The Three Hundred and Eighty-Third Post: The One Where It All Starts to Come Together!

I thought I was going to work on The Agonizing Alibi Day, but it just didn’t feel right in my head. For a while there, I was wondering what this book was going to be about. The first book, The Dreaded Day Job, was about a typical assignment. I was tossing the plot around for the second book. I wanted to do something more than a look at his work life, so after a few minutes I realized that we don’t know that much about his life outside of work, and how he manages his whammy during the off-hours.

Now that, that’s done, I’m letting my mind come up with other things, and in the meantime, I’m working on a book that feels far more done in my head: Resurrectionist’s Blues: One and Done. This one doesn’t have the tight deadline the other two have (almost done!), so I can kinda take my time with it. I might even – time permitting – go on ahead and work on the second one to give Alibi Day some more time to ferment. I have a good feeling about this particular novel.

I’ve been working on photography, and I wish I had a good picture to show…but I discovered the usefulness of the correct ISO (sensitivity to light) in pictures. I had a very well composed shot and what I got was a very dark square. Still well composed, mind you, but also still a dark square. I’m going to re-try it later with what I hope is going to be the right set up.

There isn’t a whole lot of new things going on. Still editing down Valentina’s Feast and waiting for the beta readers to finish Romance with Advantage. I heard good news about the Black Widow movie – July 9th is the release date on both Disney+ (with a premium charge, of course) and in theaters. YES! Phase 4 looks interesting from what I’ve seen. I can only hope that nothing else catastrophic happens to get in the way.

It’s looking like my August deadline can remain intact, and that pleases me greatly. The one thing that really stresses me out is setting a deadline, even a realistic one and not following through. Both books (Valentina’s Feast and Romance with Advantage) are nearing completion with the last major hurtle will be getting the covers set up…please see my prior paragraph concerning my photographic prowess. Thankfully, I found a website that allows you to buy royalty, free-use pictures for covers and I found one that works perfectly with Valentina’s Feast. Well – it would be even more perfect if I could get Melissa Benoist on the cover.

That’s it for now. Things are delightfully converging for me and I hope to keep it going through the halfway point in the year. Feel free to donate some coffee to the cause, buy a book or just drop a line to say hi.

Until next week.

The Three Hundred and Eighty-Second Post: The One Where I Talk About Big Mo

No…not this Mo

Well, I have good news – I finished the first draft of Romance with Advantage and it’s off to several people to have it beta read and edited down. I’m really trying to grab on to this momentum to carry me on through the final set of edits for Valentina’s Feast. I really needed something like this to buoy my spirits. It feels nice to see all this work start to come to fruition. Between this and my current binge listening to these guys – life feels kinda good again.

I’m looking ahead to the next project: Agonizing Alibi Day. It’s the next book in Lucky Evan’s Life series. With this one, we get to see the inner workings of Evan’s company Tyche Solutions. I like writing Evan because he’s positive and the whole series is a comedy, which is a switch up from the normal and serious material I normally write. After that, I should get Calamitous Christmas Party finished and then work on the big literary work Gaze Unaverted, Staring Blankly Ahead. I’m just trying to keep my line-up for work in my head so I can go from one project to another.

Speaking of projects – I just saw the Marvel phase 4 trailer! I Cannot Wait! I’m shaky about a couple things (The Eternals) and eager for a couple (Black Widow, Spider-Man) and really, really curious about others (Black Panther?). The only thing I’m still anxious about is the Mobius film coming from Sony. It’s going to be easy to fall into the anti-hero tropes with The Living Vampire, but I’m hoping they’re going to give it the horror flavor it deserves. Also hopes it makes the transition over to the MCU.

The other outstanding news is that I got my haircut. The last time that happened, I didn’t have to wear a mask…and let me tell you – it feels good. I also look much younger, which never hurts.

That’s all for now – re-cutting Valentina’s Feast, waiting for news on Romance with Advantage and it looks like I might hit my August deadline! Hope y’all have a good day!

The Three Hundred and Eighty-first Post…The One Where I Can’t Find Enough Aspirin…

This book is starting to get on my nerves. I find one thing wrong, fix it and think I’m done. Flipping through, I find another…and another…and another. Right now, I’ve completely ripped out on chapter (“Morale Check”) and I am just going to re-write it. I feel like I’m falling behind with this book, but don’t worry – I am going to finish it and finish Valentina’s Feast on time (August this year). I’m going to cut back a little on the first set of re-writes and focus on chapters that are under 2,000 words because I know those are unfinished.

One of the great things about Pander-monium is that I am going to be on such a tight schedule as far as writing goes that I’m going to have to do more editing as I write and less waiting until I am done. Maybe that this is the way to go. The great rule of writing is that there are no rules. I need to see what works for me as far as keeping busy. I think writing a month solid will be a good idea because that seems to be as long as I can hold interest in a project. The ultimate goal in this is to get a better catalogue in place.

On a different front, I’m still abiding with the ‘no TV, no stream’ rules. I don’t really miss anything, but my reading has increased as has my writing (see above). I’m also listening to a lot of podcasts. I’m liking this a great deal. I’m a fan of true crime, and paranormal podcasts, so I’m burning through Last Podcast on the Left, Extraterrestrial and Conspiracy Theory. When my wife wants to watch baseball (which I’m listening to online), I hike on back to the study and continue doing whatever I was doing. Getting a little more done, but I’m running out of podcasts to listen to while I am writing. If you have any suggestions, I would love to hear them.

I got my second vaccine shot and let me tell you…those side effects are no joke. When they say they make you feel like you got the flu – they are being optimistic. They make you feel like you wish you had the flu. I was sore all over like I had just compressed a year’s worth of workouts in just an hour. I was too tired to do anything, but I still got the laundry done (having to walk two blocks to the laundromat because I really needed the exercise…stupid, stupid, still fat me). After that, I went to bed at 8:00 pm, skipping my regular Sunday night game. Bleh. On the upside – you’ll get the best sleep ever, I promise. I think my home state is getting ready to lift the mask restrictions…in time for Derby. I mean, it’s only fair to the horses.

That’s all for now. Check out my wares to the right, click on a sponsor’s ad or just drop a line to say ‘hi’.

Take care.

The Three Hundred and Eightieth Post: The One Where I Re-re-re-recommit Myself!

I have to admit, I have been watching way too much TV – especially these two guys. It’s becoming a distraction from writing, and really…I’ve been wanting to get more reading done. In the spirit of moving forward with things. I am going to say that the day I write this, I am no longer going to indulge in TV either on actual TV or the computer. From here on out, when I sit down to relax, it’s going to be books or it’s going to be writing.

I’ve always fantasized about getting rid of the TV and just reading. Of course, that would also cut into my video game time – which has been also zero because I’ve been putting in overtime to cover the delivery of a new appliance which I talked about earlier. My productivity has ground down to almost nil. I have a lot of respect for the people who are cranking out books on Amazon or B&N on their own. They have a focus that I need to reclaim.

It’s not like I’m hooked on any fiction shows (at least ones that are currently airing). Most of my viewing diet is either those ghost hunting sorts of shows or documentaries. Not inspiring sort of material, but it’s what I like.

Anyways, I need to really bear down and eliminate as many distractions as possible – especially in the face of Pander-Monium next year. It’s time to build those good habits. It’s time to get serious about this and really make some headway.

Yes – I’ve said this many, many times before. I’ve also said this many, many times before: this time I’m serious.

It’s hard to keep this going, and the people that have made a living out of it, especially the indie authors, have my respect. To sit down and do what is effectively two full time jobs while not getting sucked into whatever everyone else is talking about.

Well, I should get to writing. I’m almost done writing the first of three scenes that need some serious re-tinkering and after that, I’m sending it to my beta readers and let them lovingly rip it down to the marrow.

Have a good day!

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Ninth Post: The One Where I Write About…well…It’s The By-line Of The Blog…

I know that when I started this blog, it was going to be me talking about writing. This was going to be a behind-the-scenes look at the process.

When I’m writing, this is a great idea.

When I’m not, I’m staring at a blank screen.

Like for the past week.

My dryer decided to shuffle off its mortal coil ($200 to replace, but the part is on back order apparently), so I’ve been doing my laundry at the local laundromat. The good news is that it’s only a block away from the house, so it’s no big deal to walk the basket it over and get laundry done. The bad news is that its been cutting into my writing time because I have to do everything at the laundromat. Washing, drying, and folding – all done there. I can’t go back home because this is a slightly sketchy laundromat. I don’t want people either going through my clothes and helping themselves to what they like (it’s happened). I also don’t want to turn my back on my laptop one minute and find it gone the next. It’s not cutting edge, but it’s paid for.

If I were to link this to writing, I would like to address the husbands, wives, boyfriends, girlfriends or kith and kin to the writer. Bless you if you’re helping even by the smallest things: offering to do the dishes, making lunches or dinner, listening to streaming consciousness plotting. Anything you do to give your writer a couple of extra minutes to write is absolutely golden. My wife helps by doing the dishes in the evening so I can get a couple of paragraphs in before bed.

My writing has slowed down a little because I’m having to set aside a few hours for laundry. Yeah – we have a bit of laundry to do. My wife needs her laundry done twice a week. I can go a whole week, but it’s a lot to do in a day. She does the dishes, cooks dinner and I make sure that we have clean clothes. I’m putting my stuff on hold, but I am seeing just how much I relied on her to give me a couple of minutes.

So – sweetie…if you’re reading this…thank you so much for giving me time here and there.

Hopefully by Friday, I can get back to re-writing Romance with Advantage. I’m about done fixing one scene, and I’ll only have two more obvious scenes to re-do. I can have it all done and ready by the deadline (suspiciously not mentioned…). With getting back to the regular schedule, I should have better things to talk about.

Thank you for being patient. Back to blabbing about writing by next week, I promise.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Eighth Post…The One Where I Reach for the Brass Ring!

I take great pride in saying that I am almost done with the second draft of Romance with Advantage. I’ve got to smooth out a few things, try to join a couple of scenes together and work out some more mechanical kinks (damn you, adverbs! Damn You!) before getting it beta read for the final check. After that, I made the numerous changes that will need to happen, and I should be done. The cover is a simple thing for me: I’ve done some ‘rough drafts’ and I’ve gotten everything planned out. A simple cover with dice and hopefully sufficiently blurred out DM’s screen and minis. Somewhere, I have a written back cover blurb…I think…if not, then I am not going to worry about it. I’ll just re-write it.

After this, more Valentina’s Feast and hopefully finish Agonizing Alibi Day. If I can get to September with a clean slate to start Gaze Unaverted, Staring Blankly Ahead – my attempt at literary fiction…which I have no idea what the expectations are.

I’ve read some literary fiction, but most times, I’ve abandoned it for more familiar fantasy series or some sci-fi. So far, the only due diligence I’ve done is read the TV tropes page. I should try to read a book of literary fiction from cover to cover. I’m not really nervous about this, but it’s kinda of my moment when I’m getting back at the ‘but when are you going to write something real?’ crowd, so I got to get this right. I feel like I’m stepping into sacred material. Here I am – no degree, barely any sort of literary experience and I’m aiming at the biggest prize in American literature: Pulitzer Prize.

That’s right. If this works out, I’ve found a way to submit this novel to the Pulitzer Prize Committee. Am I tilting at windmills? Yep. What do I have to lose really (other than the entrance fee of $75)? I can’t wait for opportunities like this to happen. I certainly didn’t do it when I was first starting out. I’m not where I want to be right now, but at least I am not languishing in a corner in my study wishing I had the gumption to put something out.

I guess that’s the lesson for today, everyone – just do it (Don’t sue me, Nike). Be bold. Take a step forward, even if it’s an unsure one. Especially if it’s an unsure one. The worse thing that can happen is failure. If you fail…then learn from that failure and move on.

That’s all for now. I am slightly scrambling to get this out on time for a change, and I hope to be a little more upbeat next time. Hopefully, next time I will be able to say I’ve finished the second draft and sent it off to some beta readers. We’ll see – just stay positive.

The Three Hundred and Seventy-seventh Post: The One Where I Talk A Little Vacation…

I’m taking a bit of an extended vacation because today is Opening Day. I’m still going to write, but once the baseball starts, I’m not going to do anything else. I wanted to do this last year but there were…issues…keeping me from doing it. Today, I’m going to get that chance.

Of course, I’m up at 5:45 AM (normally, I’m up at 4:00 AM). Not mad, but I am a little disappointed. I was looking forward to gently rolling awake at the lazy time of 8:00. Oh, well – I have a lot to do anyways. My dryer decided that life was no longer worth living and shuffled off its mortal coil. To be honest, I’m not happy, but there’s little I can do now. I’m getting a new one, which means I get to make up lsot time at work.

Oh, well. We smile, adapt and move on.

Today, I’m going to get a little more writing done and tonight – I’m going to play with my camera and the zoom lens I got. Hopefully, the skies will be clear enough so I can get a couple pictures of the moon. If I can and they get developed right, I’ll put them up on the blog.

Speaking of writing, it’s been a little challenging getting the fill-in scenes for Romance with Advantage. I’m trying to show Gabe getting frazzled and exhausted, but I’m trying to not jump in it feet first with it. I’m trying to make it a slow build so that Lacey can come in a figuratively save the day. It’s a balancing act, but it’s one that I love.

This is going to be a little quick, because I do have quite a bit to do before 2:00 PM when my team takes the field!

So – have fun everyone, have a hot dog for me and go Nats!

The Three Hundred and Seventy-Sixth Post: The One Where I Hope Not to Use the Phrase ‘It Seemed Like a Good Idea at the Time…’

While Pander-monia is happening next year, I am having a bit of a quandary. How much should I pander? Yes – I want to make money, but the one reason why I’m going the self-publishng route is because a lot of the ideas I have aren’t necessarily what one would call “marketable”. If I send something out, I want to be the only one with responsibility for what I hath wrought.

For example – I have an idea for a novel that can be summed up by the phrase: “Breaking Bad with body parts”. Sure, I think it’s a great idea. The story of one man being made to be so desperate for money that he descends into distasteful criminal behavior that borders on illegal. Should I write it? If I wanted to have this traditionally published, the answer would be an amazingly simple ‘Hell, no!’. Not only is the whole idea distasteful (Apotemnophilia), but it is not original. The notion of someone succumbing to evil is not a new one, and the aforementioned show (my favorite) did it much better.

Then again…I think this would make a very good body horror novel, and that’s a genre where there isn’t a whole lot going on. The last one was written in 2015. While it’s a staple in horror movies, and that’s there the genre really blooms, I think there is enough space for something new. It’s not even really about body horror as it’s a polemic concerning greed.

The whole reason I’m doing Pander-monia is to make money. Every moment I spend writing next year should be spent writing something that’s going to turn some sort of profit (except for YA. I don’t have that sort of skill-set). However, the other side of this is: when I write something I like, I am so much more productive.

I know that I have a lot of time to think about this, and I am leaning towards just this sentiment:

I’ll even buy golf clubs to punctuate my disdain…

I’ve got a few months to think about and plan for it if I do it, or even if I don’t do it right now. My first novel needs to get written during December so I can get it ready for publishing by the end of January and try to get one novel written a month (700 words a day, 3 times a day is 2,100 words. 2,100 words a day for 30 days is 63,000 words – enough for one novel). The whole goal is to stay busy, get prolific and push myself.

But, what do y’all think? Is this a tempest in a teapot? Me trying to fill in another blog post to maintain some sort of continuity? Should I cater to the fickle crowd, or boldly strike forward? Let me know and also – feel free to buy a book (on the right hand side of this blog) and sample some of my writing.

Well, with all that said, I bid you all a fond farewell for the week. I will be back next time, hopefully with something a little more worthy.


The Three Hundred and Seventy-Fifth Post: The One Where I Take Careful Aim at 2022…

I’m trying to get more organized in how I write, so to that effect, I am going to outline my plan for next year. Because I like giving things cutesy, punny names – I hereby declare 2022 Pander-monia!

Have you switched over to Reddit yet? No? Good.

I have a couple of tools at my disposal that I really don’t use as much as I should if I want to make this whole writing thing a little more profitable than it is now.

One of them is a subscription service (then again, what isn’t?) called Kindletrends. This goes through the top 100 in various genres and tells you what’s selling, what the most popular key words are, what do the top 100 covers look like and other vital things to help one market or write. Let’s face it, I’m a one-man band here. As much as I would like to think my cannibal romance book is destined to be a New York Times Bestseller once it’s finished, I do have to put out things that are going to get looked at and hopefully bought. I’m going to use the keywords and other trend things to give me a head’s-up on what’s popular. Let’s face it – if 50 Shades of Grey can be successful…so can I!

The other tool is called KDSpy. This one measures the popularity and uniqueness of various keywords. It tackles the same issue that Kindletrends does, but from the other end. With this, I can find out what other keywords I could use, and how often they’re used – the idea that if I use a popular keyword, I run the risk of being overlooked because I’m not in the top 10 or 25.

What I’m trying to do is maximize my visibility.

Of course, I can hear you screaming at the screen: “WHAT GOOD IS BEING VISIBLE IF YOU’RE NOT PUTTING OUT WORK?”

This is the second part of the equation. Next year it’s going to be a novel a month. Can I maintain that sort of pace? I can do it in November, and I have done it before. I can do this. All I have to do is really, really set aside my ego a little and…pander.

Yes, it does gall me a little. I think I have some great independent ideas, but no one’s going to see them unless I get my name out there. The best way for me to get things out there is to work more towards the marketing end of things. Like I said, I have these tools and I’m not really using them. I really, really need to start putting out material. I need to get King levels of prolific. My big ideas will have to wait until I can spare the time.

There are other things I have: beat sheets, editor programs and word processors whose name doesn’t rhyme with Schmicroschmoft Schmord. This is me putting my drive to the test. If I fail at this, then I really need to relegate this to a hobby. This year, I’m going to finish up a couple of projects that I’ve started and try to clear the table a little.

Wish me luck.

Also – I’m going to want pictures of adorable pandas. Just to help me carry on. Thanks in advance.