The Five Hundred and Twelfth Post: The One Where I Get the Chance to Use the Word ‘Canoodle’!

My streak continues! I’ve sold one book in February, so I have sold at least one book since November. This may not sound like a whole lot (I would much rather sell one hundred a month than one, but hey – small steps!), but it means there’s something to my writing skill. Maybe not my marketing skills, but the writing skills are apparently good enough.

Valentina’s Repast continues with another murder and now I’m beginning the romance part of it. I’m excited about this part just because I’m setting up the second act now, and I can really start ramping things up. Sure, Valentina is racking up bodies, but now she’s going to try not killing Cady. I can’t wait to see what happens.

There’s not much else going on – just trying to get this novel done and waiting for a good movie to come out. If anyone has any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comment section. Death on the Nile looks good, but that’s it. I might wait for it to come out on iTunes and buy it.  The only movie I’m really, really looking forward to is Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness. I love Marvel Cinematic Universe’s consistency across the various media. Nothing happens in a vacuum with this property. Speaking of which, I need to finish up Hawkeye.

I hope everyone else is doing well, please take a moment to check out the book links on the right – both mine and dear friends who are far better writers than I am. There’s also a ko-fi link so you can help to keep me awake and writing. Have good day!

The Five Hundred and Eleventh Post: The One Where I…Really Just Ramble About the Weekend…

I’m stuck again on Chapter Eight. She’s met the other female protagonist in Cady, but after that…? I don’t know if I should show her working, and then end the chapter with her killing, or should I just focus on her deteriorating sanity? Well – should I focus on her sanity above everything else? Don’t mind me, I’m just trying to spitball here. While the plot of the novel is her trying to balance out her need to eat people with being a lover. She failed with Greg, and now she’s trying to forestall it with Cady.

Of course, while I’m trying to figure out the rest of the book, I’m trying to watch the Olympic Games and frankly Hulu is screwing it up. I don’t know if it’s Hulu’s fault, or NBC trying to herd people to their service, but I’m not happy. I tried to record the Canada vs. US women’s hockey game, but I think instead I got ice dancing. I’m hoping that it was just that the game was shorter than the time I recorded, but if I didn’t – I’m quitting. I’m not watching as much coverage that I normally do because all the sports II want to see are elsewhere on NBC’s galaxy of channels and I can’t get some of them through Hulu. Bah. I might end up watching Canadian feed through TunnelBear.

I am writing this blog entry off of my spiffy new laptop and it’s working better than my PC and my older laptop…which I should fix at some point Sunday. Saturday, I have a marathon day: writer’s group in the morning and gaming group in the afternoon. I don’t think I’ll be home until late night, but I will be very happy. As exhausting as they are, I like days like this where I’m just doing two things I love intently: gaming and writing. It’s a shame that I must cut short the writing to get to the game, but it’s going to take me about an hour to get to the house where the games take place. I should gas up the car, definitely.

Is there anything else going on? Not really – just trying to get this novel finished before my deadline, then charging off to another book (don’t know if I’m going to do ‘Dirt Elf’ or ‘Romance with Advantage’). At some point, I need to fix the old laptop and use that for at home writing in the morning. Fixing it is not going to be hard. I just need to swap out some RAM chipsets. I got the new laptop just to be a gaming laptop, but now it’s a replacement PC.

That’s all really…other than my grocery store finally came through with bottles of Pepsi Max! I got four six packs because I certainly have no problems with addiction to caffeine. Nope. Not me. I can quit whenever. Pepsi, coffee, energy drinks – I can walk away. I’m sweating and shaking because it’s cold outside and I over-dressed. Really. Don’t judge me.

The Five Hundred and Tenth Post: The One with the Shiny New Toy!

I tried extending my good fortune with using Amazon ads and I got nothing for a week. I don’t know if it’s Amazon enticing me with success or just my bad luck. So, what I am going to do is double down with both Facebook and Amazon to at least get my name out there. It seems illogical to throw out good money after bad, but I am running into the problem of being ‘the best author you’ve never heard of’. So, I’ll get my name out there one way or the other.

I got my spiffy new laptop and I think it is going to be the one I work from when I am at my day job. It has a functioning network card and I loaded a freeware office suite on it so I can write, as well as Scrivener so I can continue my work. I feel a lot faster typing on this than I did my iPad. I don’t know why that is – maybe I need the tactile thumping of the keys rather than tippy-tapping on a screen. I will use the iPad, but more that likely that’s going to be for when I am away from the house on vacation. My older laptop will be more like me – a homebody with poor networking skills. Thanks to a good friend of mine, I got the RAM chips needed to fix it, so (hopefully) no more BSOD issues. I just wish I could fix the card.

Valentina’s Repast is slogging along. I left her dancing with Cady and having another bloody daydream. I need to get back on the stick with this thing and I’m hoping the new laptop can take care of that. Really, the only thing that holds me back at work is being able to update the files on the network. I am going to dedicate today to getting those two out of the bar and into an intimate situation to see how things turn out. Maybe this will fuel another murder? Who knows? I just need to see how long meat keeps in a freezer.

Well, that’s all for now. Thank you for reading and check out the books on your right – including Valentina’s Feast, the first book in the series. Hope you all have a good day. Cheers.

The Five Hundred and Ninth Post: The One Where I Gamble My Future on Amazon (again!)

Well, I haven’t had a sale since the ad ended, so I am going to try another experiment. At the beginning of February, I am going to run an ad for “The Dreaded Day Job” for the entirety of the month on Amazon. If I get any traction (more than two sales) I am going to run ads perpetually on Amazon for whatever books I have. Thus far, I can’t tell that Facebook has done anything for me other than visibility. While that’s good, I’m not going to throw away money if it’s not going to help me at least break even. To quote DJ Quik: “If it don’t make dollars, it don’t make sense”.

Which is all the more reason to get back to work. While I have a working laptop…kinda…and I have a still functioning iPad, I have no real excuse to not be writing (even if it is the blog). But, thanks to Microsoft, the laptop – which I can type on relatively fast – no longer has a working network card, and a wonky spacebar (feels mushy and sometimes doesn’t connect). The iPad however works fine, but I’m not writing on it as fast as a laptop. I can’t explain why, but it not only has a working network card, but it also has a cellphone data link. With it, I can write anywhere.

Having said all this: I’m getting a new laptop. The one that I have dedicated to nothing but writing is staying, but it’s going to be at home so I can write there as I have a network cable connection that still works. The iPad is going to be my portable device for the time being. I just have to get used to typing on it for the lack of a better phrase. This laptop is still good, but I am having problems beyond keys. It’s blue screening a lot and it’s getting worse. I’m going to try to fix it, but…stop laughing…I should also be realistic.

Originally, this was going to be a “game only” laptop and really expensive for me. Now it’s going to be a “game and writing and research” laptop. They just don’t seem to make them like they used to anymore. I don’t think I’ve had this one for a year, and I’m already having problems.

Where I am not having problems is writing. This new version of Valentina’s Repast is coming along better. Valentina’s madness is growing at a good pace, and I am showing her trying to fight it, but the fight won’t really ramp up until she’s spent more time with Cady, the other female lead. Right now, the babysitter is still alive. Good for her!

The Lovecraft story I’m working on in my head is not coming along as quickly, but at least that’s on the backburner for a while. I have some ideas, I just need to shoehorn them in somehow. I might noodle with them over the course of the week and toss them out here to see what sticks. Who would think that working in worms, sky dragons and the end of the world would be such a headache?

That’s all for today. As always – there are books to the right written by both myself and dear friends, so feel free to examine and buy. Also, I have a ko-fi account, so please feel free to contribute to my near-crippling caffeine addiction. Until next week – stay safe and stay warm where applicable.

The Five Hundred and Eighth Post: The Lost Posting from Thursday!

This week, I am running an ad on Amazon for my book. Believe it or not, I’ve sold three books this month! This isn’t enough money to quit my dreaded day job, but means that I have sold at least one book for the last four months. Slow but steady, I am gaining some sort of following. Also, this sort of thing motivates me to write more, now I have some people who might be interested in a sequel to “Valentina’s Feast”. I am definitely going to continue the ad, and include “The Dreaded Day Job” in the next round of ads. Facebook ads don’t seem to be getting me anywhere, so I might drop the ad for “Valentina’s Feast” but keep up the one for “Dreaded Day Job” just to keep out in the public eye.

I’m still a little giddy about the whole thing. I mean…it’s eight dollars. Barely enough to buy a pizza from the grocery store, but it’s money I have gained from writing. That’s what is keeping me going when I feel like quitting. I can’t stress how important this is for me. It’s validation and anyone can tell you: it’s a heck of a drug.

Obviously, I am working like a fiend on “Repast” and it’s coming along a lot better with this mid-way second draft. I’m working up to Valentina’s moment of bloody clarity, a scene that I had in my head when I started thinking about making a sequel. This one is going to be more horror than romance, but the bloom is off the rose as it were. I mean…as far as a love struck cannibal can be considered horror.

Well, seeing that I am already late in publishing this, I am going to say until next time, and please look to the right for books written by me and good friends. Have a good day!

The Five Hundred and Seventh Post — The One Where I am Distracted By This Shiny Apple Some Woman Threw on the Ground…

An idea to me is as entrancing as a golden apple with the words “To The Fairest” scratched over its skin. I’ll drop everything and pick it up, marveling over the firm flesh, the sweet smell and wondering what it would taste like on my tongue.

Maybe that’s why I have so many unfinished projects.

The idea I had was brought on by a daydream I had and a memory of an odd thing from a magazine. The daydream was of looking up at the night sky and seeing the stars disappear one at a time as if someone was putting out candles. I think I had watched a documentary about the end of time or something like that. The memory was of something in the old Dragon Magazine (I don’t remember where I saw it, if you can find it – drop me a line what issue it was featured in, it’s been driving me crazy!) about a dragon so large, it swallowed whole worlds. Under treasure type, it just had the word ‘planets’. So, while a t work today, I put those two images in my mind togetr – stars going out and a dragon large enough to swallow the Earth. What I got was a Lovecraftian horror idea that I must bring to fruition.

One staple of Lovecraftian horror is the One Cursed with Knowledge. This person has seen the truth of the world, and it’s driven him past all sanity. Sam Neil’s character in In The Mouth of Madness is a good example. Usually, this is one of the side characters, so we only get half the story.

What if it was the main character that was being driven mad?

What if he was right?

My mind was off and running. I needed a good way for the dragon to feed, some way nice and slow so that the characters would think they have time and hope, but to be able to jerk that hope away in the last chapter.

Worms. Another little vision came to me: clumps and knots of squirming worms wearing human skin like a suit. They walk among us, spreading their kind about to consume the world down to the very bedrock and send those nutrients to the dragon. This is fantasy – I don’t have to explain it any more than that (Thank God. My browser history has taken enough of a beating from Valentina). The main character is the only one who can see the worms for what they really are.

This poor guy. This story is going to be so bleak, it would have Howard Phillip telling me to cheer up.

On the way home, I tried to figure out the sub-genre. Swords and Sorcery would be good, but there was no way they could defeat this sort of creature the way I had it imagined. It didn’t feel right. I thought about pulp fiction and that clicked. Forbidden magic, minds going mad from the revelation, flights to lost cities – this was the perfect thing.

So, I need to do a little more research. I want to really nail the feel and style for Lovecraftian horror. The best way to do this is by looking around for a style guide on the Internet. TVtropes.org has a good one, but I want to get the nuts and bolts down. With that in mind, I’ll need to read some pulps. Lovecraft, for obvious reasons, and maybe some Robert E. Howard since he was a contemporary of Lovecraft.

When am I going to start writing it? Not for a while I’m afraid. This year is already filled with assignments, so it’s going to 2023 when I finally put fingers to keyboard to get the first draft out, but I am going to get the outline and research done long beforehand.

The Five Hundred and Sixth Post: The One Where I Scramble For Something While Sitting Outside a Snow Globe…

It’s snowing where I’m at right now, and I’m at work. It looks pretty, but I also know they’re not going to let us out of work early because only one to three inches here – not really panic material. Well – not to my bosses. To the average Louisville resident here, that’s cause enough to panic buy milk, bread and bourbon.

What does this have to do with writing? Not a thing, but it’s what’s happening now.

I’m working on Valentina’s Repast after completely gutting almost all the chapters I wrote and it is coming along a lot better now. I think it was too bloated with the love story loaded into the beginning. Pushing that aside for now and working on the killings and the problems that brings up. Rather than forcing it, I am going to try to let it grow organically.

That is one of the problems I have when it comes to writing (especially romance) in that I tend to force a plot point rather than let it come up in the course of the story. Hopefully, this will be a better fit and maybe I can stick to it. I have so many ideas and blank notebooks…

This is going to be a little short because I do want to get back as I am writing a spicy scene, and Thursday kinda crept up on me. Stay warm, stay safe and I’ll have something a little more substantive in the next one!

The Five Hundred and Fifth Post: The One Where I Take a Medium-sized Chance…

I’m at a sticking point with The Truth Will Out. I’m not getting into it like I am with the other books. Nothing feels committable or nailed down. The main character doesn’t feel settled down and the theme (and this is the big thing with me) doesn’t really sing with me. It just lays there like an overfed cat. This is really frustrating because I want to get to work on it on the New Year.

Normally, I’d set the story on a shelf in the back of my mind and let it work itself out. I’m going to do something different this time. I’m going to just throw caution to the wind and pants the thing. Pantsing is writing the story without any sort of outline or guide, contrasted with Plotting which is when an outline is being used. I tend to be a bit of a hybrid. I have a guide in my head, but I don’t adhere to it or I keep it loose enough in case I get a good idea while I am writing.

I am going to just sit down with the two scenes I have in my head and the end in mind, but I am not going to be committed to anything other than the two scenes. I will have no idea about what is going to happen after those two scenes are written.

Outlines? Where we’re going we don’t need outlines.

I hope that this is the elixir to break this stand-off. It’s a good idea, but I just need to shake things up a little.

As far as everything else goes – I just need to get some stocking-stuffer shopping finished and I’ll be done. Nothing big to be honest. Nancy likes dark chocolate, so she’s going to get some dark chocolate malt balls and maybe a gift card. She doesn’t want a whole lot, and she doesn’t read this blog, so I can openly discuss these sort of things. Might get her a gift card to Half-Price Books. She loves that store.

So, in the New Year I’m going to start Pantsing The Truth Will Out and outlining the second draft of Romance with Advantage and try to finish up Valentina’s Service. That one I am going to completely re-write now because I don’t like the direction it’s going…that and I need to have it done by Halloween to meet the deadline. I might do that one first and let Romance with Advantage come around in the end of the year. We’ll see how this experiment works.

Well, that’s all for now. I am going to take a couple of weeks off for the Holidays and will be back Thursday in the New Year to try to write this blog at least fifty-two times, along with four novels. Speaking of novels – if you look to the right, you can find my current works and the works of good friends. Check them out! Until 2022 – take care and be safe out there.