The Three Hundred and Ninety-second Post: The One That Shows My Commitment and Might Get Me Committed…

I have an interesting problem and an easy solution.

This article tells me that one thing I need to be conscious of is branding. When someone picks up a book by R. K. Clark – what are they expecting? Fantasy with a twist of wry humor? Convention breaking romance, be it raunchy and bloody or sweet and kind? Societal commentary? Splatterpunk? I can tell you right now, people who read and like my sweet romance novel are not going to be lining up for my splatterpunk novels. R. K. Clark has to stand for something, darn it.

So, here’s the solution: pseudonyms. Amazon makes it ridiculously easy to write under different names, and I won’t be the first author to do that. The subreddit r/eroticauthors has people who write under several pseudonyms. I can do that.

Ladies and gentlemen – meet what will hopefully not turn into a bad rip-off of The Dark Half:

  • Kellas Donovan – hard smoking, harder drinking horror writer. Prefers splatterpunk with bleak endings.
  • K. R. Malbeouf – a sweet writer who likes romance, earned happy endings and clean prose.
  • Richard Cook – determined to highlight the ills of the world through the power of literary fiction.

I might be going overboard on something like this, but I see it as a chance for more people to get to my work. No sense in alienating fans because they can’t handle gore or romance, right? I also see it as a chance of increasing my revenue by having alternative streams and find out which one really pays. Sure, I have to have a regular writing income stream first, and my last post outlined how I am getting that going (update: cracked 10K words!). As long as I stay the course, I’ll be fine. I can turn two of the novels I finished into series – Valentina having a logical conclusion to support a limited series, and Romance with Advantage having a large enough cast to support a long running series.

Of course, all of this doesn’t mean a warm bucket of spit unless I get back to writing. So, if you’ll excuse me, I have a novel to finish.

The Three Hundred and Ninety-First Post: The One Where I Dangle a $800 Carrot In Front of Me…

Well – I was working on Truth Will Out – my next horror novel when I ran into a part that I needed to think about, which means my progress ground to a halt.

Now, I’m working on the next Valentina Novel called Valentina’s Repast. It can be described with the elevator pitch of: “It’s ‘How Stella Got Her Groove Back’ meets ‘Hannibal’ with a side of ‘Written in the Stars’.”

Sounds like a mess but trust me…it’s going to be good.

One of the keys that self-published authors seem to all agree upon is that series sell. I have enough ideas about Valentina right now to make a four-book series, and maybe even forestall the inevitable for another two books if it proved to be successful. I gave up on wanted to be an x genre author. I just want to be a successful one, so I can still dabble in horror and fantasy (if I finish any of those projects…) as well as romance and try to find where my niche is. I have time after all, and I want to try to do this right, rather than scramble to try to make up for lost time.

Besides, I like writing for Valentina. I just hope I don’t make it too hokey with bringing up her unique hunger as a separate part of her identity. I don’t know how sound that is, given that all my research into cannibals (Hello, FBI!) hasn’t really explored that aspect. Most of the stuff is the lurid ‘here’s how they they killed’. Only one thing I’ve seen really goes into the psychology of a cannibal, and even then, it was a shallow dip. I’m not saying what she did was bad research, I just would like to have more information without becoming Sunday dinner.

But if I was turned into Sunday dinner – I’d be friggin’ delicious.

I do have a goal, and with this goal, I have a prize. If – and only if – I finish four books in Valentina’s series:

  1. Valentina’s Feast – already done and waiting on the editor.
  2. Valentina’s Repast
  3. Valentina’s Service
  4. Valentina’s Dessert
  5. Valentina’s Check

I will get myself a nice fountain pen, carrying case, a bottle of ink and another fountain pen. While I am writing, I am also going to be saving up some money because all of this is going to be expensive! But I think this will motivate me more than saying ‘the real friends were the ones we made along the way’.

However – if anyone here wants to buy these for me right now, I will not stop you. I will give you an address to mail them to me, and my gratitude.

Anyways, this new project is coming along, but the real test of going to be months down the road when it threatens to be a slog. Hopefully, that won’t happen. Cannibalism does hold a fascination for me (Hello again, FBI!) and that’s what really kept me through Valentina’s Feast. Maybe lightning will strike twice with this book.

Because I really want that pen.

The Three Hundred and Ninetieth Post: The One Where I Bang My Head on the Desk…

What’s the hardest part about writing for me? It’s admitting that I’m not going to be very productive for a session and walking away from the keyboard. I get obsessive when I have a goal in front of me. Right now, that goal is to write a haunted house story. Also right now, I put in 68 words in the morning. My writing goal is 750.

My brain is squabbling like a couple of three-year-olds over a stuffed bear.

Half of my brain is screaming at me to work. In the most math-ly sort of way it can work, it’s telling me that 68 is far, far, far less than 750 and that it won’t do. I need to get over this, quick screwing around, and get to work.

The other half is saying that you can’t get blood out of a stone. As much as I stare at the screen – those 68 words are going to be the most I am getting today because I haven’t really plotted out the rest of this chapter. If anything needs to get done, I need to figure out what’s next and write that.

You can see my problem.

I need to follow my wife’s advice and not let it bother me.

It’s bothering me.

It always bothers me. I’m a writer. I should be writing now, rather than staring at the last sentence I wrote a few minutes ago.

I’ll bet King never had to deal with this.

Sorry this isn’t the rampant positivity and humor I try to exude with each post, but it’s really bugging me today and I needed to vent.

I think I’m going to end this here and try to put all of this out of my mind and let myself turn this little box over in my mind.

What’s the worse that can happen?