When I was struck with the idea for the story of ‘What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles’ I had been on a sci-fi binge one quiet weekend.  While I watched Resident Evil, Reign of Fire, Jurassic Park, and others I contemplated how I had heard so many times “I have this great idea for a book!”  from friends and acquaintances.  It occurred to me that, as far as I knew, none of them had ever acted on any of those novelesque ideas.  I thought back about all the times I myself had said that very phrase and plot ideas began to flow.  I was IN LOVE with the secret underground (illegal) laboratory.  I couldn’t pass up the monsters’ created by man in an effort to make our lives better or more enjoyable.  I began to examine how I might be able to fit these concepts together and how these kinds of concepts would come together in a believable story.

Once I had a basic idea for a plot I began to think about the various characters.  I knew immediately that I had to have a heroine instead of a hero.  Why?  I have no idea but it worked fantastically for the plot of the story.  I suppose this is the point where any writer must decide which fits better for their story.  I thought about what my aspirations were as a child.  I could think of only one, well only one that was relevant.  I wanted to be a private detective.  (The other was a vampire but that didn’t really fit into the story, LOL).  The first character I created was just that, I reversed my own name and my ex-private eye/facility enforcer was born.  My beautiful, strong heroine was next followed by my dog.  Yes, my dog.  My miniature teacup chihuahua (Gigabyte) became Cujo, the pet of the facility administrator.  Sorry Mr. King, I just couldn’t pass up the irony of a chihuahua named Cujo.

For the initial writing of this novel, I actually wrote it at work.  I was a night security guard and had 30 minutes of sit and stare out the window time each hour.  Life has changed.  Job has changed.  Now, I write basically whenever I get the free, quiet, time to do so.  When isn’t necessarily something you can ‘schedule’.  For many of us it just is whenever life leaves you alone long enough to do it.  The important thing is to write as often as possible.  Even if you aren’t inspired to write at that particular moment.  Even if what you find yourself writing is crap.  Write anyway.  The next time you find a moment to write you can look back on what you wrote the last time and if you decide you didn’t like it, re-write it or find an idea or tidbit of inspiration in it.

I don’t really have a specific flow chart for writing.  Many blogs will give you a list or a method or a step by step.  I am way to random.  I basically jot down every thought, however stupid and retarded or brilliant they may be, on a notepad, generally taking many sheets of paper.  Then I will flip back and forth through them and elaborate on each idea with specific character interactions, delemas, key plot points, etc. and put them in a loose order.  Once I actually begin to write the story I will shift the order around and add or delete from the list as the story develops.  I love to visualize the story as I write it.  Seeing, in my head, the plot playing out as I want the reader to see it and then make changes to the way it’s written to make it more ‘visual’ for a reader.

I have taken most of my inspiration for sci-fi t.v. and movies, however, some writers who have inspired me have been Edgar Rice Burroughs (specifically the Martian Tales), Neal Stephenson (Snowcrash) and Robert A. Heinlein (The Cat Who Walks Through Walls).  Currently I am drawing great inspiration from the recent explosion in the steampunk genre.  Not really any specific author but really just steampunk in general.  However, my greatest inspiration is taken from my wife and children.

Getting published was an interesting and ultimately fruitless ride.  I searched for months for a literary agent, nothing.  After almost a year of researching them and submitting the information in the formats they specified, I finally got a lucky strike.  The agent put me through a series of tasks, with one colleague after another, charged me money (gggrrrr!) and after many assurances, eventually contacted me and told me they had “put my book on the back burner do to lack of interest”.  During that time the one thing she did do for me was help me find a “professional” editing service.  They told me very little needed to be edited and the only thing I needed to change was some minor paragraph formatting.  So I did.

By the time I made it to the prestigious and lofty position of “the back burner” I finally decided to look elsewhere.  I spoke to many authors including self published authors and found that LuLu.com seemed to be a great deal.  Now, self publishing generally means you don’t get the little extra bit of promotional help but other than that I was thoroughly pleased with their service.  Unfortunately, I erroneously believed my ex-literary agent when she told me the manuscript didn’t need any further editing than what I had been done and being eager to publish, I did not get a second opinion.  Lessons learned through hindsight are often the most bittersweet.  Moral of the story, ALWAYS check, recheck and recheck again to be absolutely sure your grammar, spelling and formatting are as close to perfect as possible.

The self publishing process however, was nothing less than awesome.  Easy, quick, cost effective, and fun.  Lulu.com even has a book cover editor/creator on their site.  They explain exactly how to format it, help get an ISBN number and a bar code, even walk you through the steps to choose the type of book.  The only out of pocket cost was the one book they send to the author, at the authors cost, to verify that everything about the book is just how ya want it.  For me this was seven dollars and some odd cents, plus shipping.  Once confirmed they even provide you with a storefront that your website can link to

People often ask me how long it takes to write a novel.  There are way too many factors to even attempt to equate that into a time frame.  I wrote the initial manuscript in a little less than three months and spent another three months going through and re-writing/formatting the story.  I have been slowly working on the second book in the trilogy for almost a year now.  It all depends on what else is going on in your life, distractions, responsibilities and motivations.

“What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles” is the first of a trilogy.  I am currently working on the second book which will be titled “Dragon Bound  The Dragon Chronicles”.  In addition to that I have planned a book with a distinctive “Dungeons and Dragons” flavor to it about a guy who is transported to an alternate world, learns about himself and what he is capable of, faces is own worst enemy and ultimately achieves his quest, and then returns to his own world to find everything he once knew to be gone.  I am also researching a novel that is, as of yet, untitled.  This novel with have heavy religious influences and a strong steampunk flavoring.  This story will include angels, demons, vampires and low tech super warriors, most of which in roles you would never have thought!

I invite you all to visi5t the websites for “What Have We Done?  The Dragon Chronicles” and “Dragon Bound  The Dragon Chronicles” for tidbits and snippets of the stories and to look me up on Facebook, Twitter and my blog “Wild Side Of Writing“.


  1. […] An Author's Insight by Author Mike Bailey « Wild Side Of Writing […]

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