The Five Hundred and Fifteenth Post: The Existential Horror of It All!

I really don’t know what to write about this time. I’m taking a break from Valentina’s Repast and writing the outline to Resurrectionist’s Blues – which is going to probably be a trilogy if I’m lucky. I’m thinking about combining the first and second books into one book. Unless I can stretch out book one a little bit and maintain book two as the crisis of faith. I’ll have to think about it. What might have been five books could get compressed to three. Can I write a single novel? Yes, but what fun is that?

What I’m trying to do with Resurrectionist’s Blues is write an existential horror story. I am trying to carefully tread on Lovecraft’s territory, but less tentacles. This particular story is going to deal with fact vs. faith, corporate rules vs. conscience. Now, whether or not I can carry this out remains to be seen, but at least I’m getting an outline done and following the horror beat sheet (which is making things easier). I might even try to apply it to my other problematic horror story The Truth Will Out, only because it is giving me some sort of structure to plug stuff into.

To be honest, beat sheets are becoming useful for me when I am writing out of my genre. I’ve got one for romance and the horror beat sheet. At first, they struck me as cheating, but now that I’ve seen just how good they are. I should find others and hoard them like a dragon hoards gold, or a librarian hoarding books. I’d imagine that there is going to be a beat sheet for every genre, and there is nothing saying that I can’t tweak it.

That’s it, really. Working overtime, so my writing has been curtailed a little, but I am working on the outline. Just taking a break from one project, but I have to work on something else. I always need to work on something and get it finished. No pressure at all. Really.

The Five Hundred and Fourteenth Post: The One With Crippling Doubt!

I’m getting Valentina fatigue. At one time, she gnawed and clawed her way into my heart. Now, I’m just blasé about her cannibalism and her ‘I’m having someone over for dinner’ jokes. I know that this is normal for me, but what’s not normal is that I have a hard deadline. I have to have everything done and uploadable by Hallowe’en. If I follow my normal route, I’ll work on something else and poor Valentina will fall by the wayside until October 27th when I have no way of getting everything finished. Cue depression spiral and ice cream.

Yes, it’s the first week of March as I write this post and October seems so long off. Yes, I have dozens of projects I can work on, but this is a test for me. Can I hold myself to a hard deadline? If I can, then writing professionally can be feasible. Of course, I can always fall back on the wisdom of Douglas Adams: “I love deadlines. I like the whooshing sound they make as they fly by.

Maybe I’m doing this because I don’t feel professional, yet. Yes, I am making money (very little…) and I am (eventually) finishing projects, but I still feel like I’m pretending to be a writer.

Maybe it’s my approach?

Is this imposter syndrome? Looks like that on first blush. I don’t know. I feel like I’m waiting for a fairy to tap my head with a wand and say “You’re a writer! Now go forth and create the Great American Novel! Or at least the next Successful Kentucky Novel!”

God, this sounds so needy. Does Stephen King go through this? Probably not, then again – he’s got the track record to prove it. He’s even won an O. Henry Award for one of his later short stories. I can barely write a short story. I’ve written four and put them out there, but they were all stretches.

I know what I need to do. “Sh*t or get off the pot” as my mom would delicately put it. I think I’m going to work on ‘Medicine Show’ for a month, then see how I feel. Maybe by then I’ll have a better idea on what to do…or I’ll finish ‘Medicine Show’. Either way, I am going to be done with something by October.

I should get to work.

The Five Hundred and Thirteenth Post: The One Where I Tell ADHD to Hold My Beer…

I continue to make small triumphs! Someone is reading my first novel The Quietest Heart, at least sixty-eight pages worth of it. It’s not my best work to be honest, but I am not going to remove it because I think it’s important to show the evolution of the writer – much like Howard Tayler leaves his early drafts of Schlock Mercenary up when his artwork has improved greatly over the years. I also recommend the webcomic. The artwork is good towards the end and the story is funny and engaging.

Still working on Valentina’s Repast, but my mind is starting to wander to other things. This is a problem with me. I’ll start working on something, but eventually, some shiny new bauble will spring up in my mind, so I’ll get disinterested in what I was working on to chase this new butterfly. Lather, rinse, repeat. I don’t know how I was able to get Valentina’s Feast finished under these conditions. Also, given that I need to have Repast done and out by Hallowe’en this year…I can’t really afford many diversions. How do professional writers stay on task? They must be made of sterner stuff than I am, to be honest. I’ll have to figure out some way to appease this distracting beast. I know I’ve made a habit of writing down ideas for future use, but my mind seems to take that as a hint to not focus on the task at hand. Can coffee make you focus? Should I be drinking more coffee? The answer is yes. The answer is always yes.

Another distraction is July, which seems both so far away and frightfully up close. I’m going to take a vacation on the beach and currently I’m saving up for a nice hotel room. This has made apparently a bit of a panic at Goulet Pens, because they are blowing up my inbox. I think they think I’m dead. They’re sending me emails with enticing pens, but I must stay the course. The running theme of their missives is: “Hey, buddy – how are you doing? We haven’t heard from you in a while. Everything okay? Well, we got this beautiful Visconti Homo Sapiens Magma pen…made from real magma from Mt. Etna. It was $995, but for you, we’ll knock it down to $719. Buddy, that’s a steal! We might as well put them in cereal boxes for that price.” Soon…soon my pretty, you and I will be joined. Let me pay for this hotel room and raise some cash for gas and food. I promise, my love and light – we’ll be together. That’s going to be a birthday present for me (unless someone who reads this blog wants to buy it for me? Yes, I am a shameless pen whore).

I think that’s going to be all for now. I’m going to try to finish up this scene with Valentina back in the kitchen of one of her restaurants and lull myself to sleep with visions of my writing my name with a pen that’s more than a mortgage payment (don’t judge me). I hope everyone has a good day.

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!