Archive for September, 2012


Cover Girl…Guy…Person

I finally got around to uploading a cover to my story, DARK ON THE ROCK, on JukePop Serials. Took a while to get it just right, but I think it looks quite excellent! Maybe I should look into become a graphic designer on the side.

Whaddaya think?

 

The premise of DARK ON THE ROCK is: They were designed to assassinate the A-Squad, a team of superheroes who took them in and gave them a new home. New country. New mission. Same four super soldiers. Will the B-Squad save our world or quietly bring about its destruction?

Check it out, comment and vote here. I’ll be updating every Friday, so make sure you check back and tell your friends and family if you like what you see!

Take care out there.

 

Writers not only have to be writers, but business people as well if we’re serious about making  a career out of our passion. We spend time learning about the publishing industry, how to market ourselves, where to find the best critique group for our level of skill, finding agents and more. All of this can be very exciting and fresh, but it can also make us forget why we set out to become a published author in the first place.

I’ll be honest, I’ve been slacking in my writing. I’ve still been working on my writing career, I just haven’t been working on the very thing that will support that career: my writing. I’ve been reading articles, trying to find software to create my own cover for my JukePop Serials story (any suggestions would be welcome) and writing to pay the bills.

Last night I had a small mental breakdown. I was reading an article about how poor publishing is worse than not being published at all. I realize that we need to know what we may be getting in to it before we get in to it and I appreciate the knowledge. But one thing I didn’t appreciate was the way it made me feel, like attempting to become a published author is one of the most risky and foolish decisions a person could choose to do with their life. In the time it takes to write a novel, find an agent, find a publisher, get a book deal and finally see your book on shelves is roughly the same amount of time it takes to finish medical school or earn a PhD. I realize that becoming a medical doctor takes time and money where becoming a published author only takes time and luck. But sometimes it seems as though it’s smarter and less painful to simply follow a different passion, a more sensible passion.

So why do writers do it? Why do we put ourselves through the rejection, pain, setbacks and pitfalls of the journey to authorhood?  Why do we keep faith in our hearts that one day we’ll join the ranks of other successful authors even though we know what’s waiting for us out there? Why?

I asked myself all of these questions last night, wondering if maybe I should focus on another career goal and put writing on the back burner for a few years. At 27 I feel as if I should stop dreaming and wake up and join the real world. But then I remembered how blessed I am. I remembered when I first discovered that I loved to write. I remembered how there is nothing more in this world I’d rather do then tell stories, explore, examine and imagine.

I remembered the magic of writing.    

I don’t want to look at my life ten years from now and wish that I’d kept pursing my first passion. Something could happen tomorrow, next week, next month or next year. But I won’t be there to experience that something if I don’t keep going and keep believing that whatever or Whoever brought me this far isn’t done with me yet, that my journey could be nothing like the horror stories I’ve read. Times are different, my path is different and my circumstances may not be the same.

Almost anyone can be a doctor, graphic designer, business owner or any other practical job. And I’m not demeaning those occupations whatsoever. But not everyone can be a writer, world weaver, yarn spinner, storyteller. Or journey is a different one, with different obstacles and frustrations. And there’s also a different joy and satisfaction associated with what we do. I believe that writing is  the closest I’ll come to finding out what it’s like to bring life into this world.

So not only will I stay in the game, I’ll do my damndest to change the game and win the game. And I hope to see you at the finish line.

Take care out there.

Tell Me Where the Road Turns

 

I’ve been doing a lot of reading on self-publishing and traditional publishing, wondering which would be a better fit for me, my personal tastes and my novel. There are aspects of both that I enjoy: the freedom and independence of traditional publishing, the level of exposure with traditional publishing, the level of control with self-publishing, the professional team you get with traditional publishing…and of course the financial benefits of self-publishing.

With traditional publishing I may have to wait months or years for my novel to come out, I’ll probably have to do all of my marketing on my own, I could be asked to change my title and I may not have much control over what my cover looks like. All of that being said, my material will be looked over by a professional editor, I’ll have more opportunities for reaching a wider audience and I’ll have an agent who knows where and to whom to market my work.

Self-publishing is a lot of work and can take a lot of money for a professional cover, editor and travel expenses if I want to do a book tour or something. That being said, it can be that much more satisfying if I become a success knowing that I did a majority of it on my own. I get to decide how much my book sells for, where my book is sold, what the cover looks like and when the book comes out. I know it’s possible to find an agent and publisher through self-publishing, but I feel like there’re just so many authors out there with magnificent and not-so-magnificent material. How does one stand out? How much time should one devote to marketing, networking, writing and working to keep food on the table?

I’ll be honest with you, there’s a part of me that terrified, overwrought and queasy at the thought of failing as an author. While I have confidence in myself and my writing, I’ll admit that I’m terrible at garnering attention. I’m the quiet, introspective type, not the Don Draper of the professional author world. I know I’ll have to become more extroverted and assertive as a self-published author or a traditionally published author. I know a lot of authors feel like this, and the way I see it is that if we’re brave enough to show readers, many of them faceless strangers, a part of ourselves with our work, then surely pursing an agent or self-publishing should be simple.

I’m sure some of us have heard horror stories about traditionally published authors who were forced to gut their books in order to make them “publishable” only to watch them wither and waste on the bookshelves. And we also know that if you choose to self-publish you have to set yourself on fire and put on a strobe light show with full surround sound simply to get readers to look your way , and even then they may not read your work.

So which path is the right path? Which is less painful? Which is more rewarding in this day and age?

I think they both are.

Rather than looking at it as an “either/or” issue, we should explore both avenues and realize their merit. If I do get an agent before I’m financially ready to be published, then I absolutely must express my concerns with them to make sure that we both want the same thing and so that I can make sure that my career is on the right path. I know that I’ll probably do some self-publishing, just to try it for myself somewhere down the line, hopefully after I’ve built up a bit of a following.

There’s no way of knowing where the road turns, and sometimes there’s no map to look at to plot a course, so all we can do is keep going…even if we’re all by ourselves.

Take care out there.

What are some of your fears and anxieties as a writer?

“Dark on the Rock” is alive and kicking on JukePop Serials! If you’re a fan of superheroes, sci-fi, super soldiers and young adult stories, I’ve got your fix!  You can check out the first part of Episode/Chapter/Chapisode One here. If you like it, please vote at the bottom of the page! The more votes I get the more chances I have of appearing in the monthly Top 30 Serials, basically the equivalent of a bestseller list. You can also check out the 111 other serials they have through their home page to see if anything else tickles your literary fancy. Feel free to comment and leave your ideas for future installments. I just might include them! And give you credit, of course.

I plan on updating twice a month with 2,500-3,000 word installments. The story will be similar to a TV show with recaps, previews and seasons. It really does feel like having the pilot of a TV show picked up. I’m overjoyed, but there’s also that feeling of, “Oh, crap, now I actually have to go through with the thing!” But I really am looking forward to this journey, and I hope it’s one you’ll take with me.

Thank you in advance, guys.

Take care out there.

P.S. Look for a regular blog post tomorrow. I apologize for not posting one earlier this week, but I was tied up with work. If anyone would like to support me financially for a few months/years/rest of my life, I shan’t gainsay you.      

In Related News…

So maybe balance isn’t so good after all. I guess I’m doing it right! Check out this blog post.

All of this talk of balance reminds me of Janelle Monae’s “Tightrope”. Give it a listen and then get to writing.

Take care out there.

Devil’s Webground

 

I haven’t been feeding my child of creativity lately because my child of responsibility has been crying loudly, endlessly. As I was discussing with Diem Burden on Twitter, I hate it how life gets in the way of writing. And that’s especially true when you feel that writing is your life. Writers are also friends, fathers, employees, bosses, businesspeople, advertising agents and tax payers. While we would like nothing more than to put up a force field to block all of that out and simply write, we simply can’t.

I hate that I have to neglect my work-in-progress for my job, but I also hate having a zero balance in my bank account. And that’s what it’s all about really, balance. Sometimes that balance is a daily thing, sometimes weekly and sometimes monthly. While I would really like to work on something creative every day, I realize that sometimes I have to put aside the writing that makes me happy for the writing that makes me money. My novel isn’t making me any money yet, but my freelance writing is, and that’s something that I have to live with whether I like it or not. Sure I could say the hell with making money, but I like having a place to stay, food to eat and new books to read. In order to have all of that, I have to be bringing in money. While I have faith that I will make a luxurious living as a published author, I realize the hard truth that it may take a while for that to happen. In the meantime, I still have bills to pay.

Something else that I feel I’ve been investing too much time in, unnecessarily this time, is the Internet. I know that this is something that all writers deal with. These days it’s important to have an online presence in order to build up your platform and audience. But spending time online is a piece of the puzzle we have to fit in with the other pieces juuust right. Twitter, Facebook, blogging and all of the other social media gems are no doubt valuable, but they have to be done in moderation. After all, you won’t have anything to promote on all of those platforms if you don’t set aside the time to write. Just as you won’t have anywhere to sit down and write if you get evicted from your apartment for not paying the rent…ok, so you can go to a coffeeshop to write, but you won’t have money to buy coffee!

I guess what it all comes down to is prioritizing. Even if I don’t work on my novel every day, I can still write down ideas and at least outline a scene or chapter. Even if I don’t have something insightful to say on Twitter every hour, there are plenty of people who do and I can share their information, information that could inspire a blog post.

Writers are so busy moving, thinking, churning and reading that we forget to be…still…and…just…be. Just because you aren’t moving doesn’t mean that you aren’t going anywhere. Simply because you can’t feel the Earth move doesn’t mean that we all aren’t hurling across space. There’s no shame in having priorities, but there is shame in having skewed priorities and warped perceptions.

Take care out there.

“As The Smoke Clears”

As promised, flash fiction! What do you think? Too much going on?

 

The scream wrinkles and warps the air.

Bluejay clamps his teeth down over the cry. The bloody tear in his glove gapes open as he slowly relaxes his numbed grip. His arm hangs loose and his vision pixilates with pain.

Lahavas eyes him. “I could’ve reset your shoulder for you.”

“Y-y-y…” Bluejay presses his lips. “You don’t know how and we don’t have time.” He stands in a hunch, taking in sips of air. “Where are they?”

The trussed up man splayed out between them lazily rolls his half-closed eyes left…right. “Who?”

Lahavas pops him in the mouth with her boot. “I lost my patience somewhere in this three-hour super slug-fest, Ocelot. Where are the pages you downloaded?”

Ocelot studies the sunset suffused through the stack of thinning black smoke, dragging his heel through the dirt and wriggling his shoulders.

“He’s not gonna tell us.” Lahavas steps away, fists on hips. “Where’s MM?”

Her partner’s expression collapses from suppressed pain to thinly veiled sorrow. He studies the rubble before turning to the blown-out building on their right.

Lahavas flicks her gaze right. Eyes widen. “No.” Barely perceptible head shake. “I thought she–” Back to Bluejay. “She was on-mind with us the whole time. I to–”

“She couldn’t link us up and keep up the broadcasted illusion back in the city. She made a choice.” He blinks smoke from his eyes, clearing tears.

“When were you gonna tell me?”

Chin jerk at Ocelot.

Ocelot chuckles. “That’s the third teammate you’ve lost this year.” Lips split over pearly teeth. “Did you buy them in bulk?” His laugh is wild, savage.

Bluejay’s sudden punch abbreviates the moment of mirth. “Tell us. Where. The pages. Are.”

The psychotic swallows a glob of his own blood. “Three pages for three dead super-hood rats. Fair enough. I printed two pages out.” A flash of bloody teeth. “The first one is under Compendium’s body in her grave. The second I mailed to Ten’s father, who’s still waiting for his son to come home. The third is…”

Weary heroes edge glances at the demolished building.

“The third I tattooed…on my ass.”

Lahavas wrinkles her nose. Bluejay curls his lip.

Ocelot starts to laugh again…

…then lulls unconscious when Bluejay belts him in the temple using his good arm. He whirls around, cape swaying. “Drag him back to the Marvel. I’m going to recover MM’s body.”

“Blue, you can’t even lift the debris from…”

“Suit amps up my strength. Want me to use that strength on MM, or on punching his head to a gory smear?” He stomps off over debris. “Make me stay with him and I’ll kill ‘im, then you’ll have to kill me.”

Lahavas drops her hand, looking at Ocelot’s unconscious form, eyeing his head and imaging what it would look like as a…“gory smear.”

She snatches him up by his tattered hood and drags him over twisted, blasted and burnt debris back to the jet.

 

I think now is a good time to update you on what’s going on with my writing…that and I don’t have an insightful idea for a blog. Hopefully I’ll get a few ideas in the coming days.

I just found out today that two of my flash fiction submissions were accepted by Super Flash Fiction. While I had submitted three, only two were accepted due to the fact that one was hard to follow. Their decision was perfectly understandable and one that was shared by my writers group. I wanted to show the direct aftermath of a superhero slug fest since that’s something I feel we rarely get to see in comic book. They always cut to a few days or a few hours after and gloss over the smoking rubble, sustained injuries and the immediate psychological effects the battle may have had on the characters. I think I’ll post it up here so you guys can read over it. Feel free to comment!

I’m supremely excited about “Dark on the Rock” being accepted to JukePop Serials. I’ve always loved the serial format of a TV show, and it’s one that I’ve blended into my writing style, so I’m eager to see how this new project turns out. With this and my superhero flash fiction, I may be getting calls or e-mails from Marvel, DC, BOOM! or another comic book company…or maybe even Joss Whedon himself to co-write The Avengers sequel!

I’m almost done with my query letter and I’ve got a list of agents to ship it off to. This is something that I’ve been dragging my feet on for a while. I’ve been doing a lot of reading about the publishing business and I’m not sure if I still want to pursue traditional publishing. On the other hand, I’m not sure if I have a strong enough platform and enough insider knowledge to make a go at self-publishing. There’s just a deluge of self-published work out there, and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to really stand out from the good authors and the not-so-good authors. But I think that if I express these concerns with an agent I’ll be fine. At the very least I can be content with the knowledge that  someone, or several someones, feel that I’m qualified enough to represent. Not that I need anyone’s approval, but still, publishing is a business and a business that requires a certain skill.

Still working on wrapping up my second novel. I’ve got a bit of the next to last chapter to finish up and a rough idea of how I want the final chapter/episode to be. Unbelievable to think that I’ve written one novel let alone that I’m about to finish another…and have mostly written the third seeing as I originally started with that one a few years ago. Ah, life.

So, as you can see, I’ve got a lot going on. I’ve come a long way, and know that I’m not ready to lay down in contentment yet, I don’t think I ever will be. I believe there’s always another step to take, another mile to go. It’s strange to think that I’m actually becoming a published writer with a query letter and almost two complete novels under my belt. We spend our lives dreaming, and when those dreams start to become reality it’s like they weren’t really dreams at all, just a skill we didn’t know we possessed. Can’t wait to see what else is in store for me…and for you, too.

Take care out there.