2014 Writing In Review

2014 was a fairly productive period for my first year as an author. In late February, I released Convergence, and it’s since been featured as a Kobo Next Read Selection in their Science Fiction & Fantasy category, and was just recently a Book of the Week over at SciFi365.net. I’m pretty proud of this work, and reviewers have been responding favorably. I’ve heard from several readers who have greatly enjoyed it, and that alone has made this indie venture worthwhile. The title itself has raked up 10 reviews at Amazon, with a 4.8 out of 5 star average. On Goodreads, it’s accumulated an average of 4.42 out of 5 stars. It’s also made the Top 100 in Amazon’s Cyberpunk category multiple times since its release in both the US and the UK, which was very, very exciting to see.

My productivity hit its peak over the spring and summer, when I finished the first draft of Emergence and then dove into a short horror story, Consumption. Between those two works, I broke more than 110K in word-count over roughly three months.

Consumption released in October, and is currently standing at a 4.4 out of 5 star average among nine reviewers at Amazon, 4.15 on Goodreads. Again, I’ve been really happy with the reader reactions to this one. I was a bit nervous releasing it, as it’s so very different from Convergence, and is a bit off the wall. Horror is a genre I love, and I plan on dabbling in that end of the writing pool again in the (near?) future. I’ve got a few ideas I’m toying around with, but for the time being I’m heavily involved in my next novel.

And that next novel is, as I mentioned above, Emergence. This sequel to Convergence has been undergoing some serious editing and rewriting throughout the back-half of 2014. I recently received some beta reader feedback, which I think has helped tremendously, and it was great to get yet another set of eyeballs on this work. My content developer had terrific notes and suggestions, as well, and between those two readers I really do think Emergence is going to be one heck of a strong book. I’m hoping a few more betas will chime in soon. The next step is line edits, and I know my editor is going to have some more mighty fine suggestions, and that, in some ways, the work is only really just getting started.

Once those line edits are done, it’ll be onto the proofreading stage, and then art design and formatting. I’m eying a late first quarter or early second quarter release for 2015.

That’s not all, though! With Consumption out, and Emergence close to wrapping up, I was invited to take part in an anthology. There’s been a few kinks to work out on the scheduling for that one, but I have a 10,000 word short story, Revolver, that will be in the mix. Current plans are to have that one out for the spring, and I got an early look at the cover art and some of the story ideas from my fellow contributors. This should be a really great anthology, and I’m looking forward to sharing more details as we get closer to release.

I’m also in the very early stages of sorting out ideas for book three in the DRMR series, which will follow-up on some of the plot developments that occur in Emergence. I’m still a little bit away from hammering out all of the story details, but have settled on some interesting ideas that help expand on some of the conflicts seen in Convergence. I’m about five thousand words in and things are just starting to gel, so lots and lots of work ahead of me on this one.

On the blog side of things, I published 258 posts. These drew in more than 11 thousand views, across close to eight thousand visitors. Not a bad first year for this site (note: posts prior to 2014 were imported from a previous blog). I’m going to hedge my bets and say, conservatively, that between this blog and all the story writing, I probably produced close to 300 thousand words this year.

So, 2014 was busy, and I’m expecting 2015 to be equally productive. Keep an eye out for more news, more reviews, and new releases in the coming New Year.

Now, back to writing…

2014 Writing In Review

eBook Sci-Fi Sale (But It Won’t Last Long!)

Hey there, readers!

I’m happy to announce that, for a limited time (i.e. today and tomorrow), you can grab some great sci-fi reads for cheap, including my book, CONVERGENCE, over at Amazon. Just click the links below to buy, but act fast because this won’t last for very long.

Convergence-800 Cover reveal and Promotional99 cents!

| Kindle | Nook | Kobo |


hereticFree!


whatitmeanstosurviveFree!


defiance99 cents!


And, as always, my short horror story CONSUMPTION is only 99 cents as well. Just don’t read this one on a full stomach…

consumption-complete99 cents!

| Amazon | Kobo | Nook |

eBook Sci-Fi Sale (But It Won’t Last Long!)

Inforgraphic: Self-Publish or Traditional?

The folks at The Write Life developed this infographic as a bit of a tongue-in-cheek guide to choosing your best publishing options.

Self-Publishing or Traditional Publishing: Which Should You Choose?
Courtesy of: The Write Life

 

What are you thoughts?

Inforgraphic: Self-Publish or Traditional?

Reblog: Writer Emergency Pack – helping writers get unstuck by John August — Kickstarter

I came across this Kickstarter project on Twitter today, thanks to this post from Chuck Wendig:

And that led me to John August’s page, and this tweet in particular:

So, now being pretty darn curious as to what the heck this all is, I hit up August’s Kickstarter page and pledged some support. Here’s the link:

Writer Emergency Pack – helping writers get unstuck by John August — Kickstarter.

And here’s what August says about the impetus behind his Writer Emergency Pack project:

Writing is hard. You’re constantly trying to figure out what word comes next.

Creative writing is even harder. When you’re working on a story, you’re not just trying to decide what word comes next, but what idea comes next.

It’s easy to get stuck.

I know what that’s like because I’m a screenwriter. I’m lucky to have had ten movies produced, from GO to BIG FISH to FRANKENWEENIE. I also host a popular podcast about film and television called Scriptnotes.

Over the years, I’ve had conversations with hundreds of writers, both on the podcast and around the lunch table. No matter what genre or medium, all writers face story problems. Plots that plod. Characters that don’t connect.

Every writer has her own techniques for pushing past these problems — little nudges and prompts to help get the story clicking.

Writer Emergency Pack is a curated collection of some of the most useful suggestions I’ve encountered. It’s by writers, for writers.

I’m really looking forward to getting this deck of cards and checking out the Dark Mode booster pack when it becomes available next year. I think this is going to be pretty darn entertaining, and who knows what kind of crazy stories this could lead to!

As an added bonus that makes donating/pre-ordering all the more worthwhile, August is taking a Get One, Give One approach to help get these cards into the sweaty palms of both writers and youngsters just starting out in local creative writing programs. I think this is a pretty exciting initiative to help bolster support for writing and show kids just how truly fun and awesome this thing we do can be.

Reblog: Writer Emergency Pack – helping writers get unstuck by John August — Kickstarter

Writing is Rewriting

The old adage – writing is rewriting – is a small and wise nugget, but inside this little phrase is a whole world of magic. Maybe that’s a bit too much wide-eyed mysticism, but, damn it, there is power in the rewrite. Old world hoodoo. I’m a believer.

Writing isn’t easy. It’s not working in a mineshaft or being a grave-digger or garbage man difficult, but it can be incredibly frustrating, exhausting, and mind-numbing. The act of carving loose a story is tricky business. Stories, you see, they lurk. They hide and cower, shriveling away in stubborn obstinance, and sometimes they require a tremendous amount of coaxing to do with it what you will.

Not all stories are like this. Not all of them, and not all the time. But sometimes you get a good idea that you just cannot get a solid grip on. It’s an idea that wants to be a story, but which is slimy and feisty and refuses to be pinned down in a corner. That’s when you have to go at it from a different angle. That’s when you rewrite and trap it.

Convergence came somewhat easily, but that second draft…man, that was full of rewriting, trying to get those ideas lined up right and flowing sensibly.

I wanted to follow it up with a horror novel whose idea has been percolating in my head for about six years. I couldn’t even get through the first chapter. It was awful. I had no idea how to start it. Or, at least, I did have an idea but not a proper way of executing it. The idea still lingers, and I’m working on a new approach now. We’ll see if I can nail it down or not.

I shelved it for a while and tackled Emergence, a sequel to Convergence. Again, it came easily. Three months of solid writing and I produced a first draft I was really happy with. I sent it off to my editors at Red Adept. There’s a lot of rewriting in store for me again. I spent this past weekend rewriting and rearranging an entire chapter early on in the book’s going. I’ll be rewriting the ending and expanding it. There’s a whole litany of notes from my content editor, and a heck of a lot of work ahead before it’s publishable. But it’s all doable. I already did a lot of the heavy lifting. Now it’s just finessing and modifying and cleaning shit up.

Consumption came easy, fired out after three days of frenetic writing. That one bled out of me, and took on a life of its own. I wanted to follow it up with another short story for an anthology I’ll be taking part in next year. The first idea I had was solid, but again, the execution was a failure. Just couldn’t figure it out.

I came up with a new idea. It’s called Revolver. It wasn’t always called that, but it is now. I sat down to write it and got about three thousand words in. I was not feeling it at all. There was no direction. There was too much infodump. I had the big idea of splitting the narrative into present day with flashbacks to flesh out the character. It drained the story of any energy, robbed it of any sense of necessity, and felt a lot like chasing after myself in a big damn circle, getting nowhere.

I started over. Not right away, no. I let the ideas run free and waited for the story to come to me. I couldn’t force it, not this time. Trying to deliberately write Revolver was trying to hold onto a fistful of water. No matter how hard I tried, it just kept running away from me, leaking away. I waited and waited, until the story came and told me how to tell it.

Every story is a lesson. There’s always something new to learn, a new approach, a new mechanism. The imp inside Revolver wanted to change everything – narrative choices, point of view, characters, everything that surrounded the core concept of that small, initial kernel of an idea.

Sometimes, you just have to wait and listen hard. And rewrite.

Writing is Rewriting

New Story Coming Soon!

IMG_2420

All right, kids, that’s a wrap on the first draft of a new short story that will be out soon.

I cannot tell you much about this work yet, as it’s all very top secret, hush-hush, and on the QT. I can offer a few nuggets of information though:

  • The story is called REVOLVER
  • REVOLVER is a dark, dystopian sci-fi piece set in the near-future.
  • I wrote this story for inclusion in a forthcoming sci-fi anthology, which is expected to release in early 2015. I don’t think I can spill the beans on who all else is included, but rest assured it’s a great group of authors and I couldn’t be happier to be working with them on this project. This will be a top-notch effort from all of us involved, though, and not just on the story side of things. We’ve got a terrific cover artist on the hook, and some fine editorial strong-hands helping each of us shine brightly.

Keep an eye out for the real details soon. Once I can release more information, I will. This is a bit of a hard project for me to keep quiet about because I  really, really, really want to tell you everything about all of this. It’s very exciting, and I’m beyond thrilled with the way things have been shaping up, and with how well REVOLVER turned out.

Next step is editing, and that’s always a doozy. I’ll be working on the next draft in conjunction with moving ahead on editing EMERGENCE, so I’ll certainly be keeping busy and distracted, which should help keep me from revealing more than I should.

By the way, and without giving away too much more about this project, now might be a good time for you to sign up to my newsletter. I won’t spam you, but I will send you updates on new releases. When this anthology comes out, there may even be a few surprises in store for subscribers.

New Story Coming Soon!