The Four Hundred and Thirty-Ninth Post: The One Where I Raise the Black Flag…

I am working on Nanowrimo this year and I’ve got to say it is pleasantly exhausting this time. I’m managing to average two thousand words a day (in spite of skipping a day) and I’m back to waking up at 4 AM to get a majority of my writing done. I have a good feeling about this one. I really think I could hit the 50,000-word goal by the end of the month. I’m working on the series I am going to put on Royal Road, so I’m not really working very hard on this as it’s really a boiler-plate fantasy setting.

I’ve decided to live by the words of Charles Bukowski: ‘Find what you love and let it kill you. Let it drain you of your all. Let it cling onto your back and weigh you down into eventual nothingness. Let it kill you and let it devour your remains. For all things will kill you, both slowly and fastly, but it’s much better to be killed by a lover’. I love writing. I love the process. I love sitting in front of a computer or sitting at a table with an open notebook and feeling the possibilities rattle in my head like eager dice in a cup. I love giving an idea of a person the breath of life and seeing them do amazing things.

It’s taken me a major milestone to say ‘fuck it’ and go for it. To let everything go as best I can and reach for the sun as my wax wings melt. I know I’ve said this so many times, but there is some sort of energy behind this. Most of the time, I say it all the time, but it sounds hollow in my ears – like I need to sell the idea to myself first before I can sell it to others. Maybe it’s the success I’ve had with Nano so far. Maybe reconnecting with the Nano community has warmed some long cold ashes in me.

Maybe it’s because I didn’t win the Powerball and I need to do something else with my life. Who knows? I just need to get something done and I am definitely not getting any younger sitting here and fiddling around. So, my advice is to go for it – whatever that ‘it’ is. Kiss that girl, write that novel, make that film. Live the life you know you were meant to live.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Eighth Post: The One Dedicated to Whoever Said “Better Late Than Never”…

…was a writer with a blown deadline.

As it ends up, Level Four Publishing really, really wanted someone who wrote a lot like Amy Tan and a lot less like me, although I got a nice rejection form letter. So, my plans don’t change much. I’m stoill going to work on the epic fantasy series and hopefully get a book out and done soon, then plod on to the next one…assuming I’ll still have the outline for book two finished lone before I finish book one.

Book one’s outline is already getting changed although it’s in ink and sitting on a table at home. I’m adding Arrosa as a seemingly permanent character – with her own chapter introducing her and everything. Hopefully, the fake out will be enough to shock the reader and keep them reading for the rest of the novel (at least). I can’t really kill any others, and if I kill the bunnies, my wife won’t speak to me ever again. I might get away with killing Inaki…which I’ll just keep that as a fall back.

Did I mention this was going to be an ambitious series? I might end up killing everyone and having everyone replaced before the series ends. Wouldn’t that be something? I’ve never read an extended series where each of the main characters was replaced one by one at some point or another. I don’t think there is a series like that. It might be interesting, reading a series and everyone get replaced. Maybe I should try that. Hmm…

At any rate – this Saturday, I have absolutely no social obligations. I have only the excuse of laundry and buying a new wireless router to replace the one that died a week ago to keep me from writing. I’m not going to play any games, not going to watch any movies (only when I’m working out, helps to pass the time) – I’m only going to write. I’ve got to take advantage of this time and try to make up for some last ground. I think I’ll split my time between “The Kyklos Saga” and “The Show Must Go On” because they both need work. I;ve got to redo the chapter I abandoned in “The Show” because I’m not getting the main character really dig into the unhealthy obsession he’s harboring. It won’t be that hard.  With “The Kyklos Saga”, I just need to finish introducing the bunny siblings and write the chapter with Arrosa. Try to give her something of a normal childhood before she mercilessly dies. Muhahahahaha…

That’s all for now, really. Outside of ordering more fountain pens (pictures forthcoming), there’s nothing really new going on. So – feel free to look to the right for books to buy, or look down a little farther and please, please, please get me some coffee. Have a good day and take care.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Seventh Post: The One Where I Drink Scotch with Bukowski.

Well, I sent the writing sample and a cover letter (I am not good at cover letters. Please, God – let the read the sample before the cover letter) to Level Four Publishing and we’ll see what happens from there. If I get rejected – then nothing changes for me, really. I continue with The Deadly Barrows and try to get that going. If I am accepted, then everything changes for me. I’ll be under contract and making money for a change doing this (even more if they sell!). Might even be enough to get away from working for a living to writing. I figure they want 100,000 words every three months. With a five thousand advance, and if I just break even – that’s $20,000 a year. Enough to cover my expenses if I do nothing else but write.

If Level Four doesn’t drop me after one book.

That’s a possibility. I could be a New York Times bestseller. I could be a flop. At least I didn’t quit.

And that’s the one thing: it has never occurred to me that I should quit this. Sure – I’ll get roundly abused (‘more you sweat in peace, the less you bleed in war’ is how I look at it) by my writing group, but I’ve never thought about chucking everything in the air and saying “fuck it”. I look at the lack of sales, but I’ve never felt deep failure. I just need to find a better way to get my stuff out there. Is it stubbornness when I can’t conceptualize another option?

Why I number my pages…

Look at this blog. I think I only have two steady readers (Hi!) but churn it out as often as I can. I might take a “sabbatical”, but I don’t quit it completely.

So, I say to you all (all two of you, so pay attention) and I know it sounds trite and hackneyed but Do Not Give Up. Follow the advice of poet Charles Bukowski: “Find what you love and let it slowly kill you.”

Die for love, my darlings.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Sixth Post: The One Where I Type with Crossed Fingers!

Originally I was going to talk about how killing characters to show how big and bad the villain was seemed to be cliched to me, then I happened to be on the LinkedIn and I found this ad for Level 4 Publishing. I read on and found something interesting about them.

What’s-His-Name! NOOOO!

They want writing samples.

One of the problems I have had with notion of getting an agent is that I have absolutely nothing concrete to show for it – a degree of some sort. I know some of you are going to say to go out and apply, but I say this: I can’t for…reasons…the kind I don’t want to get into right now.

Anyway, Level 4 Publishing gives you an outline, synopsis, and characters. From all of that, you have to give them 1,000 words. That’s it. You lay it out on the table and see if they like it. I like this. It’s fair. I have an equal shot against someone with a degree in English.

What’s even better – you get paid $5,000 right out the gate if they accept you. Granted, it’s not all at once, but it’s the usual “advance” and you get 10% net royalties afterwards which is pretty standard in the business. So far, none of the usual flags come up for me – I don’t pay anything, they’re up front about the rights to the books (they’re not mine), and they already have at least one book out. This might be the gateway I’ve been looking for to get into professional writing.

Now, when it comes to length, they are not messing around. 100,000 words. That’s about two months of work of you’re clearing 2,000 words a day. This is my only sticking place because I tend to write about half that and call it a day. While it would be nice to let it all hang out as it were, I am a little curious as to the pace they want. Their ad says I would have to be willing to work 10 hours a week – two hours a day on the weekdays, leaving my weekends to myself. An hour at lunch and an hour at home is no problem. I’d still have the weekends to pursue my other projects which are not making money right now, or I could work six days a week for only two hours and see if I can get some favor for working fast.

Am I going to do this? That’s the question. All I have to lose is…nothing really. I’m not putting forward any of my ideas. The company hands them to me and I run with them. Am I comfortable with the company owning the rights…even trying to get the book adapted for movies or games? Sure. Might help to get my name out there for my stuff. Do I think I’m good enough?

No. There is a reason why I have a dreaded day job. Am I ever going to get successful? Who knows? But if I don’t do something, I am going to be sitting in front of this laptop wondering what would have happened if I took the risk.

I did try to get an agent once at a writer’s convention here in Louisville, but it fell flat. She said that what I had given her (the first chapter of The Dreaded Day Job) wasn’t what she was looking for. That was it. No other words of encouragement, nothing. I think she was looking for YA, which I do not do. After that, it kinda cemented my will towards self-publishing…but if this works…

I think I am going to give it a try. Like I said, I have nothing to lose in this. They refuse me, I plug on and kill a character to show how bad the goblins are. I get accepted, I get a novel outline and synopsis, along with professional cred.

Wish me luck.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Fifth Post: The One Where Nothing Happens…

Sorry, everyone. I’m going to skip out on this week’s blog. I’ve been working twelve hour days for overtime at my Dreaded Day Job.

Want to help me not sit at a desk for twelve hours questioning my life choices? Check out the books I’m selling on the right hand side of the blog, maybe even buy one. It’ll help me, and I’m even selling books from friends — so please help them out, too. I’ll be back next week with a new blog. Promise.

Until then — have a kitten.

Next week — this kitten murders!

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Fourth Post: The One Where I Manifested Donuts Two Days Straight?

There is an old military saying: “Once is coincidence, twice is intentional, three times is enemy action.”

I’ve had donuts twice in two days – from the same person when I was fiending for donuts.

Please allow me to explain.

I love donuts. I am not going to give them up. Yes – I’m on a diet and fitness program, but at no point did they say that I couldn’t have donuts. That’s their fault, not mine. Yesterday, I was absolutely driving myself crazy for donuts. I couldn’t get them out of my head. I was making plans to get donuts during break (there’s a gas station not that far from work). I tasted them in my mind. The mix of sugar and cinnamon. The softness of the dough in my mouth. The smell of the donut before I bit into it. My mouth was watering with the desire for them.

Someone I work with – going to call her J – came in with a box of donuts from a donut place down the road that makes amazing donuts. “I just felt like getting donuts today,” she says with a shrug when she sets down the box on one of the tables. When break time comes, I walk over calmly…not trying to betray the fact that I could upend that whole box into my mouth without a second’s quibble from my conscience. I opened the lid. There, in the upper left corner was a sugar and cinnamon donut just like the one I had been imagining.

Now, I’m a rational person. This was all coincidence. I wanted donuts, and it happened that J appeared with donuts. Cinnamon and sugar is a fairly common flavor, right? There’s nothing to it. I got super lucky (my doctor and my wife will say otherwise, but they don’t read this blog).

Today – more fiending for donuts. This I can’t explain other than I had wanted something sweet for breakfast and donuts came to mind. I was even close to a grocery store so I could walk in and get some. However, I was there on other business and never got the chance to head into the store and grab some for me. I drove to work with no problem (amazing considering the way traffic is).

Louisville rush hour is not for the faint of heart.

Sitting down, I let my mind wander to donuts – maybe I could make this happen on purpose? I pictured myself eating a donut, and this time I pictured a different donut. I pictured a fruit cereal and chocolate covered donut from the place down the street. I tasted the chocolate and fruity flakes in my mouth, I felt the crunch between my teeth. I felt the joy of eating them while I sorted through today’s paperwork.

J looked up at me and asked me if I wanted something from King’s Donuts – the place from down the street.

This is intentional. Either the universe wants me to have donuts, or I am somehow creating donuts in my life. I told J I would love to have the fruity cereal covered donuts. I stood up to give her a couple of dollars and she told me she didn’t need the money.

Let me say this again: the universe heard my call for donuts and answered.

People have been telling me to read Neville Goddard, because he describes this process in greater detail. I might have to do that. I mean, if I can manifest mere donuts, what else can I get from the Universe?

Well – that’s all the high strangeness for now. On the right-hand side (speaking of manifesting) are some of my books for sale and also books from good friends of mine. Please check them out! Have a good day and enjoy those donuts.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Third Post: The One Where I Am Not Happy with A Certain Blue and White Themed Company (and no Cards fans, it’s not U.K.) …

Facebook has earned my ire. I’m trying to run some ads on it, but they’re not letting them run. I paid money for it and everything, but nothing has gone through and the ad is about to expire. I’ve asked them about it, but I haven’t heard anything else from them. I am not happy about this. Not at all.

So, I ask you all – are there any advertising services for books beyond Amazon and Facebook? The previous times, I got some returns but they quickly diminished. I’m finding it costing more than I would like to pay out of pocket. If anyone has any suggestions, let me know in the comments section. Speaking of ads – on the right (and if you scroll down a little bit), you’ll see some books from myself and dear friends. Take a look at them, perhaps even buy them. They’re all well written…even mine.

Well, I’m going to go on ahead and pony out the cash for the ads. With any luck, I’ll get two or three sales from them. I’m definitely going to try the whole Royal Road gambit. It worked for Andy Weir, right?

I also started the fantasy series that I am going to put on Royal Road. The whole series doesn’t have a title yet, but the first book is called The Deadly Barrow. I wrote an outline for the first book and currently working on the second outline. This is going to be strictly a swords and sorcery affair. I think I’m going to find a good home there at Royal Road. Hopefully, this will be the thing to grow some more followers with.

I think that’s all for now. Again, on the right-hand side of the screen and a little bit down are some books written by dear friends you should take a look at. The list will be updated soon with John Stiver’s historical fiction book The Accidental Hero. I’ve read it and can’t recommend it enough. Everyone take care and be safe. Until next week, then.

The Four Hundred and Thirty-Second Post: The One Where I Try This Scheduling Thing All Over Again!

So – with two official projects to be working on, both of them will hopefully be paying, I am going to try to stick to some kind of schedule.

I’m not saying it can’t happen…I’m just saying look at my track record with dieting…

The plan is simple and requires no large changes from me. Weekdays, I work on The Show Must Go On. I don’t change the word count, but maybe I’ll try to squeeze in some work after I get home. On the weekends, I head to the local Starbucks plop down at a table and write out the outline for the progression fantasy series. With football season coming up, I know I’m going to need to get out of the house. On Saturdays that I have gaming group, or writer’s meetings it’s going to be afterwards (except for the gaming group when it can be before).

This is manageable in that I am still getting work done seven days a week and I’m not burning myself out on one thing. I have to admit I am on a bit of a pause as far as it comes to The Show Must Go On, so working on the outline is giving my mind a chance to figure everything out in the meantime. I’ll be out of the house, so I don’t have the distractions of everything else around me. Sure, I’ll have to do laundry on Friday night, but at least it’s out of the way, right?

I know I’ve said that I’ve got to treat this like a real business, but I had no business model or way to somehow make a steady income until I thought of the serial novel. Even then, I had no good idea that I could serialize. Now I have a long book series, and I might serialize one of my more adult ideas and see what that does. I even have a web address for it (dirt-elf.com – right now it takes you here to my blog, but I am going to try to change that once I’m done with the horror novel). I’m finally getting my feet under me and I am going to stand up.

About time if you ask me.

Well, I just put up an ad on Facebook for The Dreaded Day Job. Let’s see if this gets me some sales. If I could get as many sales as clicks when I post a picture on Facebook under R. K. Clark, then I’d have enough to maybe get to that indie writer’s convention in Las Vegas. I should save up for that. Take a leisurely 27 hour drive to Vegas. Let me think about that.

That’s all for now. I’ve got a schedule, now all I have to do is stick to it. Yeah.