call out a specific part of the editing process that I didn’t expect to go through. I’ve been doing a lot of reading this year across various genres, reading a bunch of books that range from amazing to absolutely horrid. Nearly every book I’ve read this year has caused me to re-think some part of my work in progress. In particular, Every Tool’s a Hammer by Adam Savage caused me to really consider how much I’m working in conversations that don’t advance the plot of the story but serve to add depth to characters. As someone who loves books that do this, but am not always the best about it myself, it was a great reminder to have.

At this point, I’m probably still at least one draft away from getting beta readers for the story. With that said, when I am ready, I’ll be holding a call for beta readers on this blog (and maybe on my Twitter) after offering to some folks who have already expressed interest in doing so. Hopefully the beta reading experience will be good, as my only experience for it comes from short stories rather than a full novel.

That’s all I have to share for an update for now. My hope is to have an additional update by the end of the year, though I’m not particularly sure exactly what the timeline will be. Thanks for sticking around during the long time that this story has taken. I’m thinking it’ll be worth everyone’s patience.

WIP Update #3

My inner monologue: Oh hey. Are we at the six month mark where we provide an update to the novel you’ve been working on fort he better part of a year now?

*Checks calendar*

Also me: Yeah. Well, more or less. But it was a really shitty six months where I didn’t get much done because I was struggling with a ton of shit mentally. I was to the point where I felt like I was in a rut I’d never get out of1I wrote about this for an upcoming post that will go up at some point in (likely) March.. You can’t have expected me to write during that time.

My inner monologue: Did you write anything new in story?

Also me: Yes…

My inner monologue: Let’s hear about it then.

Also me: Finnnnneeeeeee.

Oh hey. Happy…*checks calendar again*…February. I know some of you are wondering how my work in progress of a novel is going. Especially since I decided to make finishing a draft (or two) of it one of my writing goals for this year. And yes, I know that doing a separate work in progress update post doesn’t exempt me from my regularly scheduled quarterly goal update posts, but if there’s any way I can get more posts out of the same amount of content with how busy I’ve been the last couple of months, I’m going to take advantage of it.

When we last checked in on my progress of the first draft, I had around 35,000 words and just under half of my chapters written. I can happily say that — as of writing this — the draft is now over 53,000 words, with 21 of the 26 planned chapters written, as well as the 22nd chapter started. At this point, it’s looking like the initial draft of the book will end up somewhere in the 65,000-75,000 word range, which is a bit short of where I’d ideally like to have the book when it’s completed. That said, I’ve already identified a few areas of the book that will receive some significant expanding in the second draft. Part of this will be for world building reasons, while part of it will be to better flesh out the backstory of one or two of the main characters.

On the plus side, being this far into the draft has gotten me to the point where I’m comfortable discussing some of the broader points of the book in a bit more detail. Since I’m still WAY far out from having this book ready for publishing in any capacity, I’ve deceided to limit that sharing to those who support me on Patreon rather than the general public. One of this month’s rewards was a podcast giving a little context as to two of the main characters of the story, but I’ll be expanding on this more in the coming months. If you’d like some of those pre-release updates, you could always consider supporting me on Patreon. Wink wink nudge nudge.

I’m also hoping that this first book will become part of a larger series. While I don’t have too much I can share about that at this point, I will say that there will be a noticeable tonal shift between this book — which is intended to be a sci-fi slice of life love(ish) story — to the rest of the series (which will keep the sci-fi parts, though not so much on the slice of life or love story parts). There are a couple of characters in this work in progress that will feature heavily in the rest of the series, hence wanting to build up backstory for those characters as I mentioned above.

I’m still hoping to have the first draft done by mid-April, which will require some significant writing over the course of this week to be a safe bet. Time after this week has the potential to get a bit more scarce2For reasons I’ll share in a later post., so if I can crank out an additional chapter or two before the middle of the month, it’ll make hitting that deadline a bit easier.

Of the various projects I’ve been working on, this is definitely the one I can remember being the most excited about. I wrote the short story that this project is based off of nearly two years ago at this point, so it’s been a story whose plot and characters I’ve become quite attached to. I’m excited to eventually share it with all of you.