The Five Hundredth and First Post: The One Where I Throw My Hands Up In the Air And Declare Victory!

Well, I finally did it. It’s as good as it’s going to get. I put “Valentina’s Feast” up for pre-orders on Kindle for a Hallowe’en release (am I the only one that puts the apostrophe in between the two e’s?). It’s set up right now, and you can follow this link to pre-order. It’s done. That’s it. I am officially abandoning it and getting the paperback put together for a same day release. By the time you read this (it’s Sunday here and I put it up Saturday afternoon), the preorder will be ready. If you don’t like graphic horror or sex – let someone who does know about it. I’m also going to put it up on the other platforms closer to the day so that I can have a simultaneous release across as many platforms as possible.

Anyways, “Valentina’s Repast” is not chugging along and it’s my fault. I’ve been taking up overtime at work, and when I get to lunch, I’m so tired all I can do is eat my sandwich and take a nap. I’m not writing in the morning because I’m trying to get out the door earlier. I don’t want to quit the overtime because this is money that’s going to cover the holidays – thank God we decided to not do anything major this Christmas. I’m frustrated about things is all. I might do this for another couple of weeks, try to get at least two good paychecks out of it, and then stop.

On to better news, I finally joined the crowd and watched “Squid Games” and I have to admit it’s really good. Apparently, they ended it to make way for a second season. I really do recommend it to anyone who wants to see something a little different in the “dystopian captive” genre. I think next I’m going to watch the movie “Parasite”. It’s been on my to-watch list for a while.

I guess I’ve put off laundry enough, so I’ll wrap things up here. Please, give my horror novel a chance or to someone who would be willing to do so. I promise I’m coming back to Evan’s poor world come November and probably rush this one out for a Christmas release. Also, please check out the books to the right if horror is not your bag. Hope you all have a good day.

The Five Hundredth Post!

It’s coming down to the wire for me as far as getting Valentina’s Feast ready. This Saturday, I’m going to lock myself in the study and finish trying to trim down 2,000 words. Looking back through it, I don’t really think I can – it’s pretty tight as it is. My editor said I could take out some of the step-by-step stuff (wish she’d been a little more specific) and trim it down. So far, I’ve only taken out maybe a hundred words and I’m in chapter two. I can’t wait for this to be finished.

As far as what I am doing next — *sigh* I’m not sure anymore. I’ve been getting a lot of good feed back about The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show from my writer’s group, and I am committed to getting Valentina’s Repast finished. Might as well surrender and try doing both. Just bounce between the two when I get writer’s block…which I’ve had for the past couple of days. Valentina had her first bloody dream, and the aftermath of that is not coming to me. So, I might try to write another chapter of Medicine Show and see if I can get some sort of momentum back with it.

I can write four books before next July and still make time for the vacation plans. Might not get the reward pen until afterwards, but I will get it. I just got to anchor myself down and get to work.

Of course, as I say this – I’m getting into overtime at work and getting into eleven hours of work. I have barely any time to do anything after I get home than make dinner, do dishes and get ready for the morning. I haven’t written in the morning since three weeks ago. It’s hard being a part time writer. There are those that can handle this, and I frankly don’t know how. I know when I get home from the gym, I should at least sit down for an hour and eek out something. I’m just so tired when I get home, all I want to do is sleep.

I have Saturdays – well, every other Saturday. I can do some work, but it doesn’t feel like it’s enough. I just feel like I’m not writing unless I’m doing something every day.

Maybe I need more coffee.

Well, that’s all for now, as my lunch is winding down. Feel free to meander through the books on the right and donate some coffee so I can write in the evening. Until next week – take care!

The Three Hundred and Ninety-ninth Post: The One Where I Mutiny Against Captain Obvious!

I like it when I learn new things about self-publishing. It’s on-the-job training that you don’t really get anywhere else.

I just learned more details about Amazon’s self-publishing program. I always knew about pre-orders, but I never realized how useful it can be. For example – you can put in a part of a book, and when you’re finished (as long as it’s before the deadline. More on that in a minute), you can update the file with the full book. You can post the link in the back of a Kindle book, and they can pre-order it. I know, I know – yeah…duh…. I jut never considered that. I always wanted to have the book ready to be uploaded and sent out directly to Amazon.

The other thing I learned is this: You have up to a year.

A whole year. Can you write a book in a year? I know I can.

I can put in a placeholder file for Valentina’s Repast and work on it, get it finished by…say…Hallowe’en next year and put in a pre-order link. I can use that as a way of seeing whether or not the first book was popular. If I get a lot of pre-orders, I know the book series is going to be a winner. If I don’t get a lot – maybe this is something I should set aside.

The problem – because there are always problems – is that if I put up a pre-order, I have to follow through. Not only because I made a promise to my readers, but if I don’t, Amazon will cancel the sale and I don’t get the money from the pre-orders. The money is secondary, but the promise is real. This is the reason why I didn’t take advantage of pre-orders. Now that I know how it works, I will use it as much as I can.

In fact, I plan on using it at the end of this week. I’m going to finish up trimming down Valentina’s Feast (2K words! I can do it!) and put it up for sale on Hallowe’en. After that, I will put up a place holder file for Repast and put in the pre-order link and refresh Feast’s file. After that, I let people know about Feast and hopefully get some sales.

Oh, did I mention that I have a concrete day for Valentina’s Feast? Yep. 10/31/21 is the date is it coming out ready or not. I’ve been hemming and hawing long enough. This Sunday, I will lock myself away and cut it down to 90K words or less. After that, I get everything together and start hawking it. Wish me luck.

Speaking up books – you know the drill. Books to the right, give cash for some coffee and buy Valentina’s Feast when it hits the virtual shelves on Amazon or wherever you buy e-books.

Have fun and stay safe.

The Three Hundred and Ninety-eighth Post: The One Where I Think I’m Going Merrily Crazy!

I apologize for missing last week. It was a weird week for me, and by the time I realized I hadn’t put in an entry, it was Sunday, and I was up to my hips in laundry. I’m back now, and we’ll see what happens for this week. Just remember the old kender saying: If it’s been in a house for longer than two weeks, it’s an heirloom.

I also haven’t been doing much writing, sad to say – it’s been a weird week. However, when I did resume…I think I hit a moment when the character managed to sit down and have a little chat with me as the author. It was a moment of reflection for Valentina when she was getting ready to go out and hunt some more. She came to the realization that she didn’t eat to love, she loved to eat.

Serial killers, as I’ve found out through research, end up giving themselves little permissions to escalate their actions. John Wayne Gacy is a good example of this. He built up to his homosexuality, then built up to his murderous impulses bit by bit. Now, whether that’s for the sake of maintaining the dopamine flow in his brain, or he just got more and more comfortable with his actions, is not clear to me. Valentina does the same thing, but we’re watching her transition from being a romantic cannibal to a more lust-driven cannibal. If we were to equate this to just sex – this is Valentina going from someone who was highly monogamous to someone who plays the field vigorously.

There’s another phrase to describe this: the berserker phase. Gacy had it. Bundy had it. Valentina’s dipping her toes into it as she gets more comfortable.

This is not how I envisioned Valentina in the beginning, but it’s how she’s turning out. I’ve always maintained that the characters in my head have a small spark of autonomy. Whether this is something that other authors have had happen to them, or I’ve crossed that threshold and I’m ready for the starch white love-me coats – I have no idea. But I am excited about this and I can’t wait to see how it ends for Valentina by the close of the second book and how this impacts the third.

I love times like this because it keeps me interested in writing the book. I want to see how everything turns out because sometimes, I really don’t know. I’m just a chronicler of this very twisted woman’s life. I take that back – she’s going to end up on Death Row, but how she gets from here with hacking up prostitutes to sitting on Old Sparky saying ‘I don’t even know why I’m here’ is a bit of a mystery to me.

Man, I love this job.

As my battery is getting low, I will let you all go. Feel free to drop a line or check out the books I sell on the right hand side.

Have a good day.

The Three Hundred and Ninety-seventh Post: The One Where I Channel my Inner Neo and Dodge Multiple Bullets!

I heard back from my editor! She’s still alive and reading the second draft. There might be a third draft, as I think about it and there are some things I want to change now that I’m thinking about it. The more I noodle around with the manuscript, the more I’m reminded of the say: art is never completed, only abandoned. I know that I am going to stress, fret and worry myself over this until I tell myself stop. So, I am going to say that when I get the manuscript back, and I fix the little things I want to fix – it’s done. I am going to stick to my deadline of pre-orders in October…even if I have to upload the editor’s suggestions after publication.

The changes I make aren’t very big, and I’m just doing them to make sure that everything between book one and two line up correctly – the whole process versus product killer thing. The meaning behind the birthday party incident and other things. Once this is done and up, I am going to be so happy. I am so ready for this book to be up and out. At the same time, I am not confident in what I have. As much as I’ve loved the idea, and all the work I have and will put into it…I don’t think this is going to be any better or worse that The Dreaded Day Job or The Quietest Heart. I loved the idea, but I can’t help but think I’ve failed in the execution.

Too late now.

As you can also tell – I am through my technical issues. Apparently, something re-mapped my keyboard…or there was a mechanical or electrical issue with my keyboard. I was worried that I was going to have to buy a new laptop and I have some stickers on them (from penpals and others) that I don’t want to lose. I tried to check the inside of the keyboard, but I couldn’t get to all the screws. After I re-screwed it back up, I did a repair reset to Windows…which both fixed the keyboard but didn’t go all the way through so I didn’t lose any programs this time. It has made me realize I should have some ‘emergency laptop’ funds at the ready. I really dodged a bullet with this one, and eventually, my luck is going to run out.

Well – all in all, it hasn’t been a bad week. A couple of scrapes that I survived with my vices intact, and what’s been a traditionally bad day for me and my mental health I got with the help of friends and writing. I hope everything is better for you, and that your laptops continue to work and you get your books right on the second time around.

Until next week!

The Three Hundred and Ninety-sixth Blog Post: The One Where I Declare Holiday!

So…I’m on vacation, and I am not going to force the writing this week. I did write on Saturday (3K!) and a little on Sunday, but for the past three days I’ve maybe tossed down a couple of words here and there. I’ve been mostly catching up with friendly correspondence. And buying pens. But I can quit when I want.

Really.

My mind’s been going back to The Truth Will Out every now and then, so what I might do is finish this current Valentina novel, then go back to The Truth. Maybe I can get that one finished, then work on Immigrant Voices and for the final book, work on a comedy. Follow up The Dreaded Day Job with something.

Comedy’s not easy, and horror’s in my blood.

I’m not stressing out this week because it is a vacation. If I write, I can write. If I’m not in the mood, then that’s fine. No stress. Let me restock the well and let my subconscious feel things out for various problems (How will Cadie get over her insistence on not dating people she’s working with? Should Abigail die on camera? Would Guru Joe call it a Christmas party or a winter festival?). As much as I am a workaholic when it comes to writing, I realize I need to rest.

Next week – more pens, more nibs to fix a pen, more ink and a new notebook because that’s what I need. More notebooks. Give me notebooks.

I just need to take a couple of days off (Thanks Bioshock!) and get my mind a bit of a rest. It’s not going to be easy because I have something of an obsessive personality. I’ll be fine.

But seriously – if you like me, send me notebooks. Blank books, composition books, spiral books. If I buy them, my wife will more than likely punish me with more dishes to wash.

I am still writing Valentina’s Repast, and I am getting the two characters together (Cadie and Valentina), snd I’m just trying to every now and then find the worse possible time for something to go wrong with Valentina, it happens and it’s really gotten me a couple of good scenes. Just right now – Cadie doesn’t date people that she’s invested in, and Valentina can only kill so many prostitutes before they start putting two and two together. I just need some sort of justification to let Cadie date and/or sleep with Valentina, so Valentina can get the permission to kill Cadie.

So – while I work on this problem and immerse myself in one of my favorite horror video games, please feel free to check out my other works, give me some coffee (please) and leave some nice reviews.

Thanks for stopping by!

The Three Hundred and Ninety-fifth blog post: The One That Will Not Get Me the Howard Tayler Award…

Howard Tayler is a webcomic artist and a panelist on my favorite writer’s podcast called “Writing Excuses”. His webcomic Schlock Mercenary has been continuously updating once a day, every day from June 12th, 2000 to July 24th, 2020.

My record is…less than stellar.

However, I have been working on the sequel to Valentina’s Feast and I’ve been doing something a little different. At random moments, I’ve been asking myself ‘what is the worst thing to happen right now?’ It’s really led me to a couple of moments where I’ve had to write myself out of a particularly deep hole. It’s also illuminated some things about my characters that I never really considered. Valentina’s disturbed by violence to the point of vomiting at the memory of stabbing someone, but when she flips out, she’s utterly sadistic. I recommend it sometimes when you think you’re stuck in something. It makes it fun.

I’m about halfway through the novel, and I have to start working on the weakest part – the romance. I’m not a particularly skilled romance writer, so I’m trying to take my time with this and get some of it right the first go-round.

Another piece of advice to writers: take your time. I know it’s hard to say in the face of the era of ‘nanosecond gratification’, but your fans (in my case, all three) will thank you for it.

The horror should be the main focus of this book, but the romance is there and it’s something I’m going to have to write. Thankfully, most of this book is from Valentina’s plot of view, so I can squeeze in a cartoon reference when things slow down.

This is going to be a little short because I’ve run out of things to say (sorry) and I want to get this back up to updating on Thursdays again. With that being said – I hope everyone has a good day and I look forward to hearing from you all at some point.

The Three Hundred and Ninety-Fourth Post: The One Where I Draw a Line in the Sand, In Spite of the Oncoming Wave…

I‘ve submitted my work to the editor on June 1st, as of the writing of this blog post (July 31st), I haven’t heard anything yet. In the spirit of ‘I’ve got to do something’, I am going to release Valentina’s Feast under the pseudonym of Kellas Donovan (because it’s horror) on October 29th, with pre-sale orders coming two weeks beforehand. I need to make one more change, then I am going to call it done and let it go out into the world.

Am I nervous about it? You bet, but I have to let this out soon or not at all. Does it feel done to me? Nope. I can sit here and fret over it until the heat death of the universe and never let it see the light of day. That’s not progress, though. It has to be released, it has to be out and I have to put it out into the wild and take my lump so that I can grow as an artist.

It’s a good story, but I feel that there are better people to tell it. This is the big problem I have: self-confidence. I feel good, but I never think I am going to progress beyond ‘interested amateur’. In spite of the sales I’ve made, in spite of the reviews I get, I never feel good enough.

But that’s not why we’re here. I have already started working on the sequel, and hopefully I will get that out in time to capitalize on any goodwill generated from the first book. Given that I wrote over a thousand words so far today and I’m in the fifth chapter (promise, no spoilers). This is a good sequel, and I am making really good progress in it!

I may not be good, but I will be prolific. Can’t dazzle them with brilliance? Baffle them with bullshit.

Speaking of brilliance – head over to the right side of the screen and check out some of my books, and books written by people much, much better than me. Have a good day, and I’ll see you in the next one.