The Three Hundred and Sixteenth Post: The One Where Google and I Are Going to Shack Up Together…

Yesterday, I discussed the secondary protagonist Nigel (not his permanent name, seriously) and I mentioned that next time I was going to talk about the world that this book takes place in: World War I Europe.

Of which I know next to nothing.  This is not the biggest problem I am going to face, thanks to Google, Amazon and Wikipedia.  My biggest problem is going to be picking what time period I want the different acts to take place in.

The issue I have is that America isn’t really central to the story.  I don’t want this to end with the US Marines Expeditionary Force charging over the hill and trampling Dracula.  That’s not what the story is about.  It’s about the death of one age and the beginning of the another.  Nothing here about the dawning American Century.  Just a crazed blood sucker who doesn’t want to swap out a hand-and-a-half sword for a Steyr machine gun.

So — I’m going to have to figure out what’s what as far as acts and where everything is going to take place.  I’ve got a good idea about the first act: Merry Olde England where we find our protagonist.  Not so sure about the second, third or fourth acts, but the fifth act should definitely take us back to England.  Yes, I give the Heroic Cycle some lip from time to time, but it works.  What about the middle?  What do I want to bring up?

Well, there are some neat battles I want to bring in: Mons and Ypres to start with.  Mons just to see if I can incorporate the myth of the Angels of Mons into it somehow.  I don’t know if I want to have the protagonist get signed up right away (if I do, then there is a really good story potential lost there) or I want to wait.  Just a quick look at the article about the Battle of Mons tells me that there’s no way I can do that — the Battle of Mons is the first battle fought by the British Expeditionary Force.  Oh, well…I’ll have to look for some other legendary battles and myths during the middle of the war.  I’m sure I’ll find something.  or I can just make it up.   It’s not like Dracula is going to sue me or anything.

When I come back Monday, I think I am going to really get into the protagonist.  I want to get everything set up for this poor man because he’s going to be pretty much the spirit of the age.  I have to admit, I have cribbed this idea (slightly) from Alan Moore’s From Hell.  Although my protagonist isn’t doing anything as nefarious as Jack the Ripper, but I love the idea that there is something beyond our ken that pushed humanity into the age we know.

Thank you for dropping by and reading my blatherings.  On the right of the screen is my current work, a bitcoin tip jar and works of dear friends.  Feel free to click and look about.  I hope y’all have a good evening.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Fiftheenth Post: The One Where I Talk About the Guy With the Bull’s-Eye in His Chest

OK – we’ve talked about the antagonist in this vampire tale, and we’ve touched on the protagonist (I’m going to take about him in depth next time).  Now, I want to talk about the second-most important character in the story: the protagonist’s best friend.  For now, we’re going to call him Nigel.  Of course, this is not his final name, but I am not going to keep typing ‘the protagonist’s best friend’ while talking about him, so Nigel it is.

A lot of times, the secondary protagonist serves the purpose to highlight the main protagonist.  Your main protagonist is a quiet, calculating type, so the best friend is the guns-blazing, shoot-first, second and third sort of person. Your protagonist is a sober sort of fellow who has to come in and bail out his best friend from jail…again.  This a rule that doesn’t need changing a whole lot.  In my last post, I talked about subverting tropes.  I intend to do that with this story, but there are some that shouldn’t muck around with.  This is one of them.

So – as our main protagonist is going to be the Harker-expy from Dracula (I am taking some things from the original text, only because I’m trying to get back to the notion that vampires are thins to be feared, not snuggled), our man Nigel is going to be a little more adventurous.  Hie might even be in the War ahead of Harker and have some responsibilities ahead of him, which no doubt has aged him a little, maybe made him a little more sober about such things.  Not as bad as some people, but we are going to see that war is indeed hell, and one of its Dukes has as of yet to arrive.

Will Nigel get hurt or killed at the hands of either our Harker-expy or Dracula himself?  Not really sure how that is going to fall out.  I’m torn between two camps:

  • Yeah, he should die.  The whole Hero’s Journey shtick has him passing through the Underworld (or the trenches of the Underworld) and something should be sacrificed.  We can’t sacrifice the hero because ultimately it is about transformation.  The sidekick on the other hand is completely open to have abuse after abuse heaped upon it, ultimately ending in his death with this also the spurring action.  This has been done, parodied and lampshades over and over again.  So if I want to play with the audience’s expectations…
  • He should live!  After all, the point of this whole story is to subvert a lot of the audience’s expectations.  We have been primed to believe that the best friend has to undergo something dramatic, or even fatally dramatic. Going back to the inciting action (this could even be the proverbial Call To Action), he doesn’t have to die, he could just see what’s going on and politely opt out.

I poltely decline your call to adventure.
I am half tempted to have poor Nigel end up as the Dragon – the secondary antagonist (the best example of The Dragon is Darth Vader. Also point of trivia: ‘Dracula’ isn’t a name, but a title meaning ‘Son of the Dragon’.  Just sayin’) Ina the story.  This does strike as a little overdone, so maybe this will something I will come back to later on, after I have fleshed out the main antagonist and protagonist a little better.  For right now, Nigel gets to remain alive, sane and possibly a War pensioner by the end of the story.

Lucky man.

Thanks for reading this and bearing with me while I blather on.  As always, if you’re generous and tech savvy, there is a bitcoin link to donate to.  I am working on getting something up like PayPal.  There are also book links on the right.  Feel free to look over those.  Next time, I might explore more of the timeline of this story.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Fourteenth Post: The One Where I Sigh Wearily and Slump into a Chair…

…because I am finally caught up with the two missing days of the week!  Anything else I do after this will hopefully put me on schedule to finshing at the end of June and beginning editing.  I do have someone lined up for editing, so hopefully this one will be better than my first novel out there.

I said I was going to talk about my vampire project (which I am not going to get to close to being started until 2018. I am slow, but complete), and I want to talk about the themes I want to work with.  This might have been covered in an earlier post, so I apologize for any repetition.

First off…while I agree with the notion that the vampire is a polite Victorian stand-in for lust, but why should it be only sexual lust?  Yes, I understand that sexual lust exactly what the vampire was representing, and the triumph of the main character is symbolic of the triumph of will and manners over our bestial nature.  With me so far?  Good.

What if we substituted the idea of bloodlust for sexual lust? I know that I described the scene that got me going for this idea earlier on, so I won’t bore you with those details.  The time period I’m picking is World War I, because it’s the perfect time for something like this.  It’s the end if one era and really the beginning of the modern era as far as warfare goes.  The grand nobility of war is wiped away by the mechanization of the tools of warfare.  We get frightfully accurate (for the time) artillery and machine guns mashed together with 19th century tactics.  This is something that a being accustomed to the hot spray of blood on his face should be horrified over.  The intoxicating feeling in watching the light flicker out from someone else’s eyes is now lost to the notion of ‘advancing barrage’, ‘acceptable casualties’ and ‘trench warfare’.  In the modern era, we would shrug our shoulders, even though we are going through that change here and now.  Drones have been put out into the field to not only spy on our enemies, but kill them from long distances.  While it is good in the notion that we are shedding less and less blood on the battlefield (don’t believe me? Take a look at causality statistics going back from their height at the Civil War to today), I can’t help but think Chesty Puller would look at a drone and make the same statement he made about seeing a flamethrower: “Where the hell do you put the bayonet?”

So, if this vampire story is going to be about the spirit of bloodlust giving way to the cold calculations of modern warfare, should our protagonist and handy audience stand in get to become a vampire, or just see the horror first hand?  I’m saying first hand witness, but I do want to have someone undergo the change.  One of the vampire tropes I am not going to openly subvert is the notion that the main character is going to have to put down someone he likes.  We’ve seen this in almost every iteration of Dracula and every other vampire film (not Twilight…for that is not about vampires. It’s about sparkly bitches that my vampire character would tear through to the sound of thunderous applause).  I’m thinking, however, that while in the movies, the character does this with the notion that “so-and-so is dead, I’m just putting him/her to rest”, I want it to mean something else entirely.  What that should be, I have no idea right now.

My ultimate goal with this book is to bring vampires back to being something feared, and not to be cuddled up to at night.  That’s a tall order to be sure, but that’s why I’m not planning on getting to the rough draft until 2018 at the soonest.  I really want this book to be the best one. The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show is going to be my best fantasy work, and The Dreaded Day Job my best comedy — I want this vampire story to be my best horror story.

Double points if I get it finished before I die.

Well, I will work a little more on this and throw some more ideas at you.  Thank you for reading, feel free to avail yourself to the tip jar or buy one of the books to the right.  Have a good evening.

Seething Apathy 

The Three Hundred and Thirteenth Post: The One Where I Demonstrate I Do Not Suffer From Triskaidekaphobia

Hello, everyone!  I was able to make it to the office and managed to crank out three thousand and five hundred words — meaning I covered the word count needed for today, covered Sunday and started working on yesterday.  If I can manage another day like today, I can get back on schedule.  If I do two more days like that, I can get a little ahead…which is what I need to do badly because there is no “get ahead”, there is “get less behind”.  If everything can work out the way that I want it to, I can get it done by the end of June and begin the editing process.  I am aiming on getting this novel out by the second half of the year.  It’s only going to be a 55K word novel, so it shouldn’t take that long to get finished.  I just need to buckle down.

That phrase should be on my coat of arms: Ego ipse applicare debet.  My standard will be a red mule trying to buckle a belt in a field of silver.  It only seems appropriate.

At least I am maintaining this blog a lot better than I did two weeks ago.  Technically, this is the second post for the day, but I’ve always considered the day ending when I fall asleep: GMT be damned.

The writing today was really good.  I was able to really get into the main character’s self-loathing while on the date with Jennifer (a place holder name, honest).  I should get that done tomorrow and continue sailing into Act Two — where the conflict really gets ramped up and one of minor protagonists may or may not get a bloody nose.  I still have some enthusiasm for this project, so I am confident that this one will get done on time…ish.  Let’s not lose our heads over this, OK?

One more thing I need to do is get together a list of conventions in my area beyond Fandomfest (I think the tables have been sold out for that one).  If anyone reading this blog knows of a fantasy, or bookseller’s convention in the Kentucky are, please let me know in the comments.  One of the things I really, really need to do is get myself some more exposure.  So, it’s either hit conventions or marry a Kardashian.  I’d much rather learn about conventions, but if I have to bite that bullet…hey…it’s what I have to do.

Next time, I think I’ll depart a little from the updates and maybe gab about a show, or how I would have done that show differently.  I really should talk about the WWI / Dracula project.  I haven’t touched that in a while, and it’s an idea that has stuck with me for a while.  I’ll read some of my older posts…cringe a little and try to pick back up where I left off.

Well, thanks for dropping by, and I hope to hear from you.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Twelfth Post: The One Where I Try To Ride Out The Unsexy Writer’s Cycle

Hello everyone.  I’m a bit bummed today, and I have noticed that there is pattern to my productivity:

1) The apex — I can do this. Two thousand or three thousand words is no problem,  I can make this work.  This phase lasts for a couple of days…a week at the most.

2) The negative grade — I can get out two thousand words, but my focus is a little scattered.  I can still make this work, but it’s gonna be work.  This lasts for a couple of days.

3) The bottom — Why am I deluding myself?  Getting a hundred words is a miracle.  Two thousand?  Right… Am I making a mistake in chasing this? Nth is lasts for a couple of weeks, then I begin the long climb up.

To quote Jim Butcher: I don’t have a muse. I have a mortgage.  I’m the sort of person that needs to have everything in its mental place and a mental place for everything.  I’m not big on surprises or uncertainty.  Right now, I am taking all that I can with this job change (pro writer) and getting settled into a nice routine.  I’m hoping that with the routine set, I can free myself up to write, get a couple of books finished and maybe expand my financial base (more on that later).

Sorry that this isn’t the sexy writer talk that I usually come up with, but this blogging process is more than a roundabout way for me to hawk my wares.  It’s to get into a good routine and get my headspace sorted out.  It does take some training for me to put my thoughts on paper.  I do tend to hold things close to the chest, and that at times might hinder the creative process.  For example, the main character in The Lard Of Love is getting ready to have his second encounter with the female lead, and it’s a little nerve wracking to write because I am drawing from my own experiences, so I’m having to relive some personal and embarrassing memories.  It’s all good — if I can make the main character’s unease palpable then it will be worth it.

Changing topics — I watched a documentary about the Magic: The Gathering Pro tour (I think it’s called “Enter the Battlefield”) and I was watching these people play a game and work their up the ranks to be the best in the world, I kept feeling that there was a story to be told there.  Whether it’s a piece of fiction or following someone from the local card shop all the way up…there is a story there.  I can’t explain the feeling only other with saying that my brain was saying over and over again “This would make a great story.”  I’m sure some of you have felt that feeling.  That mental itch that burrows down past your consciousness and takes up residence in your subconscious.  I am going to toss this one and the way back burner.  Right now, I have to finish my current project and get to the one I really want to do for this year.

Well, I should get some sleep since I have to get up early in the morning to make my routine work.  Thanks for reading this, and I promise that my next post will be a more pleasant read for you.



Seething Apathy


The Three Hundred and Eleventh Post: The One Where I Come Close to Being On Time (Ha!)…

So…I woke up this morning with the notion that I was going to head to the office and make up the missing 2,000 words from yesterday.  I was going to shower, fuel myself with some strong coffee and make some progress.

Instead, I snorted, rolled over and fell back asleep.  I’m fairly certain this is not how Stephen King starts his day…or maybe he does.  He can certainly afford to do these sorts of things.  After all, didn’t he say he was retired?  I think he did.  Well, he’s still cranking out books, so I wonder if his definition of retirement and mine are the same.

Speaking of being productive, I did manage to get down to the office and get about two thousand words done, and I managed to get the First Act completed.  Now all that needs to happen is the main character (Kevin) needs to go on his first (not-a) date with Jennifer.  Yes, these are placeholder names for the most part.  Kevin is a little close to my real name to be comfortable to me, but I can’t keep on using ‘protagonist’ in the rough draft.  All in all, I am still liking this book enough to not ditch it for any of the other ideas I have.

For anyone here obsessing with my maintaining this blog (just me, right?), I will try to have at least six days a week.  Sunday was a mess because it was Sunday and Saturday was a little complicated because that’s the only time I have to do any chores (if you saw my place, you’d understand…then call the heath department to have it condemned).  So, I am still going to try to maintain this little slice of surreality.  Five days minimum, but if I get a Saturday or a Sunday in, sweet!  Any suggestions on topics will be appreciated…except politics.  If you’re really, really curious about my stances on any and all hot-button issues not related to writing, please reach out to me through e-mail.  This is strictly a writing blog (ha-ha-ha).

Speaking of writing, one of the things I am having to consider is how I am marketing.  Right now, it’s an easy thing to consider: I’m not doing it.  Yeah, I have a Twitter account, but it’s chock full of friends, book tweeting services, people who I wonder if they’re just not just grabbing people randomly and various stars.  I might be projecting my own disdain for this onto my own efforts.  I just see these ads for books and think: meh.  Then again, I also tweet out that I have books, and I don’t see a bump in sales from it.

As you can see, I am a horrible sales person in a job where being a sales person is the only way to thrive.  I honestly don’t know how to generate sales, and frankly — I’m afraid to ask simply because I’ve already been taken for a ride about these sorts of things once.

Well, I’ll look at all of this fresh in the morning.  Tomorrow is another day to change for the better.  A fresh start!  A bright new day…to snort, roll over and fall asleep again.



Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Tenth Post: The One Where I Try To Remember…

…who sang the song “Slave To The Grind“.  I’ll look that up after I’m done with this.  It’s my fourth day of 2000 words a day, and I know have new respect for people who can maintain that pace for more than a month.

Because today, I was not really feeling it.  Even though I was caffeinated thanks to the office it was hard for me to stay on task.  I’d write a few words, stare at the rain (that might have had something to do with it) for a few minutes while listening to music.  I usually listen to the local radio station, but that kills my phone battery and I need my laptop to be fresh for the writing.  So, today I pulled out an old .mp3 player and loaded it with a bunch of music and Hardcore History (which I recommend highly).  I drove to the office (or the local Starbucks, whatever) because it was looking overcast.  Setting everything down and getting the usual drink (vanilla iced coffee with cream and sugar), I turned on the laptop and waited for it to start up.  On the upside, it doesn’t take that long because I changed out the hard drive for a SSD drive and that has not only made the battery life double, but the start up is now about twenty seconds from a good three minutes.

Anyways, I was looking out the window while I was trying to get going…and I wasn’t in the right headspace.  That’s the only way I could explain it.  I would write a few sentences and stop.  A few more sentences, maybe a paragraph and stop.  I would sip my coffee, watching the sky change from grey to light grey to rain.  I haven’t gotten any sort of payment since the convention…and I left a really good job for this.  I’m one of those people that’ll find something to worry on…and worry on…and worry on.  I’ve got some reserves of cash, but…this is a gamble.

This could be a one-time thing.  I do have bouts of depression every now and then, and I tend to bounce back.  More than likely, this is just from the weather.  It has been a few days from the convention and I’m coming back to normal.  Tomorrow is going to be better — a little warmer, a little more sunny, so I might go back to the office and see how I feel.  I might try to set something like a tip jar either here on the site, or a sticker to slap on the laptop.

However, I have started the bible for one of my future projects “Drinker, Flirter, Jester, Spy”, so I might do that down the road.  It might be after November because I want to make sure I get all the details down.  So far?  I’ve got the name of the main characters and who I’ve cast in the movie:
1) Jolly Jehanna (real name: Jelena Sirotskethe aforementioned Jester/Spy): An orphan from Tarjen (Yes, that Tarjen) raised to be a spy and her assignment is to get close to the Duchy of Comyna and scout about.  Why is she doing it?  Not really sure.

2) Vitenka: Jehanna’s handler — the poor guy assigned to keep her out of trouble and under control.  You’d think that he’s the aforementioned ‘Drinker’, but he’s not…so far.  This is still in the planning stage, but this is what I am going to be working on after I get the 2,000 words for “Lard of Love”.

Well, that’s all for now.  Feel free to leave a remark, or check out the books on the right hand side.  As always, thanks for reading and I wish you well.


Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred and Ninth Post: The One Where I Let Mr. Shatner Introduce The Subject…

It’s the first time on the other side of the table!

I am happy to report that I survived my first con experience as a vendor.  I sold three books with only the strength of my personality (or in spite of it, as some might say), and I can confidently say that I am on the right career path…finally.  Sure, I’m starting over at a time when other might start winding down and looking forward to a retirement in ten years.  I’ve also learned some thing about setting up and tearing down:

  1. I need a banner sign:  Here’s my set up.  You’ll see what I mean almost immediately:
    To be fair — this is my first time.
  2. I need to be a lot more steady on my elevator pitch:  I got the one for The Dreaded Day Job down, but I flubbed The Quietest Heart and that might have cost me a sale.
  3. I need more signage: sure — there’s a lot going on there at my table, but I need to also tell people that I have an Internet presence.  Y’know: the Facebook page, the Twitter account and this blog.  The person across from me had a banner that had QR-codes with her Twitter and Facebook pages set up.  I need something like that by the time I get to the next convention…whenever that is.
  4. I need more books!  Holy cow, even though I was selling three books –2 paperbacks and an e-book (which didn’t really sell at all), there were people there selling seven or eight books.  I need to really, really buckle down and crank out some more stuff.
  5. I’m not going to stand all day.  I thought I could.  After all, it’s only five hours.  While I stood about maybe four hours total, I did end up sitting for a few minutes.  I noticed that more people came by when I was sitting.  I really do need to relax at conventions.
  6. Roadies would be nice.  Just sayin’

I had fun and got to talk to a couple of people.  I even posed for a group picture.  I am definitely going to try to find other conventions to go to, I’ll focus on local ones first and when the funds get bigger, then I hit the out of state ones.  I thought I was going to be a whimpering wreck halfway through (I’m not what one would call ‘comfortably sociable’), but I managed to have a good time.

I am working on a new romance novel called “The Lard of Love”.  I am not going to release any more information about it until it’s done.  I have a bad habit of spilling my guts about what I’m working on, and then I don’t want to finish it.  So, I’m going to shut up about it and show everyone what I am working on this year:

1) Lard of Love — should have the rough draft finished by the end of next month at this rate (2K a day!)

2) The Marvelous and Mysterious Doomsday Medicine Show — I can’t wait to get this one started.  This one is in a shared universe with several other projects.

3) Money-Man / SuperCapitalist — This is the NaNoWriMo project inspired by The Gun by C. J. Chivers.

That should be enough to keep me busy for the year.  If not, then I have so much more to do — a sequel to this book, and another romance / fantasy novel with the working title of “Drinker, Jester, Flirter, Spy” (actually, I like that title…).

Well, I am going to try again to make this a more steady thing.  At least three times a week — even when the Olympics come to TV, I will try to maintain this one.

Amanda…stop laughing.


Seething Apathy.