So, yeah, this long (two years? Really?) silence is about to be broken because I did actually spend at least some of that time rethinking my writing strategies and writing actual words.
It was pointed out to me a while back that I seemed to have an attention span on my own writing that was about the size of a short story. That when I wrote little compact stories of one to six or so thousand words I excelled far more than when I tried to write 50-90, 000 words in a novel. What came of this was Doorway to Dementia. This is a collection of a dozen short stories (assuming they all make the editing cut in the next couple of weeks) which put my twisted little mind on display.
Better than that, though, is they give me something to put out there. To build some sort of actual readership. To show that I’ve not been lying when I said I wanted to be a writer.
I’m hoping to ride the anticipated jubilation of publishing Doorway into finishing rewrites of The Dreamweaver (formerly Project: Dreamcatcher) and publishing that on or around my birthday in early May. Really, I’m hoping that this will start an avalanche of publishing for me because I have a lot of great ideas I want to get out to all of you and I think I have the talent to make them compelling but my brain needs to be convinced that people will actually like the stuff when it’s out there.
Doorway to Dementia will give my readers (totally in the hypothetical at the moment) that chance to show my brain that I can and, indeed, will succeed at this writing thing.
So, now that I’ve totally bored you and made your eyes roll multiple times, we get to the whole point of this post: I can haz cover? Yes, I can haz! And you can haz too. Right here and now. 🙂
This is the e-cover for Doorway. Done by the incomparable RL Treadway whose @rtink sites can be found on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/Atrtink and on her company domain at http://www.atrtink.com. She was a joy to work with and is very competitively priced. I had no idea what I wanted for this cover until she gave me ideas. Then it was simple. And I think it turned out great.
Now to get the inside as gleamy as the outside so’s y’all can bask in my authory goodness. 😉
I’m in the Ozarks this week. Branson, Missouri and Rogers, Arkansas.
Maybe the mountain air has gotten to my sensibilities or summat but I did get hit in the noggin one morning with a revelation about my writing and why the shit’s been just so damned hard for so damned long.
I’ve been writing how I think/see/feel I should write. I should actually be writing how I write.
This may not make a lot of sense to anyone who hasn’t had the need for this revelation but trust me it’s a biggie.
A huge, ginormous, gargantuan, really, really, really big — well, thing.
I’ve let Koontz (mostly since my main WIPs are along his genre lines) and Eddings and Anthony and whoeverthefuckelseI’vereadinmythirty-fivegoddamnyearsonthisEarth encroach on what should be a very private lovemaking session between me and my muse. We get together and together we create a story tapestry around whatever loudmouthed characters we decide to pick up at the singles bar of my mind.
Sometimes it’s rough and sweaty. Sometimes it’s slow, tender and gentle. Every time, however, it should be personal, private and unique to me and my muse.
Dean (Koontz for those not on a first name basis with him (har!)), as much as I’ve loved his stuff (mostly the early stuff but most of his later stuff is better than I’ll ever be), has a muse that’s just for him. I should find her ugly or at least average or below. Stephen King has a twisted little muse who should appear to me as a “screw this bitch and you’ll wake up missing two balls, one penis or one heart — maybe all of the above” type chick.
My muse should be the one who looks nothing like these dudes’ muses. Or anyone else’s. She’s just for me and I’ve been cheating her by chasing after the muses attached to writers who have already found success. I figured, hell, if those muses could make those guys famous why not me?
The problem is this: It’s not the muses that made those guys famous. It was the creation that came out of writer/muse lovemaking.
I have decided that I now have eyes for no other muse but my own. I am making that pledge to her right here in front of all three people who read this crap. I’m going to foster my relationship with my muse. This is going to result in some twisted, socially unacceptable, quite probably very disturbing resultant creations but I’m going to go full steam ahead with no apologies.
From here on I will never again try to be the next Koontz, King, Rowling, Sparks, Meyer, or whoever is next down the NYT pike.
I will write like Todd Macy and be damn proud of it.
So, I’ve done a bit of work on some short stories since my last update. Not a lot but, anymore, some is better than what I’ve been getting.
Mainly, however, I’ve been solidifying my resolve to start up my manuscript formatting and cover design business. I’ve now got the domain registered and the website hosted. I’ve even got the very, very primitive beginnings of the site up at www.maceedesign.com.
The name, after much deliberation and Facebookery with friends and colleagues, ended up being Mace eDesign. See what I did there? You can’t say the name of the company without saying my last name but my name is nowhere explicitly stated. Clever, eh? 😉
The next tough part became coming up with a logo. By which I mean finding a picture of a mace that was free to be used. And lining it up with a futury-type font to symbolize the joining of old and new. Like technologies. Like paper books and ebooks. Get it? 🙂
Firstly came such:
Which was cool and all but the consensus (at least 75%) of those polled thought that it was neat but nigh on unreadable. That just won’t do for a logo which is supposed to attract people to your specific company.
Which was better font-wise as a whole but people still thought it looked like the picture was of some kind of spiky penis. Again, wrong image for my company.
Third time’s the charm?
Better. Much better. But it was pointed out to me that the mace picture I had borrowed from teh Interwebz was, shall we say, a little cruder than a logo deserves.
In the tradition of “If you want it done right you have to do it yourself” I decided I was going to just have to Gimp myself a mace for my logo.
Which is what I did here:
And this, dear readers/friends/both, is the logo as it stands. I may do some colorized/glowy/flashy versions in the future (especially when I start selling my services as a webdesigner specializing in author pages) but I think this suffices for now.
I knew it wouldn’t be easy to come up with a logo. Especially when it took the better part of a day just to come up with the company’s name. But after a full day or so of brain-wracking, Googling fun I have come up with a logo that has, so far, gotten good responses from all of those I have polled thus far. Anyone reading this is free to comment on any or all of the designs, of course.
Now I must take my leave because there’s chores to be done, writing to be writ and a website to be imagined and designed and finished (it is live now but extremely primitive and non-cohesive so far).
This post is going to look suspiciously like a post whining and explaining why I have pretty much no writing news since the last post. I hate reading those and I hate writing them even more. Sometimes, whether we like it or not — and we mostly “not,” shit gets in the way of our writing mojo, however.
There are a lot of clichés that involve life presenting you with unexpected (and mostly negative) events. I’m a sports fan so I tend to gravitate toward the sports metaphors. Therefore, my life usually throws me curveballs.
Nice, big, juicy, sneaky, 12-6 curveballs.
I’m really better at fastballs. Around 80-85 mph.
But what would life be without a little unexpected adventure? And what people are usually the best at providing said adventure? Yarp — family.
I can usually do without the human race as a whole (writers don’t count because we’re a whole species unto ourselves) but I do anything I can for my family when they need help and/or support.
This is where the curveball(s) come in. Last week life threw my mom (and, by extension, me) one of the bigger curves I’ve seen in my three and a half decades. I’m not going to go into gory details here but suffice it to say that a quick drive back to the ol’ homestead and a couple of days of frenzied “grab what’s most important for now,” an all-night 12 hour or so drive back home, and an adventurous tour for my brother through the airports of the south (mostly Charlotte) have brought my mom to live, at least temporarily, here in Plano with me and my little nuclear family.
I’m not complaining at all. I love that I’ll get to see Mom more and I especially love that my boys will get to know Grandma P better. I just don’t tend to do well with unexpected stuff. I manage and eventually do okay but that first step is usually nerve-wracking and frustrating.
I still have at least one more trip back to southern New Mexico (maybe this time I’ll remember to stock up on green chiles) on the horizon in the next few weeks but things should start settling down again soon.
So I guess I’ll get back to making my multitude of batches of lemonade while trying to sneak in some writing time. Especially since I’ve found I have to modify Veil’s hospital scene because I mistakenly made it a multi-story building. Oops.
As reported earlier, I underwent a dry run as a “professional Smashwords manuscript formatter.” If that ain’t an unweildy title…
Check out 30% of it absolutely free. I’ve got it on good authority you’ll want the other 70%. Go ahead and do it now. I’ll wait.
Okay, where were we? Or, rather, where was I since y’all should have just gotten back from completing a transaction to get ‘Netta’s book. 😉
She made it so easy (even through a “three space” mini-crisis) to complete this contract successfully and I enjoyed the work enough that I’m thinking I will open myself up to freelancing this sort of thing. In other words, if anyone reading this needs formatting/conversion done and hates doing it themselves or you know anyone like that then I’m more than happy to hire myself out to make the process virtually pain-free. I still have to come up with a contract and possibly set up a company with a snazzy logo and such but I’m sure in the interim we can work something out.
After all, we’re all adults. Or at least y’all are. 🙂
I’m also willing to help with cover designs although my skills are a little more fledgling on that sort of thing. For a third party take on any skills I have in that arena you can always ask Lori Whitwam about the cover mockup I did for her hinthint currently unrepresented and totally available and awesome manuscript, Make Or Break. It wasn’t perfect but it turned out pretty good for not having busted out the big graphic guns.
So, basically, I’ve discovered I have a knack and a taste for making a little moolah while trying to help make the self-pub world a better, less stigmatized place. And, hell, these skills will help if/when I need to self-pub. Like when I get a bunch of shorts together and want to put them in a collection. Trad pubs probably won’t touch it with a fifty-foot katana. Especially from an unknown.
So, buy ‘Netta’s book (I hear she may even autograph it if you buy a print copy) in either print or e-book. If you’re an agent, ask Lori for a full. And if you’re a self-pub, get with me if you’re “ready” and we’ll see what we can work out.
As for me, I need to do some housework. Yay.
Okay, so I haven’t worked on any of my WIPs so far in the new year. Big Boy goes back to school tomorrow morning, however, and I’ve got some ideas in my head on how to set the mood for writing right after he leaves on the bus. We’ll see how those work out on the morrow.
I have informally begun a dry run of what I hope can turn into a lucrative business, though.
There are enough good self-pubs out there in the aether of the interwebs that I think, given enough time and careful attention, the stigma of self-pubbing can be significantly reduced. Perhaps even minimized.
There are enough bad self-pubs out there in the aether of the interwebs that I know self-pubbers are going to need help to get to that point for the “fledgling” industry.
I am hoping to be that help.
I have helped a fellow author with the cover to her ms. that she sent to readers on the Kindle and she seemed to be fairly happy with it. Once we got to around the right color. 😉 I also spent time with that ms. learning to convert files from one device file type to a bunch of others so that different people could read it on their varied devices. These are the two main skills I hope to bring to self-pubbers who hire me for my services. Once I use my guinea pigs and their documents to make sure I can replicate my successes.
I’m even considering offering at least limited editing services to it.
Obviously, this won’t be my “day job” just yet. I’m still actively searching for one of those. But it will help me hone some decently valuable skills and if it has a side benefit of earning me a modicum of scratch then I’m all for it. 🙂
The project I’m currently working on is a flash fiction collection called “Not Nice And Other Understatements” by Annetta Ribken. It is available in print right now from that link or you can just search Amazon for it. Go ahead and buy it. It’s getting rave reviews from what I hear. I have my copy and will quite probably use this blog to spread my own review once I get a chance to sit down with it in a bright light somewhere. 😉
If all goes well then it will also be available in a variety of electronic formats on Smashwords by the end of this week. Hopefully sooner.
If this dry run pans out and I enjoy it enough to keep doing it then I’ll have to actually do some due diligence and set up something halfway professional. At least halfway.
Then if I can get this thing off the ground, get a decent day job and get some of my own writing done — well, then the sky’s the limit for 2011 and beyond.
Here’s hoping. 😉
First, I’d like to welcome one and all to 2011.
I’m hoping it will be a far more productive year for me than was 2010. Both in writing as well as other aspects of my life which have nothing to do with writing except for the time they help suck away from it.
In that vein, I’m pushing most of my good mojo south toward Richardson hoping that I get a callback next week about an IT job (for which I am eminently qualified) so that I have a day job not to quit while I continue to pursue my writing dreams. Any external good mojo is more than welcome. 🙂
As I’ve already told my Facebook (I know, “boo, hiss, evil!”) friends and family, I haven’t “resolved” anything other than plot problems since the debate team in high school and I’m not going to change that now. I don’t do New Year’s resolutions.
All I can do is promise with everything I’ve got physically, emotionally and spiritually to get a writing routine set which will allow me to get one to three thousand words a day (ideally) written so that I can at least have a few first drafts to work on by fall.
The single biggest thing, I think, that I can do to help this along is to actually update this “follow the mediocre writer through his trials and travails” blog at least every other day (ideally it would be daily).
Again, I don’t “resolve” to do this. The best I can do is promise with all I have, yada, yada, yada.
My major goal by this time in 2012 is to at least have an agent inked and actively helping to sell my stuff.
To this end, I do have a manuscript which I “finished” in the summer of 2006 in the clutches of my long-suffering pre-reader so that she can help me determine how we fix that sucker (if we can at all) so that I can get it ready to query. Right now it’s pretty ugly but I think there’s at least a core there that can be saved.
I’m also still working on Across The Veil as well as the novel which was begun during my failed (once again) NaNo attempt, Zombiesapien. The Sum Of All Tears will also probably get a significant look during 2011. Maybe E-Male too.
I also am pondering a self-published short story collection. That would just require digging up some shorts and writing a few more I have in mind.
So, as you can see, I have plenty of good intentions for the new year. And we all know which road we pave with those.
Big Boy is wanting lunch now so I’d better get going now.
Harpies spew beer to all y’all.