“The Three Heretics” First Draft is Done! So What’s Next?

I’m glad you asked!

Well, as any writer will tell you, the first draft is not the last drive. As pretty as you make it, as much as you love it at that moment in time, when you go back to it months later, it ends up losing some of its luster. So while “The Three Heretics” is done, it still needs some loving before we move onto the editing stage. So for those who are interested, here is the plan for the months to come.

  1. Rewrite “The Three Heretics” completely. There’s not much to this. I open up the file, go to the beginning, pick an empty line, and start typing everything all over again, making changes as I go. This may seem like a long process, but honestly, it’s not too bad. This way, rather than reading it and correcting when an issue pops up, I’m reintroducing myself to the story, memorizing all the little details I may have forgotten, and fixing things on a more focused level. I anticipate the beginning chapters to take longer than the final chapters, as though were just finished and more representative of where I am at as a writer at this moment. All in all, I expect this process, as long as I don’t dick around too much, to only take like 2-3 weeks. It could be more. I don’t know. It is a really long book.
  2. Beta readers! Want to hear something crazy? People are actually coming to me, rather than me going to them, and offering to beta read my novel! That’s awesome. The fact that people are that excited and invested in the series already (and these are people that I met after I published “Bones,” not pre-existing friends) makes me very happy. So once the rewrites are complete, those who have expressed an interest in being beta readers will be contacted and given the second draft to tear apart, worship, read with a mild indifference, whatever.
  3. Hire an editor! Wait, no, no exclamation point. Hiring an editor is expensive, and like I said, this is a really long book. But, damn it, it has to be done. Unfortunately, Eve Marie, the editor for “Bones” will not be returning to edit this novel. While I wish that she could, editing was a side job that, at the moment, has to be put on the back burner as she works her full time job. No big deal! So while the beta readers are doing their beta reading business, I’ll be scouring the internet for an editor that I feel will serve “The Three Heretics” well … and make me look real good.
  4. While our currently unknown editor is editing, Hannah and I will be putting the finishing touches on the cover. We will also be getting the world map together, and I will be completing the introductory letter and the glossary. Also, we will be coming up with marketing strategies and community things we can take advantage to promote it. It is time to get serious!
  5. Editing takes awhile, so I anticipate I’ll have some time to do other things, too. I hope to have my horror anthology “Black Occult Macabre” out by October. While “The Three Heretics” is getting a makeover, I’ll be trying to write the last two stories for that anthology, which are “The Black Hour” and “Where the Dead Go to Die.” I’ll also be working on my brother and I’s Friday the 13th script. Who knows if anything will happen with that, but it will be fun and … you know … I heard the studio is struggling to move forward with the franchise. If you want some pointers or, like, a screenplay, don’t hesitate to e-mail me, bruhs.
  6. Once “The Three Heretics” is edited and my bank account is lessened because of editing, I’ll review all the corrections and integrate them correctly (unlike I did last time). Then, I’ll ughhhhh then I’ll format the Createspace and Kindle files so they don’t look like mutant freaks of novels.
  7. Then release! So what is the release date? I have no clue. I wanted it to be out this summer, preferably around when “The Bones of the Earth” was released, but who knows if that will happen. But I think we can get this done in the next few months. I want it out there real bad.
  8. June 10th is the one year anniversary of “The Bones of the Earth.” Obviously, going to have to do something special for that. But what? Hmm.
  9. Well, after all that is done, I guess I’ll just have to start on the next novel, which is entitled “The

See ya later!

Want a Quick Look at the New “Bones” Series Map?


I need to scan this bad boy, but until, enjoy this somewhat decent photo of the new map for the “Bones of the Earth” series. It is currently based off the locations from Book One. Jacquelyn Graff, Hannah Graff’s sister (illustrator for the novel), created the map for me for Christmas.

You can find some more of her work here.

To Celebrate the release of the AUDIOBOOK for “The Bones of the Earth” on Amazon and Audible

ad sale scott (1)

That’s right! I’ll be bombarding people more tomorrow, but until then, save this page and these links.




Get “House of a Thousand Hearts” and “That Which Walks Behind the Graves” FREE on Kindle 8/24-8/25

Aw yea, free stuff time.

8/24-8/25, my two horror short stories, “House of a Thousand Hearts” and its sequel “That Which Walks Behind the Graves,” are FREE.

Not only are they standalone tales that will leave you with nightmares, but they also integrals parts the universe of my novel, “The Bones of the Earth.”


Best House of a Thousand Hearts

graves new

The Importance of Editing

Today, I wanted to share with you the original opening for “The Bones of the Earth.” This was before it was edited, before I went back and re-wrote every chapter. Some people, myself included for the longest time, feel that having an editor (or editing) isn’t terribly important. But it really is. It makes a huge difference, and it’s one of the most important things you can do for your story. Obviously, it feels bad to spend the money to hire someone to do it, but it’ll feel worse years later when you read over what you released and realize how much more it could’ve been.

So check it out! Notice the differences. If you don’t own the book, you can see them through the preview option on Amazon. In this small sample, we can already see a lack of personality in Vrana. Things move very quickly. The sentences aren’t very tasty. It’s decent, but nothing I’d want to have out there.

Vrana no longer felt the weight of the raven’s head upon her own. It belonged to the mother of an unkindness* that dwelt deep in the woods outside her village of Caldera. The beast did not die willingly, the scars that now ran the length of Vrana’s back a testament to its frenzied violence. On her departure, the unkindness gathered around their headless mother and croaked happily over her bloody passing. If she had any regret regarding the ordeal, it was that she did not cut loose the mother’s talons to forge later into daggers.

The tall grass of the field obscured Vrana well enough, but the wind here was relentless and seemed to revel in revealing her to the enemy lurking behind the distant tree line. She watched for their movements through the hollowed sockets of her mask, tightening her grip on her axe at every breaking branch and skipping stone. The forest itself was much fuller, much healthier than the den of the unkindness Vrana had attacked, and the sound of the murmuring stream within it made her parched mouth all the more unbearable. Her limbs ached, too, but to move would undo the hours she had spent sitting stationary as insects scaled her legs and crawled along her flesh, biting and tasting the secrets it held.

She could not leave this place without taking a life, and taking lives was something she’d done easily in the past, but to kill a human, a Corrupted, did give her pause.

Vrana was on her feet moments after an arrow was loosed from her victim’s bow, and she was at the edge of the forest before it hit the spot where she had been sitting. Branches and thorns whipped and cut Vrana as she hurried passed them, never losing sight of the man with the bow and quiver of arrows. He darted between the trees, occasionally stopping to fire an arrow half-heartedly. They never met his mark, and each attempt only served to close the gap between Vrana and her prey.

Muscles burning, Vrana feared her body would succumb to exhaustion and the man would escape, but in his final act of foolishness he sought safety in the sky. He hoisted himself onto a tree, clamoring for branches. He was a slow climber, however, and the bark was wet, slippery. The man was only a few feet off the ground before Vrana caught him by the ankle and buried her axe into his spine.

Goodreads Giveaway for One Week Only!

There’s a new giveaway up at Goodreads! You have on week to enter to have a chance to win an autographed copy of “The Bones of the Earth.” For those who missed out on the first giveaway, this is a great chance try again!


Check out the New Map and Sample Chapters!

A rough draft of the world map has been posted under extras. Also, for those of you who have finished “Bones,” the first three chapters of Book Two, “Three Heretics,” have been uploaded. Check ’em out and enjoy!

Get “The Bones of the Earth” Free on Kindle 7/9-7/10

The day after the Goodreads giveaway wraps up, for a limited time, “The Bones of the Earth” Kindle edition will be free to purchase from 7/9-7/10! Download it, leave a review. I’d love to hear your feedback, positive or negative, to know what worked and what didn’t, so that Book Two can be even better!



Interview with the Author


Here’s a short interview conducted with Scott Hale, author of “The Bones of the Earth.” We hope you enjoy it, and check back soon for a more in-depth video with the author regarding the series.


Do you recall how your interest in writing started?

As far as I can tell, my interest in writing began at a very young age. I believe it started in kindergarten. I was at my aunt’s house after they had bought a computer and I’d discovered the word processor.

(Side note: This is the aunt who let me watch Night of the Living Dead and Near Dark almost every time I was there. It took years for me to finally see how they ended, because I always fell asleep watching them. See parents, Horror is even good for nap time!)

For some reason or another—maybe it had been my aunt’s suggestion—I wrote a story about a witch. Of course she was evil, and of course she killed people. And of course this totally bothered my mom. I had also, I think, used the word “damn” or “bitch” in the story. How I dodged the school psychologist all those years …

After that, I wrote sporadically, usually in rebellion toward my mom when she would forbid me from watching or playing something most normal kids wouldn’t watch or play at my age. She wouldn’t let me watch Starship Troopers, so I wrote a comic. She wouldn’t let me watch Event Horizon (after I’d watched it several times behind her back), so I wrote a sequel to it. I even wrote a sequel to the video game Silent Hill; I still have it somewhere. It’s in a red folder which I drew on for its cover, and inside there’ a stack of notebook paper covered in really crappy handwriting. It’s pretty awesome.

Where is one place you want to visit that you haven’t?

I would love to visit Alaska. I don’t know a whole lot about the place other than it looks amazing and it has almost everything I could ever want. I think I would be flooded with inspiration visiting or living there. In regards to “The Bones of the Earth,” I’m not sure I would want to live anywhere in that universe. Perhaps somewhere in the Frozen North, or if I’m lucky, one of the less chaos-wracked places of the Nameless Forest.

What authors have inspired you to write and why?

As I’ve been saying for who knows how long now, I don’t read as much as I’d like to, so I feel kind of ignorant sometimes when it comes to talking about novels. However, if I had to say which authors influenced me the most, I’d go with Vladimir Nabokov, Clive Barker, H.P. Lovecraft, Edgar Allan Poe, and perhaps Alan Moore. I love Nabokov’s style, his command of the language and his playfulness with words. Clive Barker is fantastic at building grotesque scenes and worlds inhabited by people you really care about. Lovecraft and Poe brought a sophistication to horror and helped lay the groundwork for the stories to come. And Alan Moore, with his contributions to comics, graphic novels, what have you, mixed incredible prose and vivid imagery in such a way that really stuck out to me (I love Swamp Thing).

Honestly, I’m more of a movie guy myself. Top five Horror films? In no order:

1. Halloween

2. The Thing

3. Alien

4. Videodrome/The Fly

5. Hellraiser

(very special mention: Sleepaway Camp. It never gets old.)

What are you currently working on?

I am currently working on Book Two in the “The Bones of the Earth” series. I am about forty percent done with it. I am also working on an anthology of horror stories, which is nearly finished, but will be released later.

Are your books connected in any way?

Before “Bones” and most of my short stories, I was writing screenplays. Around that time, I had the idea of connecting everything I wrote by having it take place in the same universe, and I’ve been doing that since. “Bones” takes place after an event called the Trauma. Before “Bones” and the Trauma are my short stories and screenplays, some of which will be in the forthcoming anthology.

Some book series have these great and expansive worlds, but often times the worlds feel sterile or too large to really appreciate. By using short stories to inform the past, present, and future of “Bones,” I aim to create a much more personal, much more engaging world that is constantly developing for the reader. I think that people, especially now, really enjoy connecting the dots; that is, identifying places, people, events and the relationships between all of them. However, I know some people can feel overwhelmed; they feel they’ve missed too much backstory, so when I write, I do so in a way that most everything can be read as a standalone story. All the little details and connections are there if you want them, and if you don’t, no big deal.

In your most recent book, “The Bones of the Earth,” the main character, Vrana, wears a raven mask throughout the story.  What mask would you wear if you were part of the novel and why?

I suppose I’d either wear a mask fashioned from an octopus, or perhaps I would wear an alligator’s head. I’m not sure why. Whatever I would wear, it would probably be from some sneaky or weird looking creature. I find I gravitate more toward the weird things of the world. I think they have more character.

Is there a message in “Bones” that you readers can take away?

There are messages in my novel, but I don’t really care if people catch them. I’m not the kind of person that likes to preach. I don’t pretend to know how the world works, and I don’t think my opinions are so damn awesome I have to share them every chance I get with the world. My goal with my writing is to entertain. They’re not empty works devoid of subtext—I’ve certainly things to say—but that’s not the main selling point. Perhaps my message does have a novel, and it is this: Think for yourself, ask questions, but please, don’t be a selfish dickhead about it.

Do you have any advice for other aspiring authors?

Be honest with yourself. When you write, just as when you interact with others and conduct business, you have to be genuine, true to your nature. Don’t try to mimic some other writer out there. We already have that writer’s voice. But we don’t have yours. Understand why you’re writing what you’re writing. Don’t focus on making everyone happy, because you won’t, you can’t. It’s impossible and that’s okay. But again, be honest with yourself. Talk to yourself. Engage in self-reflection. Writing is a very personal thing, and you’ll be putting a lot of yourself out there. It may be disguised by characters and setting, but it’s still there. The better you understand yourself, the better your writing will be, as you’ll have a better understanding of your intentions. And once you’ve got a good hold on that, then you can move onto worrying about what other people want, and how far you’re willing to go to please them while remaining true to your vision.

Also, if you’re serious about getting published, don’t be like me and wait to get your name out there. Start soon. Engage in groups. Use social media. Be a beta reader. Get your name out there. Establish an audience, a presence, so when you ready to publish something, you’ve got a huge group of people already there to support you.