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Reality bites, at least where traditional publishing is concerned

Being a control freak, my desire to self-publish over traditional publishing has always been firmly in place. Amazing to live with the possibility of doing just that without having to resort to utilizing an expensive company to do all of that for you.

Mad Genius Club

From time to time, I’m asked whether I think a writer should publish their book as an indie or try to go the traditional route. Depending on who it is, I might temper my response a little. By that, I mean I will tell them the decision is theirs to make. Then I ask them why they consider going the traditional route. Almost every time, the answer is the same: they want to get into bookstores. You know me. So you know my follow-up question is to ask them where the closest bookstore is, when the last time was they were in the store and how many books a year do they buy from there. Almost always, you can see the lightbulb go off over their head as they consider the question. 

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On Villainy

If you have a spare 1/2 hour watch the video attached to this blog. It’s fascinating to see how the nature of literary villains/heroes can be broken down. In truth, I’d never considered the idea of an anti-villain. The video is intended for working with evil characters in a gaming setting, but it’s just as useful for writers.

Mad Genius Club

As you read this, I’m working toward being on the road again. We’re absconding for parts south, the littles and I. Just a few days, and eating turkey (I think we’ll be eating turkey. I’m not actually sure. I know I’ll be roasting brussels sprouts with bacon, and then mulling cranberries, for my contribution to The Meal.) So I’m writing yesterday, on some thoughts I had the night before, while listening to Matt Colville’s excellent Running The Game series of youtube videos on Dungeon Mastery. Specifically the video on playing evil player characters.

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Couple of Things

Hi ya! Another little update to let you know things are moving in the right direction. I have sent the manuscript for Book III (now officially titled “Exile’s Legacy”) to my editor and I hope to start seeing some edited chapters showing up in my inbox in the next few days. While I await those chapters, I have been working hard on the new cover and I am pleased to say it is nearly complete. I will hold off on the big reveal for a bit more.

In other news, a military sci-fi anthology called “Luck is Not a Factor” came out today. It features nineteen stories by as many authors, one of whom is yours truly. The anthology takes place in the Four Horseman Universe created by Chris Kennedy and Mark Wandrey. The stories surround a number of mercenary groups in the far future after the human race digs itself out of a bad situation and takes their badass selves to the stars. This new book, as well as a couple of its predecessors “Fist Full of Credits” and “Tales from the Lyon’s Den” serve as great introductions to the 4HU. Lots of varied perspectives. Some funny. Some heart-wrenching. Many full of hardcore action.

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You Haven’t Lost It

I pretty much go through this exercise in self torture every time I sit down to write anything new. It’s one of the reasons I’ve found using writer’s prompts and then writing like mad for 15 minutes is an excellent way to loosen up. What’s truly amazing is that by forcing all of the self-doubt away and shutting down the internal editor, I’ve come up with some interesting snippets for possible short stories.

Mad Genius Club

Recently I had to reassure one of my fledgelings — one of the early ones, now very much a master herself — that she hadn’t “lost it.”

What is “it” you ask?  It is the ability to write.

This is a perennial and bizarre fear of all writers. I suspect half of you suffer from this. We take a month off — say, to refinish furniture (it’s research, okay? It has now given rise to Busted Marble, Stenciled Murder and Chalked off soon to be visited upon Dyce Dare as soon as A Well Inlaid Death is Finished.  Yes, sure, some stuff needed done around here, but we probably could have waited a year and paid. OTOH I was too far from furniture refinishing to fully get in the mind of someone who does it for a living.  So…) — and then we come back, write and become convinced it’s…

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What Writers Are

Taking a day off from either writing or editing leaves me feeling guilty. That being said, I did play me some 13th Age this past Sunday and had a lot of fun unwinding. But I was back to editing today, and I’m making great progress. I’m about halfway done with editing the rough draft, which is pretty amazing considering I’m having to do some rewriting to clean up all evidence of the story lines I’m stripping out. I’m liking the changes. It’s reading much cleaner – flowing better. And I haven’t been hit with any sense of “Man, this sucks!” . In fact, I’m feeling pretty stoked!

Mad Genius Club

It’s four in the morning, or something like that, and having found myself sleepless — no, I actually don’t have any idea why — I’m at my keyboard banging out blog posts, and wanting to work on the current novel, but the mind is foggy from lack of sleep.

And something from a video I watched about strategies for making it indie is running through my mind.  The gentleman, who only writes books about how to make it in indie derided the “write a lot” aka “the brute force” or “shotgunning” strategy as “Sure, it works, but you have to keep writing.”

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Dun-Dun-Done

Okay, before you get your hopes up too much, allow me to bring things down a notch. The rough draft is finished as of this past afternoon. I stared at it a long time not quite grasping the reality of the situation. It’s a huge step, but I want to be clear, this puppy needs editing. As I mentioned in my last “real” post, the thing turned into a monster, so I’ve decided to strip out two story lines. That will be part of the editing process, and it’s possible that the removal of those story lines will require I finesse some sections of the remaining story in order to keep folks from scratching their heads over references to missing material. I also know one of the fight scenes needs to be amped up.

Even the Shadow doesn’t know what else may lurk in the heart of my story. Let’s face it, I’ve been working on this thing for three years, and so a good half of the book I haven’t read through in over a year. I may find some surprises awaiting me. There could be a few situations where I contradict myself. It happens. Even when you plan things out like I do, there is a certain amount of spontaneity that occurs during the writing process. Things that seem perfectly logical at the time suddenly clash with something that morphed later on into something entirely different.

Some pseudo fun trivia now. The big fight scene that I thought was the last difficult section I faced (you remember, I celebrated it in my last post and acted like the thing was nearly done because I only had this one little dramatic scene to finish up) – yeah, well the fight scene turned out to be the easy part. I rewrote the entire “easy” piece five times. I have never faced such a dog of a scene. It was supposed to be relatively short, a wrap-up of sorts that leaves the audience able to nod and accept that enough threads have been tied up to be satisfying while leaving enough unanswered questions that they’ll look forward to Book IV.

The *&$%$ thing dragged on and on. I started over. Ooh, much better this time. And then blammo, the verbosity monster struck again. Made adjustments. Started again. Made a lot more progress. And … well, you get it. Each time I made it a little further before I realized my original plans were just too much. Then today, I had an epiphany of sorts. I realized the perfect stopping spot was staring me in the face, and the bit I was trying to shoe-horn in would work much better as an ending for Book IV. Happy dance. I started and finished the Epilogue in about an hour. It’s simple and to the point. It’s there to remind the reader that, even though the Dragon Queen story line has been resolved, there is still a bad guy lurking about who needs a good comeuppance.

So, tomorrow the editing process begins. And I’ll make my final selections for title choices and get them posted to my FB group page. I’ll drop in here when it’s live and post a link.

In the meantime, here is a WIP of my updated look for Raven. It still needs some work. For example, that sword has got to go – it’s lame. And it needs a nifty golden glow added to it.

Cheers!!!

 

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