The Blog Exotic.
A Creative Laboratory.
If you're looking for something to listen this holiday weekend, download "The Golden Princess" on Audible or Amazon. Undecided? Listen to the first three chapters FREE! Nominated for the In'DTale Magazine's Audiobook of the Year, "The Golden Princess" is the prequel to the "Chronicles of Fu Xi" epic fantasy series. Still not sure? Here's what a professional reviewer says:
"Mr. Braden creates a believable world and fills it with vivid images that will cause an eruption of emotions at times. Listeners will experience joy, sadness, anger, amazement, and hope, to name but a few. The tension gets overwhelming at times, and the breakneck pace is unrelenting...Phillip Battley does an amazing job narrating, creating personalities with unique voice characteristics... A thoroughly enjoyable story from beginning to end." -Carey Sullivan of InD'Tale Magazine.
Buy the audiobook on Amazon or on Audible.
I'm relaxing on vacation and I thought I'd fire off a quick blog post while I'm drinking my coffee this morning. Yesterday, I went out on an errand and stumbled upon some fascinating ruins. I sorta lost myself exploring them. An hour or so later I emerged with dirt caking on my shoes, sand burrs and beggalice all over my jeans, and about a hundred new images on my camera. Sometime next week I'll blog about my adventure.
My editor is 75% completed with work on "The Bastard Gods". I'm very pleased with her work. Right now, I'm working on finishing the cover and maps. I'm still on track for a late summer release on both eBook and paperback.
I paid Createspace to make my previous Chronicles of Fu Xi two covers. Now that Createspace is gone, and I understand Photoshop, I'm doing it myself and I must say I'm pleased. I think it looks every bit as good as the covers I paid for. When I release Book IV, I'm going to recover the whole series and make them a box set. I'm also going to create a new cover for "The Golden Princess" and "The Illusion Exotic" as future projects as well.
I'm also working on all new maps and glossary for the series as well.
I've also outlined 16 chapters on Book 4, "The Children of Fu Xi". This project is moving forward nicely. I'm planning a book retreat for the fall, where I can get away for a few days and get some serious writing done. I want the first draft completed by next summer. I really, really want this series completed.
This will be my last blog post for a few days. Time for some photography and family time. Thanks for checking in.
I have a new gallery on Fine Art America - Southern Seaside. "Golden Hour Beach Photographer" has been features in Fine Art America's "Scenes from a Beach" and "My Florida" art groups. This image and all my photography can be purchased as prints, canvas, metal or a variety of formats and products on Fine Art America.
As "The Bastard Gods" makes its way through editing, I've started writing the final installment of The Chronicles of Fu Xi (TCOFX), called "The Children of Fu Xi". Its likely to be my final self-published book. After that, I either publish traditionally or I don't publish. Here's my reasoning.
I set out to write a complete epic fantasy series. When Book 4 is published, I will have completed my quest. I did it my way. Has it been a commercial success? Hell no. I've lost money, and I will continue to lose money on the series. I will never make back my editing costs, advertising costs, and lots of other costs. I accept that, and I'm good with it. I proved I could not only write an epic fantasy novel, but I could write a series. It's a good series. I'm proud of it.
After I complete TCOFX, I have no further need to publish. I will continue to write, but I have no need to publish. Been there, done that, got the t-shirt (actually, two. Thank you, Helen!)
Self-publishing, if done correctly, is expensive and exhausting. If you're going to do it to make money, you have to write well and write for specific markets. If you are not writing for a market, you'll lose money. The markets are flooded, getting noticed is difficult for even good books. For traditionally published authors, that kind of writing is hard. For self-published authors, its brutally hard. I deeply respect writers who do it.
It became clear early on that the TCOFX doesn't cleanly fit in a specific genre, or market. There is nothing like it out there on the shelves. The series is its own comp. I feel confident stating I created something unique, with high quality, and I did it on my terms. Traditional publishers told me they thought it was good, but it wasn't what they were looking for. They didn't know where it fit. That's cool. They're venture capitalist, and desire a return on their investment. Several publishers told me I would have to change key story elements for them to consider it. Nope. It is now and, when finished, an uncompromised work.
My small experience with traditional publishing has been mostly positive. It's nice to have an editor. Its nice to have a publicist. Its nice to see your books in book stores. It doesn't relieve the author of their responsibilities to promote their own book, but it gives one a solid platform with which to stand. If I publish again, I'd rather have that experience.
However, I do dislike pitching and sending queries. Rejections suck. Having publishers tell me I have to completely change my story to fit some kind of trendy social agenda sucks. I'm wide open to suggestions (in fact, the title "Black Sea Gods" was a publisher suggestion!) I'm just not open to suggestions that are not literary or quality driven. I'll have to get used to that again, because it comes with the territory.
I believe my story ideas and works in progress beyond TCOFX are more marketable. They fit more neatly on the shelves. I think a few of them might stand a chance with a publisher. What I have now, which I didn't have in 2011 when I started this journey is a quality body of work, and a realistic perspective on the publishing world. I also have a sense of peace.
If one of my manuscripts gets published, fine. If they don't, that's fine, too. All I really have to do is write, and that's a wonderful thing.
What lies before me now is the quest to bring the Chronicles of Fu Xi to a satisfying conclusion. I hope you will stick with me for the rest of the journey.
I'd like to thank the Pea River Historical & Genealogical Society for inviting me to speak this week. This was my first speaking engagement associated with "Abandoned Wiregrass." It was exciting to meet so many people enthusiastic about their local history. I spoke for about an hour about the book and the places I photographed throughout the Wiregrass. Several in the audience knew details and background on the places in the book I didn't know. They were a treasure trove of information!
The Pea River Historical & Genealogical Society does much to promote the Wiregrass and preserve South Alabama history, from keeping historical records to selling books on local history (like Abandon Wiregrass). If you'd like to learn more about them, click here.
If you're interested in me speaking to your organization about Abandoned Wiregrass, please contact me here or on Facebook.
It's been too long since I blogged. A lot has happened in two years, one of which is I've become a professional photographer. A crazy thing happened not long after that - I got offered a book deal by Arcadia Publications to write a photography book. My latest work is "Abandoned Wiregrass: The Deepest South's Lost and Forgotten Places." Here's the blurb, link and video.
Welcome to the Wiregrass, a place where abandoned doesn't always mean vacant, and vacant doesn't always mean empty. Nestled between Florida's sugar-white beaches and the agriculturally rich Black Belt, there exists a land of endless peanut fields and high cotton. This is the deepest of the Deep South, Dixie's last stand before accents and culture take on a decidedly Northern flavor along the Gulf Coast and Florida Peninsula. Narrow asphalt ribbons wind through this region's pine forests, passing through small farming communities that are fighting for survival in the global economy.
The lingering aftershocks of the 2008 economic crisis and 2018's Hurricane Michael still reverberate here. These pressures, along with an aging and declining population, have created a region where abandoned buildings are commonplace. These forgotten structures speak of dreams lost; from crumbling sharecropper shacks, to desolate main streets, to modern homes where the owners simply moved on. Take a journey with award-winning author and photographer Brian Braden as he chronicles the slow-motion apocalypse of abandoned homes and businesses of the Wiregrass and also discovers a place of hope and transition, where citizens fight to revitalize their hometowns and preserve a rich cultural heritage.
Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Arcadia Publishing