The Three Hundred and Sixty-Ninth Post: Happy Birthday to Me!

Nothing major this time as I am trying to get the final round of edits finished. However, my wife has spoiled me for my birthday again

Pen organizers are nice (she didn’t get me the pens. Those are from my personal collection), but what gets me is Cycle of the Werewolf. This is a very little known book by Stephen King. When I read it growing up, I flipped through it listlessly just to get to the gory pictures. I can’t wait to read it now to really get down and appreciate the prose.

So — have a piece of cake for me. I’m heading to the Cheesecake Factory and gore myself! Have fun y’all!

The Three Hundred and Sixty-Eighth Post: The One Where I Celebrate a Grim, But Upbeat Milestone!

Long time followers of this blog will know that I am up front about my mental illness. I’m finding that this does help. As Marcus Parks says on Last Podcast on the Left: “Mental illness is not your fault, but it is your responsibility.” Saying that, I am taking responsibility – I’m in counseling, I’m taking drugs for the depression and I am trying to stay positive and busy.

What brings this up for me is this one, wonderful fact.

I have not had a suicidal thought for a week. I have not had an episode of deep depression in two weeks.

I really wish I could point to a single source, but I have no idea. I really didn’t realize it until it hit me yesterday. I’ve been following my diet a little more closely this week, I’ve been pretty busy as of late and I have a vacation coming up (yay!). During the vacation, I am finally going to finish editing the novel, might even get through another one before November and Nanowrimo begins. I’ll even get back to the gym – using vacation week to get the habit solidified.

What’s the take-away from all this? Do not despair. Do not give up hope. I know that platitudes are the last thing someone dealing with depression and suicide wants to hear – trust me, every time someone told me “just cheer up, dude!”, I wanted to kick them in the crotch. Telling me to cheer up, or to get over it just got on my nerves. You’d never tell a cancer patient to just get better.

What also helped was the fact that I have friends who understand what I’m going through and make offers to at least listen. Thank you all. I am getting better.

Enough of that!

As I mentioned earlier, I am going to finish editing Valentina’s Feast during vacation week and will have it out by the first half of November. I still have a good feeling about this one, and I am focused on getting it done. After that, I’m going to tinker a little on Resurrectionist’s Blues and try to finish that and Romance with Advantage. It’s a lot on my plate, but I can get a lot of it done with the free time I’m getting.

I know I’ve been a little flaky about the blog, but between this, overtime at work and other projects – I am tired. I will keep everyone posted about what’s going on, but today (Friday, October 23, 2020), I am going to go home and chill. Might even sit down and finally watch Parasite or The Shape of Water. Just me and a big bowl of popcorn for the evening.

Everyone – stay safe, have fun and I hope to see y’all soon.

The Three Hundred and Sixty-Seventh Post! The One Where YouTube Gives Me A Royalty Free Idea!

I’m sorry for missing the last post – it’s been a hectic couple of days here. We have a car that’s on the verge of requiring not so much a mechanic as more along the lines of a necromancer. Valentina’s Feast limps along – I’ve finished the party and since my Saturday Game was cancelled, I find myself with enough free time Saturday to maybe re-write the butchery scene. 

Spoilers for Valentina’s Feast Below 

I’m re-writing the butchery scene because the first iteration of it is just a guide to butchering the human carcass with some extra steps involved. Sure – one of the genres I’m touching on with this novel is splatterpunk, but I want this to be more. So, I’m going to rewrite the whole chapter, trying to condense it and make less about the how to field dress your dead boyfriend and more about Valentina’s emotions at that moment. Greg’s had all his sex scenes…now it’s Valentina’s turn. I’m also hoping in re-writing it, I can trim down the word count a little. I’m still sitting at 85K-90K, so I trim at least 10K from it. My editor suggested I take out some of the ‘step by step’ stuff (like the butchery scene) would help me get down to the ideal count. We’ll see. Tomorrow – lots of writing and coffee. 

Tonight – letter writing, streaming writing (Yes, I can do that with Discord and Scrivener! My Discord ID is R. K. Clark #3098. Come see me on Fridays 7-9 PM!) and maybe a movie when all is said and done. I just need to relax and try to get a full night’s sleep tonight. My wife’s schedule had her working mid-afternoons, so she would get home around the time I was trying to go to bed. Sadly, I am a very light sleeper. While she’s washing her dishes from work, I’m flip-flopping about and trying to get comfortable. Love her to pieces, though…but I really need more than five hours. 

Back to the writing front! Inspiration can come from the oddest places. I found myself in a YouTube hole and for some odd reason, a short documentary about the movie The Man Who Laughs came up – the movie that was the visual inspiration for The Joker — so, I settled in to watch it. 

First off – the actor Conrad Veidt needs to get his own damn movie. Anyone who gets personal death threats from Goebbels and Hitler is a man worth studying. 

NOT SHOWN: TELLING GOEBBELS TO GO FUCK HIMSELF 

As I was watching this short documentary, I realized the main theme of the movie could easily be transported here to modern times. Sadly – the man themes of being seen only as a disfigurement and how important appearances are still apropos to the 21st century as they were to the late 19th. The more I watched, the more the idea unfolded: a man who is only know by the hideous grin. No one bothers to see him for who he truly is – either from a morbid fascination, atavistic terror or calculating on what they can get out of him. 

I have a book now. 

This will also be my first attempt at the genre of literary fiction. It’s a lot to aim for but given our current pop culture climate…it’s a tale I think needs to be told. 

The Three Hundred and Sixty-Sixth Post: The One Where I Do My Best Oliver Twist Impersonation…

I’m going to be honest – I am not a very social person. I hate having to ask people for things, especially strangers. I’m not a good salesperson (Star Ford can tell you that), and I would much rather be in the back writing rather than doing the smiling and pressing of the flesh.

Now, having said that…I need help.

Last week, I gave away The Dreaded Day Job and I watched 300 books fly off the virtual shelves. The most I have either given away or sold ever. You’d think that with all of that, I’d get a couple of sales to other books, or get some ratings.

Nothing.

Now, I have gotten from reads on Kindle Unlimited and Kindle Lending Library, so the whole thing isn’t a complete wash…but let’s all face facts.

I need ratings. Good ratings.

Amazon doesn’t look at sales as much as they look at ratings. More ratings means the book gets a higher ranking and more visibility. More visibility means a better chance for books to be sold, which means I can eventually go to full tiem writing like I want to,

But I can’t do that without ratings.

This is where I ask for help.

If you got my book – either for free last week, or you’re one of the intelligent, discriminating readers who bought my book (clearly a scholar and a person of distinction and good breeding) – please leave a review. I’m not asking for a dissertation on how Evan’s whammy is a metaphor about the capricious nature of the budding gig economy (not saying it isn’t either). I just need some people to click on three, four or even five stars. Won’t take but a second, nor do you have to be sincere.

Speaking of settling down and writing…

I am going to finish the party scene in Feast Friday night and perhaps revisit the final chapter with Greg and Valentina. I think it will be better served with Valentina being more reflective about their relationship. After that, it’s a couple more scenes with Siobhan and maybe a short chapter with Valentina and Greg running into each other with Greg bringing up the movie. Just a short scene or two to give them some more characterization. After that – done! I move on to giving Resurrectionist’s Blues my full attention to hopefully have it done by Halloween. After that, it’s off with Romance with Advantage and then start on some side projects to end the year.

Wish me luck.

And give my books a good review. Thank you.

The Three Hundred and Sixty-Fifth Post: The One That I Would Have Gotten To Several Years Ago…

Well – it was fun while it was lasted. I put my book up for free for the week (still for free until Friday!). The first day it went free, I gave away 274 copies. I was giddy! Breaking into the top 25 in two different categories really buoyed my spirits! Yes…to quote a friend of mine: Free tastes good. I haven’t sold anything, but if you get to the top 100, then Amazon will make your book more visible.

Umm…I think that was a lie.

I went from 274 down to 34 the next day. Today? 17.

To be honest, this was something that I needed. I’ve been dogging it badly for the past week. I’ll try to work on something but after forty-five words, I couldn’t go on. It became a slog. I hate slogs. When writing is work for me, I know it’s going to be work for someone to read. So, I’m trying something new.

I am writing something with which I have no sort of emotional context.

Let me explain with this quote from A Knight’s Tale: I will eviscerate you in fiction. Every pimple, every character flaw. I was naked for a day; you will be naked for eternity.

Some people sharpen their knives. I sharpen my pen.

Nine times out of ten, this motivates me to work hard. This is apparently time number ten. So – the fiction in question is being gently set aside to be picked up later when I have a steadier head on my shoulders and a stronger fire in my gut.

Good news for you all. What I’m working on new is the Hallowe’en tale called The Resurrectionist’s Blues: One and Done. This was something I was going to write and put out for Hallowe’en, then working Valentina’s Feast kinda sidetracked me. I’m still working on getting it finished, but I might have to make it an all-day Sunday approach. I got the main characters out of the party (yay!) and heading home where Valentina is going to get a little creepi(er). After that, there is another chapter I need to re-write and some changes I want to make to the main character. It’s going to get done, and this book will be out by December.

As far as my mental health goes…well…I’m trying and that’s all that I can do in the end. Maybe switching books will help so that I don’t feel like I’m wasting my time in my little cubicle flipping through Facebook rather than writing.

Well, that’s all for now. I should get back to work tormenting my new and poor, innocent character. After all – it builds character.

PTI: Oh, My God!

I put The Dreaded Day Job up for free this week — starting today. This has not been free for even 24 hours yet…and I’ve done this!

That’s right — I have never given away this many books before today…and it’s still going! I am going to hit 200 easily before tomorrow. I might even finally break into the top 100!

So — run out and get you free copy of The Dreaded Day Job today before you actually have to pay for it!

The Three Hundred and Sixty-Fourth Post: The One Where I Talk About Genres, Fame and Finding Someone to Cosplay A Cannibal!

(Almost missed the deadline…it’s been a weird couple of days here)

Hello! “Valentina’s Feast” continues the slog forward, with this being both the longest and the shortest party I’ve even been victim to, and I’ve decided to try to continue forward with another project on Sundays. I’m doing at least a thousand words on a Hallmark romance called “Romance with Advantage”. This is going to be something new for me, in that I’m not completely familiar with romance. While, yes, “Feast” is billed as a “splatterpunk romance”, it’s relying more on horror than romance. “Advantage” is pure, sacchariney romance – chaste, even. The big moment in this piece is a kiss between the MMC and FMC.

You may wonder why I seem to flit from genre to genre. Going from horror, to fantasy, to romance and (hopefully) on to sci-fi. To be honest – I just enjoy writing. While, yes, I am trying to find a genre that is profitable for me, I’m also trying to write things that I would like to read, and I have varied interests. I also like mixing genres. I’ve also got a horror / steampunk novel deep in the works which I need to get back to in the beginning of the year (provided we live through it!).

I also know that this means that the High and Holy Branding that writers seem to live or die by will be hard for me. I don’t want to be known as a horror writer, or a fantasy writer, or a romance writer. I just want to be known as a good writer. So far, my benchmark for good writer is this:

  • Make a living, or a substantial part of it, through writing.
  • Getting fan mail.
  • Having people cosplay the characters.

OK – these are odd benchmarks, I admit and only one of them really, really counts. The other two are just a hallmark of fame. I don’t think the first one is unobtainable. I just need to settle down and get productive. The other two? Well…I do put an email address in the back of every book, and I’ve been thinking about getting a mailbox for letters (people still do that, right?). I’m thinking about drawing the line at my Discord server.

Yes! I have a Discord channel for writing (R. K. Clark #3098) and I’ve considered doing a live write and chat thing with Scrivener since I can live stream writing on it. I thought that was kinda weird, but if you think about it – there are some artists who live stream their art sessions. Why should writing be any different, and I need to get used to talking to people as I intend on getting more interviews as more books come out.

Well – speaking of deadlines, I need to finish breakfast and getting ready for my Dreaded Day Job. Hope you all have a good day!