The Three Hundred Thirteenth Post: The One Where I Remind Publishers About the Loneliest Number

 

I was trying to find a book for a friend of mine for Christmas. She’s into fantasy, so I thought this would be an easy matter of grabbing something from an online bookstore. I typed in a couple of keywords to narrow down the search. I privately clapped myself on the back for getting the gift-giving ball started relatively early (December 11th for those of you playing at home).

How foolish I was.

As I went down the list, almost every single book was part of a trilogy, quadrilogy or series of six or more books. I didn’t want to give my friend another series to keep up with. I hate to sound like that guy trying to get those dang kids off my lawn with their rock and roll music, but I miss single books. I want everything wrapped up in a single volume. I want to set a book  down when I am done and move on to something new. I don’t want to put a book down and must wonder when the next one will be out (Martin, I’m looking at you).

I understand why: having a series keeps readers coming back. I don’t really begrudge the publishers for this trick. With profit margins shrinking, they will do whatever they have to do to get sales.  Nothing wrong with that.

Kinda.

I would like to see some single fantasy novels, like I said earlier. Especially in fantasy or science-fiction where the field is wide open for such a thing. I wonder if this happens in any other genre? Is there an expectation for series in romance? Do agents ask their clients if they have a series for Harlequin Romance? I can’t think of many romance series…then again, I don’t read romance. I don’t think horror has such a problem with this. I can’t recall any series of the top of my head. Personally, I don’t count The Dark Tower series as horror. That’s Stephen King’s addition to epic fantasy.

Speaking of horror…I saw Bird Box. I don’t understand what makes it terrifying to people. I can understand the attempt at some Lovecraftian horror, and they gave it a running shot. Unfortunately, the peril didn’t seem to be…rising to the level the movie’s desire. It is adapted from a novel. I think I’ll get it later and read it. Maybe the novel is better. Books tend to be. Yes, I am biased. I might also re-watch the movie. I just never felt frightened. It wasn’t like The Thing, where we knew there was something out there…and it might look like us. It wasn’t like The Ring where technology made to serve us instead serves a deathless evil…and demands a sacrifice. They just showed up, threw everything in a tizzy because – reasons.

Well, I am going to sign off.  With any luck I will have some help in maintaining a regular schedule of posting – Saturdays will be when I scribble something (except for this one) for posting. I’ll put up something. Might not be storytelling or reviews, but hopefully it will be something.

Thanks for reading. Hope you have a good day.

The Three Hundred and Twenty-Seventh Blog: The One Where I Gush Over Fan Art!

Hello, everyone! Now, you may be seeing this update and thinking: “Oh, no! It’s the Heat Death of The Universe! I just pre-ordered my ‘Guardians of the Galaxy, vol: 2’ tickets and there are no refunds!” Relax…you can still see the movie. I’m here just to post a couple of things. One of them is an update of sorts, and the other is (admittedly) a little bit of pride on my part.

First: I am now half-way through one of my fantasy projects: Unbound. This is the official title, since this is the title I’ve been referring to when I talk about the project for the past three months. Ask others how fickle I am with naming anything: book titles, characters…anything. I’ve changed a character name three times and I haven’t even started the outline. Am I neurotic? Yes. That is besides the point.

Better thing ahead — first piece of fan art from Bindi!

She’s got an Etsy page, and I encourage everyone one to go take a look and get something. She’s an outstanding artist who deserves a little love.

As I said earlier, I’m plunging ahead through the half-way point on one project and I’m maybe a third of the way through on another fantasy book that takes place in the same world (considering a minor crossover incident in both books just for trivia’s sakedid I mention that?).  The one thing that’s been holding me back a little bit is that I’ve had to completely re-tool the world (believe it or not, it’s the same world that Rhona is from just a few hundred years in the future), and that changed a lot of the other characters in the book.

I can’t help it. I always tinker with things. Sometimes, it’s for the best. I think the changes I’ve made will make for a far more engaging story (y’know…when I finish it). The other story is almost set, I just have to link a couple more set pieces and maybe get a little better on description (have I mentioned the elevator pitch? ‘The Wizard of Oz fights Legion for the spirit of a Steampunk L’Amour setting). It’s a rough draft, but I try to hammer out such things early on.

In professional developmental news, I am heading to a writer’s conference in Bowling Green. I’m not going to be selling anything there (not until I finish another novel), but I am hoping to make some connections, learn a few things and get out of my little bubble for a few hours. Being an anxious person, this is one of those: “love it/whimpering in the corner” sort of affairs. I can put on my best face and go forward. I did take some theatre in high school…but I always played old men, though. Meh.

Well, I think I’ve said all the things I need to say here. Please check out Bindi’s page, and the links to the right of books being sold by dear friends, as well as my own. Thank you for your time, and I hope to hear from everyone soon, and maybe even write a follow-up post before I die.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred Twenty-Fifth Post: The One Where I Am Doing This Earlier Than Usual…

Hello, everyone! I was able to get up early (and out of the bed, no doubt) this morning and get some work done on the novel. Since I finished at home, I figured — why not?  Go on ahead and blog a little ahead of time, so that you’re not feverishly trying to hammer something at eleven forty-five. Better to feverishly hammer it out at six-thirty because…tradition!

Ben is turning into a sleaze by the page and I am loving it. I needed for Kevin to have some sort of antagonist — other than his own toxic levels of self-doubt — to throw up some roadblocks. This is also kind of a rehearsal for me when I write about Lucifer / Morningstar if I ever get to The Pentateuch of Abel. I want Lucifer to be the Byronic anti-hero villain of this word. I want us to feel like perhaps he’s misunderstood, maybe Paradise Lost got it right…and pull the rug out from under you. Sadly, this particular project is going to be waaaaaaaaaaaay down the road, just because it’s so big and ambitious. Seriously. The first book I’m look at writing is going to be at least 200K. I’m shooting for a Lord of the Rings scale sort of novel. More on that as it unfolds.

Summer is officially here…and now the temperature fits the season. Don’t worry, it’s going to get hotter and more humid here, even though we have a river just a hop, skip and a jump away. To be honest, I’m not a fan of summer but it does give me an excuse to eat ice cream when I want (to be even more honest, I eat ice cream in the winter, too). So, as a public service announcement: Please keep in mind that animals might need our help. Put out some dishes of water, crack a window if you must have them alone in the car.

dog-in-car-sign-picture-475x480

Tomorrow, I might be getting a new “office” as I have a job to fend off those pesky little things like foreclosure, repossession and starvation. I plan on putting in my eight hours, then going to a local Starbucks (this job is near my old neighborhood, so I know where one is on the way home), get in my 2,000 words, come home and have dinner then go to bed. I am still committed to getting the first draft of Lard of Love done by the end of July. I might be cutting it very close, but I will get it done and toned up a bit for the editor.

Before I call it an evening so I can rekindle the romance with “Harvey Birdman: Attorney-at-Law”, I want to call your attention to an online friend of mine. He’s looking to get wedded to his girlfriend who is from Canada. In the process of getting everything together out government is sticking them with a $1,000 fee. A fee whose amount was not anticipated by either one. So, they have started a GoFundMe page to get this taken care of. You don’t have to throw gobs of money at them. Just one or two bucks and word-of-mouth will help out a great deal. It ends on th 19th of July, whatever you can do will help out.

Thanks for reading this, check out the GoFundMe page and I hope to see y’all again.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred Twenty-Fourth Post: The One Where I Triumph Over The Forces of Distraction…

Hello, everyone — I am happy to say that I made a breakthrough! I was willing to be able to sit down and write two thousand words today. This might not mean much to some people, but to me it is a huge triumph. Beforehand, I felt that I had to have a certain ritual (Starbucks, music and enough iced coffee to drown an elephant) to be productive. Also — there were certain things here that would lure me away from writing. All I had to do was just grab a tray from the living room and bring it into the kitchen, far away from that evil PC and his henchmen TV, Hulu and Netflix.

The story is picking up a little right now — for the main character its leg day and dishing on the second non-date to his friend Matt. I’m thinking that he should see the main character in a play (given that she’s an actress) before getting up the courage to ask her out on a real date. I’m trying to keep the timeline straight in my head…which I probably should sit down and maybe construct one since I have a program to do that. When I start Drinker, Jester, Flirter, Spy I am definitely going to use it as I want to keep everything straight before I sit down and write the text.

I’m thinking that tomorrow, after the writer’s meeting and getting another 2,000 down, I am going to give myself a treat and go see the X-Men movie like I’ve been promising myself for the past…what…three or four weeks? I’ll even review it for you, although, by now if you’re a fan you’ve seen it and if you’re on the fence more than likely you’re going to wait for Blu-Ray.

Well, sadly, I must cut this short because I have to get up early.  I hope y’all have a good evening.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

The Three Hundred Twenty-Third Post: The One Where I Think Everything Is Coming Together (Finally!)…

Hello, everyone! I finished up a really good writing day today (2,000 words in about three hours!) and I can feel myself getting into the groove of this novel. Ben has made an appearance and I’m going to play him as some who seems to be looking out for his interests, but he’s just waiting for the time to pounce. He’s not really the best villain I’ve come up with, but right now he’s the most realistic as far as how he presents himself. Romance novels is not what I really want o be known for, but I’ll do it if I have a good idea.

But, as I write this, I wonder if everything is a little too easy for our protagonist.  Jennifer is really friendly — she just gave him a peck on the cheek for their second ‘not-date’.  While his pressures at work are the norm, and Matt (his best friend and trainer at the gym) is helping out…I just can’t help but to wonder if I can’t throw some grit at this oyster. Again — this is only the first draft. There will be plenty of chances for me to make his life a living hell. I know I sound bad, but I want the reader to empathise and root for the protagonist…or at least not hate him.

I hope that this mojo I have can continue on for this week and the next, so I can get some headway into this novel so I can finish it and get started on the next project. I’m chomping at the bit to get back to fantasy. I also have a couple of projects that I need to get back to…maybe next year. I’m going to gauge the response of The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show as to how I proceed with this particular world. Think of something that’s rooted in Louis L’Amour…or Stephen King’s The Dark Tower series. Guns, some magic and hopefully some interesting things happening: zombie servants, people possessed and the possible End of The World.  As a good friend of mine would say: “The usual.”

Well, on a side note — I do need to go to bed early tonight (well…early-ish) for a possible job interview. Speaking of that…as always if you would look to the right, you’ll see current links for books either I or friends of mine have written, a Bitcoin tip jar ($700 a Bitcoin!). As always, thank you for dropping by and I hope y’all have a good rest of the day.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy

 

The Three Hundred Twenty-Second Post: The One Where I Remark On My Pecularities…

Hello, everyone! I didn’t get a whole lot done because I wasn’t able to get to the office yesterday. I might have tweeted about it.  My car has a problem with the air conditioning. I found the root of the problem: I don’t have one. Apparently, there was some larger issue and it called for the removal of the compressor as a patch. So, I went to the mechanic, think that I still had the ailing compressor and it would be about $200 to replace.

Nope.  A minimum of $1,000 to add one.  Fine.  I don’t really go that far now that I’m a (quasi) working writer. The farthest I go on the work week is to the “office” and that’s only six miles away. I could walk it, but if anyone here has lived in the Louisville area knows that there is no heat, but varying degrees of humidity. The sticky, Southern, energy-sapping humidity. So, I decided to stay home while the mechanics opened the hood to the car and said “Well — there’s your problem!” and slammed it shut.

For some odd reason, I can’t work at home. Yes, it’s the American Dream: my commute could be nothing more than drifting through the kitchen, plopping down in front of the computer desk in my living room and fire up the old Scrivener. Two thousand words later, I can turn off the program and turn on Facebook or anything like that.

Let me walk you through how that’s not going to happen in my lifetime and yours, too.

First off: While I have a serviceable kitchen, the kitchen table has become a filing system. I don’t have enough room to set up a bowl of cereal and a cup of milk. So, I eat in the living room. At my desk. The morning routine is set in stone:

  1. Wake up, eat breakfast, read webcomics.
  2. Take a look at Facebook.
  3. Stay on Facebook — exchange witty repartee, make funny remarks, save cat pictures.
  4. Realize I’ve spent three hours trying to think of a funny caption for the AD&D Group (picture of a monster surging up from a sewer taking a group of adventurers by surprise — my caption: “ROTO-ROOTER!”)
  5. Spend another two hours playing Pot Farmer.
  6. Realize that my day is now a quarter of the day through and I’m still in my shorts.

I can’t work at home because the computer is such a huge distraction to me.  I do all my work on an old laptop. Now, you could say: “So, use the laptop and stay home, doofus.” I would respond: “I still have the TV, the Blu-Ray Player, Apple TV, Amazon Prime, the refrigerator and the people walking by the house chatting about how if they think they’re going to let him back in, they can line up and kiss my ass (you go girl).

Frankly, home is the biggest set of distractions I have. So, I head out to the office and write there. Counter-intuitive as it sounds, I can get a lot done in the office than I can at home. Two thousand words? No problem. I just shut off the Wi-Fi so my battery can last the three hours I need it to last to write. I plug-in my headphones and either listen to music or radio. I can come in, get some coffee and work to my little heart’s content. Hey, it works.

As far as what’s happening with the novel, I did push the deadline up a little…as long as it’s done and off to the professional editor by August, I’ll be fine. My ultimate goal is to get this finished by the first of August, then start on the fantasy novel (The Marvelous and Malefic Doomsday Medicine Show) for August, September and October. If everything works out right I can swing into Supercapitalist for NaNoWrimo. December can be spent either finishing up a long-standing project or a quick one for cash. This is fun and all, but I need to get something in my bank account.

Well, I think that’s everything for now. I’m going to talk about a project next time…or maybe review a film after I get my two thousand down for tomorrow.

Have a good evening.

Sincerely,

Seething Apathy