Monthly Archives: April 2018

Continuing the race from a new starting block

Thirty-eight thousand words. It’s all downhill from here, right?

Well, my plan is to come up with another twenty thousand words. Though I don’t think that’s going to happen, because the story wants to end. I don’t want the story to end. It’s a conflicting feeling. You work on a story for a long time, or work with a character for even longer, and then you get to the end of the book or the series. It’s sad, disappointing, yet there’s a sense of completion.

However, I can set up Grimaulkin for “The Next Generation” if I feel like doing that, but I think, after thirteen years of playing him and writing him, it’s time to let him live exclusively on Champions Online. Until I get bored or there’s a sudden influx of fans.

I don’t want to get bored with Grim. I love the guy. We’ve been through hell together. He won’t die at the end of this book–I can’t do that to him. I’m already showing his tender side, which is more apparent in “Family Bonds,” the tie-in short story for this book.

Personally, I’ve gone through some intense mental health work that has cleared my mind and put me in the starting block of a new way of thinking. It may find its way in my writing. I can see some introspection on Mike’s part that I never went through before. When I rewrite, I’ll bring these new skills I’ve learned into the writing–maybe.


Is it worth it?

Did an event yesterday. I sold one book, and I’m very happy for that. (Thanks, Jennifer!) I called my dad and told him, and he said, “You sit all day and sell one book. Is it even worth it?”

I immediately said, “Yes.” And here’s why.

It’s not the book selling that I’m there for. I’m there to learn how other authors are doing things. I’m there to see what works, and what doesn’t. I happened to sit next to someone who was involved in sales, and she showed me a few tricks of the trade. I noticed, too, that it takes me a couple of hours to get warmed up enough to get people’s attention and engage them.

Plus, the four people I sat next to were a blast. We were the loudest group in the room.

I’m also there to meet people. I passed out business cards, put myself out there. I passed people to other authors that could help them or that would have books of their interest. I told them about my publisher and gave out a couple of brochures.

People asked a lot about audio books. By the way, the narrator of Water is going to narrate the Grimaulkin series and I could not be more happy–he’s absolutely terrific. Even if you don’t like gay erotica, go buy one of the Water booklets and just listen to the guy. Grimaulkin’s audiobooks are coming out (hopefully) by August. I was handing out the Grimaulkin business cards left and right to get people to remember to either buy the ebook or the audiobook when it comes out. Homecoming, I didn’t push as much (mostly because I didn’t have the room), but I told them that the audiobook was good for a Boston trip. A lot of people seemed interested in Homecoming, too…which means I need to get my ass in gear and write War Mage.

Grimaulkin Redeemed is slowed down to 37.5K words right now because I’m doing stuff for personal reasons. I am entering a short story in the Association of Rhode Island Author’s anthology for this year. It’s depressing, but I think it’s pretty good. It’s a rewrite of my first chapter of the second draft of Grimaulkin. By the way, Grimaulkin, as he’s published now, is my fifth draft, Grimaulkin Tempted my first draft, and Redeemed is my first as well. Me and my editor are getting better at this.

The end is nigh

Grimaulkin Redeemed is at 39K words, and I just started what I believe is the beginning of the  ending of the main plot. I have to throw in a few side plots for filler. I’m especially concerned why a certain antagonist is even in the story. If I take him out, a lot of really good stuff goes with it; not to mention about 10K words. Kill my darlings? No., that’s too easy..I’m going to fit that damn square peg in the round hole.

I didn’t do my homework last weekend, working on Redeemed and my own personal homework instead.  While doing laundry, I can work on Earth, specifically Virgo, and at least get that one in the can. Taurus is giving me trouble because, well, it’s pretty obvious that a Brokeback Mountain scenario just screams for that one. Yes, there’s a cowboy involved. Yes, there are cows involved. (Steer, not cows…gotta get that straight.) But I can’t copy Brokeback Mountain. And it’s sounding a lot like Cancer right now, so I have to do something to twist it.

My son asked me about War Mage and I kind of wanted to hide under the seat. I have such a hard block with it. I want to make it realistic. But I don’t want to get hate mail from veterans saying, “You got this wrong.”  And because the internet and books are somewhat classified, I can’t get the full picture and the details. I tried to read a critically acclaimed book about soldiers at war, but the print was so small I couldn’t see it. Audible to the rescue (I hope it’s in there)!

I hope to get to 42K by next week, as I will be busy for the second half of the week and may not get to write. I’ll do laundry and get Virgo out.

What happened in the year 2000?

I’m on medical leave (long story, not going into it) so I have some time to write. I try to write at least 1000 words a day, in between the recovery. I’m coming up with some good ideas, and I’m over half-way through the novel. I’m stuck a little on how the police handle mail, and what they had available in the year 2000 with computers. Did cops or the feds have hackers on the payroll?

MySpace and Twitter didn’t exist, neither did Facebook or other social media sites. AOL and Usenet were the big community sites. I have to cast back in my own memory what AOL was like at the time. It’s challenging, because the old memory isn’t what it used to be, and I have no idea what cops could do then. Did they look up IP addresses? Did they know how to find people from an email?

Of course, I could just gloss over it like I plan on doing with War Mage. Though it bothers me.

“Capricorn” is finished, edited and ready to go. I had planned on working on Earth this weekend but I got distracted with other recovery work. “Family Bonds,” the short story tie-in for Grimaulkin Redeemed, is also done and formatted. When I do the laundry, I’ll work on Earth (because it’s on the computer in the laundry room).

In two weeks I’ll be at the Warwick Public Library selling books, signing them, and giving away the short story tie-ins (that are very cool). April 21 from 10-2. Hope to see you there!

Keeping Time

My aim was to get to 40K by the end of March, but it’m up to 29K at the moment. I’ll probably get up to 30K by today, and then it’s all downhill from there.

I took two days off and then started writing, and realized that I had messed up the time sequence. That’s the problem with me, sometimes, when I take time off. I have to go back to the beginning and read what I had done. Scrivener has a place that you can put document notes, and I’ve started to utilize that section.

Grimaulkin Redeemed takes place on November 1, 2000. I have to check an online calendar (though Scrivener gives me the option of saving the image of that calendar) to follow the days and dates, and now I need to make note of the moon phases. I’ve also made it more difficult for me–or for Mike–to get out and do things because now he has a job that takes up his mornings.

I’m also having trouble with the main plot. It pervades the story, but it’s not in your face all the time. And I need to figure out the motive of the antagonist–why does he do what I want him to do during the climax? Mike is paranoid about the antagonist; does that mean his paranoia is justified? Or would that make things way too obvious and easy?

The strange thing about writing, sometimes, is that you want to make it complicated for the reader, but not obtuse. You don’t want the reader to say “Huh?” But you want to keep them guessing, letting them try and figure out what you’re doing. If you make it too easy or obvious, readers get mad and won’t read your next book. But if you spring it on them without any foreshadowing or clues, they get mad too. It’s a fine line.

I was listening to a interview of an author (Steve Barry, I think) and the interviewer said that the ending came out of nowhere. That kind of ending would irritate the hell out of me. My editor said the same thing about Grimaulkin Tempted. I had dropped a few hints that only really astute readers would pick up on. During the rewrite, I made it more obvious that time around with an internal dialogue.

There are a lot of threads to keep in mind when writing: Time, place, character feelings and growth. Some of these come naturally, and can stay in my head. Other times, I get confused. Brothers of the Zodiac had a full time-line that I did one boring day at work about four years ago, but it got eaten by the website (it no longer exists). I had character names, places and dates. All gone. How ephemeral the cloud is.

Scrivener helps me keep track now. Full moon is coming up, and Mike is going to be a bit busy. I hope.