The Three Hundred and Seventy-Ninth Post: The One Where I Write About…well…It’s The By-line Of The Blog…

I know that when I started this blog, it was going to be me talking about writing. This was going to be a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

When I’m writing, this is a great idea.

When I’m not, I’m staring at a blank screen.

Like for the past week.

My dryer decided to shuffle off its mortal coil ($200 to replace, but the part is on back order apparently), so I’ve been doing my laundry at the local laundromat. The good news is that it’s only a block away from the house, so it’s no big deal to walk the basket it over and get laundry done. The bad news is that its been cutting into my writing time because I have to do everything at the laundromat. Washing, drying, and folding – all done there. I can’t go back home because this is a slightly sketchy laundromat. I don’t want people either going through my clothes and helping themselves to what they like (it’s happened). I also don’t want to turn my back on my laptop one minute and find it gone the next. It’s not cutting edge, but it’s paid for.

If I were to link this to writing, I would like to address the husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends or kith and kin to the writer. Bless you if you’re helping even by the smallest things: offering to do the dishes, making lunches or dinner, listening to streaming consciousness plotting. Anything you do to give your writer a couple of extra minutes to write is absolutely golden. My wife helps by doing the dishes in the evening so I can get a couple of paragraphs in before bed.

My writing has slowed down a little because I’m having to set aside a few hours for laundry. Yeah – we have a bit of laundry to do. My wife needs her laundry done twice a week. I can go a whole week, but it’s a lot to do in a day. She does the dishes, cooks dinner and I make sure that we have clean clothes. I’m putting my stuff on hold, but I am seeing just how much I relied on her to give me a couple of minutes.

So – sweetie…if you’re reading this…thank you so much for giving me time here and there.

Hopefully by Friday, I can get back to re-writing Romance with Advantage. I’m about done fixing one scene, and I’ll only have two more obvious scenes to re-do. I can have it all done and ready by the deadline (suspiciously not mentioned…). With getting back to the regular schedule, I should have better things to talk about.

Thank you for being patient. Back to blabbing about writing by next week, I promise.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Post…The One Where I Reach for the Brass Ring!

I take great pride in saying that I am almost done with the second draft of Romance with Advantage. I’ve got to smooth out a few things, try to join a couple of scenes together and work out some more mechanical kinks (damn you, adverbs! Damn You!) before getting it beta read for the final check. After that, I made the numerous changes that will need to happen, and I should be done. The cover is a simple thing for me: I’ve done some ‘rough drafts’ and I’ve gotten everything planned out. A simple cover with dice and hopefully sufficiently blurred out DM’s screen and minis. Somewhere, I have a written back cover blurb…I think…if not, then I am not going to worry about it. I’ll just re-write it.

After this, more Valentina’s Feast and hopefully finish Agonizing Alibi Day. If I can get to September with a clean slate to start Gaze Unaverted, Staring Blankly Ahead – my attempt at literary fiction…which I have no idea what the expectations are.

I’ve read some literary fiction, but most times, I’ve abandoned it for more familiar fantasy series or some sci-fi. So far, the only due diligence I’ve done is read the TV tropes page. I should try to read a book of literary fiction from cover to cover. I’m not really nervous about this, but it’s kinda of my moment when I’m getting back at the ‘but when are you going to write something real?’ crowd, so I got to get this right. I feel like I’m stepping into sacred material. Here I am – no degree, barely any sort of literary experience and I’m aiming at the biggest prize in American literature: Pulitzer Prize.

That’s right. If this works out, I’ve found a way to submit this novel to the Pulitzer Prize Committee. Am I tilting at windmills? Yep. What do I have to lose really (other than the entrance fee of $75)? I can’t wait for opportunities like this to happen. I certainly didn’t do it when I was first starting out. I’m not where I want to be right now, but at least I am not languishing in a corner in my study wishing I had the gumption to put something out.

I guess that’s the lesson for today, everyone – just do it (Don’t sue me, Nike). Be bold. Take a step forward, even if it’s an unsure one. Especially if it’s an unsure one. The worse thing that can happen is failure. If you fail…then learn from that failure and move on.

That’s all for now. I am slightly scrambling to get this out on time for a change, and I hope to be a little more upbeat next time. Hopefully, next time I will be able to say I’ve finished the second draft and sent it off to some beta readers. We’ll see – just stay positive.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-seventh Post: The One Where I Talk A Little Vacation…

I’m taking a bit of an extended vacation because today is Opening Day. I’m still going to write, but once the baseball starts, I’m not going to do anything else. I wanted to do this last year but there were…issues…keeping me from doing it. Today, I’m going to get that chance.

Of course, I’m up at 5:45 AM (normally, I’m up at 4:00 AM). Not mad, but I am a little disappointed. I was looking forward to gently rolling awake at the lazy time of 8:00. Oh, well – I have a lot to do anyways. My dryer decided that life was no longer worth living and shuffled off its mortal coil. To be honest, I’m not happy, but there’s little I can do now. I’m getting a new one, which means I get to make up lsot time at work.

Oh, well. We smile, adapt and move on.

Today, I’m going to get a little more writing done and tonight – I’m going to play with my camera and the zoom lens I got. Hopefully, the skies will be clear enough so I can get a couple pictures of the moon. If I can and they get developed right, I’ll put them up on the blog.

Speaking of writing, it’s been a little challenging getting the fill-in scenes for Romance with Advantage. I’m trying to show Gabe getting frazzled and exhausted, but I’m trying to not jump in it feet first with it. I’m trying to make it a slow build so that Lacey can come in a figuratively save the day. It’s a balancing act, but it’s one that I love.

This is going to be a little quick, because I do have quite a bit to do before 2:00 PM when my team takes the field!

So – have fun everyone, have a hot dog for me and go Nats!

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Sixth Post: The One Where I Hope Not to Use the Phrase ‘It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…’

While Pander-monia is happening next year, I am having a bit of a quandary. How much should I pander? Yes – I want to make money, but the one reason why I’m going the self-publishng route is because a lot of the ideas I have aren’t necessarily what one would call “marketable”. If I send something out, I want to be the only one with responsibility for what I hath wrought.

For example – I have an idea for a novel that can be summed up by the phrase: “Breaking Bad with body parts”. Sure, I think it’s a great idea. The story of one man being made to be so desperate for money that he descends into distasteful criminal behavior that borders on illegal. Should I write it? If I wanted to have this traditionally published, the answer would be an amazingly simple ‘Hell, no!’. Not only is the whole idea distasteful (Apotemnophilia), but it is not original. The notion of someone succumbing to evil is not a new one, and the aforementioned show (my favorite) did it much better.

Then again…I think this would make a very good body horror novel, and that’s a genre where there isn’t a whole lot going on. The last one was written in 2015. While it’s a staple in horror movies, and that’s there the genre really blooms, I think there is enough space for something new. It’s not even really about body horror as it’s a polemic concerning greed.

The whole reason I’m doing Pander-monia is to make money. Every moment I spend writing next year should be spent writing something that’s going to turn some sort of profit (except for YA. I don’t have that sort of skill-set). However, the other side of this is: when I write something I like, I am so much more productive.

I know that I have a lot of time to think about this, and I am leaning towards just this sentiment:

I’ll even buy golf clubs to punctuate my disdain…

I’ve got a few months to think about and plan for it if I do it, or even if I don’t do it right now. My first novel needs to get written during December so I can get it ready for publishing by the end of January and try to get one novel written a month (700 words a day, 3 times a day is 2,100 words. 2,100 words a day for 30 days is 63,000 words – enough for one novel). The whole goal is to stay busy, get prolific and push myself.

But, what do y’all think? Is this a tempest in a teapot? Me trying to fill in another blog post to maintain some sort of continuity? Should I cater to the fickle crowd, or boldly strike forward? Let me know and also – feel free to buy a book (on the right hand side of this blog) and sample some of my writing.

Well, with all that said, I bid you all a fond farewell for the week. I will be back next time, hopefully with something a little more worthy.

Ta-ta.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Fifth Post: The One Where I Take Careful Aim at 2022…

I’m trying to get more organized in how I write, so to that effect, I am going to outline my plan for next year. Because I like giving things cutesy, punny names – I hereby declare 2022 Pander-monia!

Have you switched over to Reddit yet? No? Good.

I have a couple of tools at my disposal that I really don’t use as much as I should if I want to make this whole writing thing a little more profitable than it is now.

One of them is a subscription service (then again, what isn’t?) called Kindletrends. This goes through the top 100 in various genres and tells you what’s selling, what the most popular key words are, what do the top 100 covers look like and other vital things to help one market or write. Let’s face it, I’m a one-man band here. As much as I would like to think my cannibal romance book is destined to be a New York Times Bestseller once it’s finished, I do have to put out things that are going to get looked at and hopefully bought. I’m going to use the keywords and other trend things to give me a head’s-up on what’s popular. Let’s face it – if 50 Shades of Grey can be successful…so can I!

The other tool is called KDSpy. This one measures the popularity and uniqueness of various keywords. It tackles the same issue that Kindletrends does, but from the other end. With this, I can find out what other keywords I could use, and how often they’re used – the idea that if I use a popular keyword, I run the risk of being overlooked because I’m not in the top 10 or 25.

What I’m trying to do is maximize my visibility.

Of course, I can hear you screaming at the screen: “WHAT GOOD IS BEING VISIBLE IF YOU’RE NOT PUTTING OUT WORK?”

This is the second part of the equation. Next year it’s going to be a novel a month. Can I maintain that sort of pace? I can do it in November, and I have done it before. I can do this. All I have to do is really, really set aside my ego a little and…pander.

Yes, it does gall me a little. I think I have some great independent ideas, but no one’s going to see them unless I get my name out there. The best way for me to get things out there is to work more towards the marketing end of things. Like I said, I have these tools and I’m not really using them. I really, really need to start putting out material. I need to get King levels of prolific. My big ideas will have to wait until I can spare the time.

There are other things I have: beat sheets, editor programs and word processors whose name doesn’t rhyme with Schmicroschmoft Schmord. This is me putting my drive to the test. If I fail at this, then I really need to relegate this to a hobby. This year, I’m going to finish up a couple of projects that I’ve started and try to clear the table a little.

Wish me luck.

Also – I’m going to want pictures of adorable pandas. Just to help me carry on. Thanks in advance.

Just A Quick Note…

This is the last day I have to do overtime at my Dreaded Day Job ™ and that really messes with my day and my sense of time.

I thought today was Tuesday.

I’m going to get back on a regular schedule with commenting on WandaVision and how no one is not really talking about it’s one really, really good quality. I did finish the first draft to my novel, so now begins the fun part of rewrites and hopefully haranguing someone into beta reading it for me. When that’s done, I promise to get back to Valentina’s Feast and finish that. Afterwards…maybe Agonizing Alibi Day and hopefully that will get me to September when I’ll try to do something literary to carry me to the end of the month.

I promise, I have not forgotten about any of you, my patient readers. I’ve got (admittedly) way too many irons in the fire. Monday, I am going to start whittling them down.

I pray for your indulgence just one more week.

I Would Have Done It Differently: Writing About How I Would Have Written The “Wonder Woman” Sequel Differently…

Sorry I was completely absent last week. I’ve been trying to wrack my brain about how I would continue the next installment of “How I Would Have Done It Differently” with Barbara and Diana. To be honest, I kinda summed up everything in the first installment: we would see Diana be the diplomat, the ambassador, and a peacemaker. We know she can fight, but this would show us a different side of her,

Anyway, with that out of the way – I have good news! I’ve finished the rough draft of my challenge/sweet romance novel! Romance with Advantage will now rest of a couple of weeks while I work on another neglected project. Second will hopefully be done in a month and once the cover photography by yours truly is finished, I will release it and hope to God it doesn’t stink as badly as I think it will. I have to admit that romance is not my chosen genre, but I was challenged by a good friend to dabble in it. I think after this, my next work is going back to a genre I am more comfortable with: fantasy. It was fun to try something new and we’ll see what happens.

Beyond all of that – there is little in the way of news on my end. I’m giddy to have finished something and gotten it out of the way, and happy that I’ve tried something new. In that vein, I will cut this short a little bit, but I will be back next week with more thrilling tales!

I Would Have Done It Differently: Wonder Woman: Apex Predator (Act 2, part 1)

The first act set the stage. Barbara has become the Cheetah, an extension of the Mayan god of cleansing, frost, and punishment. As the second act opens, we see a couple of guys walking down the street. Their heads are down, and they look like they’re up to no good. A woman walks by – we can see it’s Barbara by the slumped shoulders and the panicky gait to her walk. The guys take a second look at her as she passes by. They see her as prey…so they turn around and follow her.

She smiles when she sees she’s being followed. She takes a turn down a blind alley. She stops at the end and makes a point to look frightened of what will befall her. She makes deals, offers money, but it’s clear that the men only want one thing. One of them rushes her to rip off her coat. Barbara smiles as he gets a handful of fabric.

“Purge.” She says with a smile. “Cleanse.”

And boy, does she.

She moves like Diana, but while Wonder Woman’s goal is to neutralize a threat, Barbara’s is pure sadism. She breaks bones, lacerates, and does everything she can to make these guys hurt. When all is said and done, she surveys what she has done and grins. “Payback’s a bitch. Am I right, fellas?”

Cut to…

Diana watching a news briefing on her tablet about events happening in the Middle East, particularly a coup in the desert nation of Kahndaq. As she silences the tablet, she stops. Cue ominous music as she catches Barbara staring at her with displeasure. When she turns around to face her completely, the hateful mien is gone, replaced by the permanently ‘flustered-outside-her-comfort-zone’ Barbara Minerva.

Barbara says that the artifact that they’ve been working with was a temple stone – more than likely a meteorite gathered up and made an object of worship. The monetary value isn’t that much. The composition of the meteor is nickel, and not worth a whole lot…maybe a few hundred. The worth of the artifact, however, is so much more. The people robbing the pace would have no idea what they had in their possession. As Barbara is talking, she’s picking up the artifact and is holding it like she would her lover. Diana takes note of this – she understands completely that there are forces out there just beyond mortal comprehension.

“Barbara? Are you all right?”

Barbara blinks a couple of times, then gives Diana some shade. “I’m fine. Just the idea that those people would have just thrown this away because there was no gold. No fancy gems…just this citrine. People like that need to be gotten rid of. They’re just trash.”

Diana feels like there’s something else behind the voice. “Hey…let’s get lunch together. My treat.” Barbara agrees and they continue with their respective jobs.

At lunch, Diana gently feels out Barbara’s personality. She’s skittish at times. She says that when she was growing up, she was the last one picked for sports, the one who couldn’t handle public speaking…the one everyone teased and picked on and bullied. Diana listens with sympathy – even though she was popular, she never knew of the people around her were real friends or trying to cozy up to her mother. When Barbara asks what her mother did…Diana smoothly colors the truth and says her mother was the mayor of her hometown.

In one of the TVs, we see in the restaurant, we get an image of two men being carted into ambulances – the two guys from earlier – but Diana and Barbara don’t see this. We then get one of those moderated, triple split-screen with a moderator, a local politician…and the “vigilante expert” and police commissioner from Gotham.

Barbara happens to catch this and smile, commenting on how it looks like those two got what they deserve. Diana catches this but plays it down, saying that there was a line overstepped. Barbara disagrees, stating that those were the type of people who made her life miserable growing up. They got what they deserved and the rest of those sorts of people should be—

“Purged?” Diana asks.

“Yes. If a person can’t be nice, or at least civil…then they can expect to be treated harshly until they get their act together.”

“I disagree. While there is a need for some corrective procedures, punishment is not the be-all-end-all solution.” With Diana going through World Wars, she knows what she’s talking about.

Barbara’s disgust becomes overflowing. “Said the pretty woman.” She reaches into her purse and tosses down a couple of bills. With that, she gets up and leaves before Diana can say anything. As this scene ends, we hear the vigilante expert from Gotham say this: “It’s never going to get better. It’s just going to get worse.”

We cut to night. Wonder Woman is taking up a watch over a place that’s been noted for several attacks on women. She has no sword or shield with her, just the lasso. A small group of guys start hounding a woman – shoving her back and forth, trying to grab for her purse and pull off her coat. We hear her cries…and know it’s Barbara.

The other guys get a huge surprise. She rips into them – maiming limbs and breaking bones. Wonder Woman charges into the fray, not to save Barbara, but to save the hoods. AS they fight, Barbara lays into Wonder Woman, for sparing the lives of these animals, punctuating the last three words with broken limbs.

“They deserve a day in court, and a chance to learn from their mistakes.”

“THEY DESERVE TO DIE!” With that, she breaks the neck of one man. Diana stands shocked and frozen. She’s no stranger to death, but this was beyond anything she’s comfortable to stand by. Barbara starts to leave, but Wonder Woman stops her.

“You can’t just leave.”

“You think it’ll stop here? What’s going to happen? Two men cops are going to show up. Family who didn’t give a shit about them are going to come out of the woodwork suddenly saying they were just boys caught up in a bad situation, and I am going to rot in jail. Me! Who did the world a service by taking out the trash!”

“You’re not—” Wonder Woman doesn’t finish her statement, as Barbara headbutts her and tries to escape. A new fight breaks out, with Barbara’s training matching Barbara’s berserker frenzy. Finally, she manages to escape into the night. As the red and blue lights of the police draw close, Wonder Woman swings away.

Now – there is going to be more to this act, but I’m trying to get something thrown up for today. Last week completely escaped me as I was put into quarantine and I was dealing with that stress. I promise (stop me if you’ve heard this one) I will be back on track for the foreseeable future. I’ve also got somethings to say about WandaVision as I am now caught up with it.

As always, be careful and buy me coffee or buy one of my books to keep me off the streets. Thanks, and take care.

Hey, Everyone…

I should have been writing my treatment for the second act of Wonder Woman: Apex Predator, but I ended up falling asleep at work during lunch. I had a couple of low-sleep days, lack of caffeine and some grim anniversaries coming up have sidelined me for a while.

I am going to forge ahead and write the second act over the weekend and have it up for next Thursday. At the very least I’m maintaining a regular posting habit for every Thursday.

Sorry, everyone — I’ll try to be better.