Tag: Novels

A Dry Spell

thorn_treeOne thing about living in the desert is you experience first hand that while a dry spell can come and last for a while, not everything dies. One good rain and soon there’s green all around you. This is a good thing for a writer to learn. I am in a bit of a dry spell myself. I’ve started a new novel but it’s not coming together as I would like. It may be time to shift gears onto something else.Then again if I just sit down at it for a little more I know I can get past this hump.

That’s not to say I don’t have anything new. The Fourth Prometheus is halfway through it’s first big edit and I have rough drafts complete of the sequel to Undead Heart, and a new novel, Midnight Detail. So, I guess after some furious writing I’m do for a little down time, though, I’m about ready for some rain.

Midnight Detail Is Finished

MidnightI just completed my 10th novel, Midnight Detail. I original came on the idea for an anthology a friend of mine was putting together, Twisted History. The main part of the story concerns Secret Service Agent Dallas Cooper who is inducted into one of the most secret divisions in all of government. The Midnight Detail is a code name given to the half dozen or so people who ensure that the world never learns of the tragedy that befell President John F. Kennedy. A secret so immense that only the cover-up of a staged assassination could keep it secure. Agent Cooper slips into a world of decadence and evil as a serial killer known only as the Scarlet Leaf Killer terrorizes modern day Washington D.C. Agent Cooper learns the reality of who is behind the killings and why is far worse than anyone, save the man he is guarding, could have imagined. It all comes down to an epic fight between a Vampire Lord, a demon, and avenging angel above a dilapidated hotel in the heart of D.C. More details to come once it goes through editing. Look for it, well, it may be a while.

Project Updates

I’ve been pretty quite of late. I also have not been writing as much as I would have liked to. No thanks to my Playstation. At any rate, I wanted to take a moment to put my mind around where I plan to be heading.

  • My collection of short stories, The Hole In Your Mind is just finishing up. Some last minute additions pushed this one back a bit. I will have it out before the fall.
  • The Fourth Prometheus continues its trek through editing. You will soon be able to read about Giselle Mathers and her creation, the mechanical man she names Enkidam.
  • The sequel for Undead Heart, By A Blood Red Moon is written as well and next up for the red pen of my editors. This one picks up right at the end of the first book as Larry must face a choice between his girlfriend and the Pack.
  • I have about 3,000 words left until my vampire novel Midnight Detail is ready for editing. It really has come a long way and I’m excited to get some feedback on it. Who’s not interested in reading about JFK as a vampire?
  • My next novel will be another Steampunk one, but not involving any of the characters from The Fourth Prometheus. Instead it will be about a group of traveling musicians and demon slayers known as Manfred Bethlehem’s Traveling String Quartet. The setting is Territorial Arizona and was inspired by my last trip to Bisbee, Arizona.

That’s it for now. I certainly have my hands full and I hope my editor is paying attention. The goal is to get these out as soon as possible but I’m not making any promises and I’m not rushing anything. I have learned that a writing career is a marathon and not a sprint.

 

The Big News Is…

the fourth prometheushttps://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1487090582/the-fourth-prometheus 

The big news from my previous post is that I have taken the jump into crowd-funding. I currently have a project live on Kickstarter.com for my most recent novel, The Fourth Prometheus. I’m pretty excited to be doing this as it is a first for me. I had been reading up on the next phase of publishing in the digital age and thought I would see how it works. I have backed several other Kickstarter projects so I was familiar with how the process works. Essentially people who visit the site offer to back my project at various levels of commitment. In return they will receive a copy of the book or books once and if the campaign is a success. That is what makes it relatively risk free. If my commitment goal of $750.00 is not reached no money changes hands.

The project will remain live until April 8th. I have spent some time looking over other projects on the site and thought this would be a good fit for me. The money generated will cover the final costs of editing, formatting, and cover design. The best news is the novel is done and will be releasing irregardless of the success of the project on Kickstarter, but if you want to get in on something special I have some great rewards for people who come on board. Every person who signs on will get their name in the acknowledgements section of the book and a copy of the eBook. For $15 you will receive a signed copy of the paperback, and for your reading convenience a copy of the eBook as well. Contributors at the top tier will have their name appear in the novel as a character. Here is a little description about the novel:

It is the fall of 1897 and Dr. Giselle Mathers has completed her late father’s grandest invention, a mechanical man. To honor the brother she had lost in the War Between the States she paid an artist to create a perfect likeness of him. She is horrified to learn her creation, Enkidam, has fallen in love with her and would kill for her. Giselle, working with a suspicious Constable and ace code writer, must re-code Enkidam’s processor while dodging the scheming rival scientist who wishes to build an army of disposable soldiers, all based on Enkidam, and the trigger-happy marshals she has enlisted to help secure the project.

As you probably guessed The Fourth Prometheus is a Steampunk take on the Frankenstein saga with a little bit of the myth of the Golem thrown in. You can bet I will be doing all that I can to see that I meet my funding goal as I am very confident in the work. I will be updating here and on Kickstarter with my progress throughout the campaign. Join me in helping Enkidam live.

Predicting the Success of Your Novel

Combing through my RSS feed I came across this interesting article on Gizmodo. Will Your Novel be a Best Seller? Ask This Super Accurate Algorithm.

I have read the paper referenced in the article and suggest you do as well. To me the nature of this study is less a manual for success and more an inquiry into what do more successful books have in common. The best analogy would be to say more attractive paintings have a higher percentage of shades of blue. I Actually I am oversimplifying things but my point is that this study represents an interesting catalog of the components that make up a success book.

Writers are well aware of the do’s and don’t’s but some of those fall out of odds with the study. Especially interesting is the higher percentage of connectors indicating the use of more complex sentences. This also flies in the face of readability levels. Could people prefer their reading at a higher or presumed higher level of complexity. Naturally, as described in the paper, tossing in Hemingway’s work, The Old Man and the Sea, knocks this perception to the ground. Still the data suggests that works with a higher incidence of complex sentences find greater success.

Another finding that I felt was less of a revelation is that successful works tend to skew more towards informational, think journalism, writing rather than expressive writing. The success of crime and police procedurals and even the number of self help books on the NY Times bestseller lists bears witness to this trend. On a deeper level I wonder are people becoming more interested in being informed? Clearly any look on Facebook will show you that people do like informing others. The avenues that information takes is changing. I like to think that no one who has read a courtroom drama develops the notion that they now possess the knowledge of a lawyer, at the same time there must be some kind of pleasure in perceiving the transfer of that information.

So, where does this leave us? I for one have no intention of altering my writing style based on what I learned in this paper. Though it does reinforce some elements that I have cultivated and intend on making use of. Ultimately words are really just marks on the page that communicate to the reader and anything that can facilitate that communication should find a higher rate of success. Also since ours is a living language we should expect changes to come to our use of it. While we do not want to follow them like some hungry dog understanding that not any rule is set in stone can only make our writing stronger.

Success

image

I received my first box of books this week. On the one hand it means I need to hit the bricks and get selling, something, I must confess, I am not very good at. On the other hand it means that Undead Heart is truly complete. I like the sound and feeling of that. Sales so far have been better than my other books and I can’t be happier. I do have a sales promotion coming up in about a week in the Amazon Kindle Store. Also if anyone would like a signed copy message me on Facebook and we can work something out.

When the Well Runs Dry

Spooky Well
From The Ring http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0298130/

When working on my first novel, my biggest fear was that once complete that was it for me. That one book would be the only one in me. My career as a writer would end before it even started. At one point I think that fear even played a part in my procrastination as I neared the end. I can chuckle about it now.

I currently am working on my ninth and tenth novels. Actually that tenth one is on hiatus for now but is about 30% complete and I will get back to it. I really don’t know what part of the blood brain chemistry accounts for the spontaneous ignition of creative ideas. For me dreams often play a part. Many of my stranger and or more memorable ones find their way to one fictional form or another. Then there are the characters. Often I will come across someone, could just be a stranger in the store or on the television, that sparks something. Then as Johnny Storm would say, “Flame On.” (Please don’t sue me Mr. Lee but I had to use it.)

Sometimes visiting an interesting place is all the stimulation your mind needs to launch you into a new project. My latest trip to Bisbee, Arizona provided me with an interesting setting with a rich back story. A thriving mining town full of wild west stories and intrigues. I jotted enough of it down that I will be ready to begin my eleventh novel as soon as the smoke clears from my tablet’s screen. Hint, it’s a Steampunk work with plenty of Demons in it.  While in Bisbee I could feel the ideas peculating away. The place also allowed me to make significant progress on my latest work, the Sequel to Undead Heart.

So as I said earlier I can chuckle now at the thought I was a one book Benny. Still the fear is very real and you will work through it. Just don’t let it keep you from finishing or even starting a work. As long as you live a well stimulated life that old well is never going to dry up.

Undead Heart is Still Coming

Undead Heart Cover_smThe problem with deadlines is that once you set them you have to be ready to deal with missing them. I began writing Undead Heart almost three years ago. The plot came together quickly in my head and the characters needed little development. I finished writing the book in ten months, I figure three maybe four months to edit it and I would have it out by the Summer of 2011. Something in the mean time happened. I started working on my next novel. A Steampunk take on the Frankenstein story. Along the way I also read some classic literature and Ann Rand’s Atlas Shrugged. As a result my writing went through a slight change, one I am certain is for the better. This however meant I needed to do some rewriting of various parts of  Undead Heart. Actually my wife spotted the weaker parts before I did. Those have been changed and editing was back on track.

I set a deadline for myself to have the book finished by this year’s Phoenix Comicon. I am so glad I did not spend money on a table. About three weeks ago my wife and I had a discussion on how many YA books in this same genre feature a first person present tense point of view. The novel as it existed was already in first person but the tense had to change. The switch from past to present tense is a little more involved than doing a find and replace of all verbs with an -ed at the end. In some cases the scene needs a bit of reworking to make the new tense flow logically from one point to the next. It’s lengthy and a bit tedious but the end result is a work that moves much quicker and benefits from letting me tweak the mood and environment of several scenes.

I have been here before. My second novel, a science fiction work, actually went through two shifts, from third person to first and back and a tense change before it was done. At times I worry that I just am not ale to let it go. One fear I had when writing my first novel, twenty years ago if you can believe that, was that that book was it and I had nothing else. Well eight and counting novels later I know I have more coming. At the same time I have learned from my previous two publishing experiences that you do not want to rush this part and release a manuscript that is not 100%. It is not a race. So while I watch this latest deadline for Undead Heart slip past rest assured it is still coming and it is going to be worth the wait.

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