Some Roads are Long, Some are Winding

And, if Paul McCartney has taught me nothing else, some are both. This is the second time I’ve mentioned Sir Paul in the last ten minutes. The previous was a jealousy laden Facebook message to a friend who has tickets to see him at the Carrier Dome here in Syracuse on Saturday.

So he was on my mind already, but when I got to thinking about what I was going to write to you today, he popped up again, because I’m reflecting on what a long and winding sort of thing writing can be.

I’ve posted frequently (ok, constantly) about my work on the third book in the Cerah of Quadar series, and had even announced at one point that I’d hoped to have the first draft finished soon. I may have even said by the end of this month.

That is not going to happen. There are a number of reasons, not the least of which is the chapter from hell, on which I’ve been stuck for approximately three hundred and seventy-five years. No matter how much I plead and swear and threaten, it will just not do what I want it to do. A winding part of the road has been reached.

Now, I’ve been at this for a while, and I know that sometimes these walls pop up out of nowhere, and you have to, if you’re going to be serious about this gig, learn to deal. To overcome. And fear not. I know that I will.

But I have something else I need to do first. This is where the road winds back around in the other direction.

Due to the nature of this new project, I’m not able to go into a lot of detail about it. There is way more I can’t say about it than there is that I can. BUT… I can tell you I’m excited about it, I’m going to have fun doing it, and it’s going to allow me to work some different muscles than I have recently.

This brings me to a somewhat more significant turn in the road. Genre-wise, my two published novels, as well as the current effort, have been in the fantasy genre. Dating back to my introduction to Middle Earth in high school, this has been a favorite of mine, and when the line that started my journey of writing about Cerah popped into my head back in 2009 I knew that would be what kind of book hers would be.

The way I’ve conceived the entire Quadar saga, it will require the book I’m working on and one more after that to tell the whole story. When it is done, I am probably going to be moving away from the fantasy genre for the foreseeable future.

Part of what I’ve learned preparing for this new project is that I enjoy telling other types of stories. Part of what I’ve learned writing fantasy for as long as I have is that there are a lot of people who enjoy it, and even more who really, really don’t.

So I’m thinking in terms of reaching a larger group of readers. I’m thinking in terms of seeing what I’m capable of. I’m thinking in terms of a road that could lead anywhere, with any number of winding turns. And I’m thinking I might just see where that road takes me.

 

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Promotional Considerations Provided By…

One of the hats you wear when you are an independently published author is that of a publicist. I find it an odd, ill-fitting hat that makes my head itch a bit, and when I wear it, I feel a little like this is how I look:

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But I understand it is necessary that I put it on, and it’s a whole lot better than when I have to wear the editor’s hat, which feels exactly like this:

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Neither hat suits me, but I am needful of both.

I’ve been wearing the shameless self-promotion hat quite a bit in the past two weeks. Beginning with a Kindle giveaway of A Dark Clock last week, I was able to generate a handful of new readers. How many you ask? Let’s just say the number falls between zero and 700 million. Closer to zero. But not zero. So there are new readers, and that’s a good thing.

The next move, promotionally speaking, was an Amazon “Countdown Sale.” This is a multi-day event during which the Kindle version of a book is offered for a number of days at one price, which increases incrementally until the sale ends. Technically I suppose it is really a “Countup Sale” but who ever heard of that?

This sale is in full swing as of this posting, and I can prove it using this miracle of screenshot technology. This is an actual picture of the actual Amazon page showing the .99 sale price for Many Hidden Rooms.

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AND just because I’m a real sweet guy, and because I’m currently wearing the hamburger publicist hat, I’ve made that image a link to the page, so you can rocket there and purchase it before the price soars to $1.99 sometime on the evening of September 13.

But there’s even more to the gig than just promoting your own stuff, because, if like me, you have friends who are publishing for the first time, it’s a good thing to get the word out about them as well. TO WIT:

 

Upstream is a book of poetry, written by my friend Eric. I am not promoting his book because he brought a sandwich to the library for me today, although he did, and I’m not NOT promoting it for that reason either.

 

Actually, I’m promoting it because it happens to be very good, and he has been very supportive of my work, so to not tell you about it would be in rather poor taste. And speaking of poor taste, wait till you read these poems. Just kidding. I have no idea what constitutes poor taste, as any photograph taken of me since 1963 will attest.

The book will set you back a paltry $7.99, exactly the cost of a single grape from Whole Foods. [citation needed]. As before the picture is a link. Go forth and buy. Or if you’re in a hurry, go third.

 

Next, we come to a book called The Mirror by a guy named Matt King, who is also my friend, although by all rights I should hate his guts. I should hate him because at age seventeen he is an excellent writer, and I suspect that by the time he is half my age, (which gives him about 200 years more to perfect his craft), you won’t have to turn to my rinky-dink blog to hear about him. You’ll be reading about him in other rinky-dink publications like the New York Times.

 

The Mirror contains several short stories and a handful of poetry. Matt will tell you himself the poetry is not his strong suit, but it’s better than he thinks it is, and the stories are, by and large, amazing. “The Mirror” was the first story I ever heard him read, and the memory of that experience is still very vivid in my mind. I knew I was hearing the work of a gifted author. His cover is also a link. Check him out on Kindle for $3.99, which you will soon realize is probably the best-spent money you laid out this week. Certainly better than what you paid for those Pacman scratch-off tickets. Unless you won a boatload of money, in which case in encourage you to buy all of the books promoted in this post.

 

You may think I’m done, but you’d be wrong because there is one more fellow you need to know about. Milt Franson is not seventeen, although he was once, a long time ago. Because he’s not seventeen, I don’t feel compelled to hate him for being so good at a tender age, I just feel compelled to hate him because he is so good, period. If you go to Amazon you can purchase three books by Milt, collectively known as The Wineland Sagas. This alternate history delves deeply into the facts and theories surrounding Vikings in North America, in a rich and entertaining manner. I’m showing the cover of the first volume, but be sure to find all three. They run just under $15 for the print version, and $4.99 for the Kindle.

 

So Let’s Review

I am not completely comfortable wearing the hamburger-shaped self-promotion hat, though it seems to feel a little better on my head when I’m plugging my friends’ work. In fact, I rather enjoy promoting their books, because it also allows me to take shots at them. And that’s just fun. Oh, what are you going to say, guys? “Please don’t publicize my book?” Ha! I doubt it, especially since I don’t think any of you even read the blog! So I could have said far worse things. I may yet!

And I hate the shark-shaped editor’s hat even more.

 

 

Back In The Saddle

00autryI’ve always loved that expression: “back in the saddle.” Not that I’ve been in a literal saddle in the past 50 years or so (since day camp in the 1960’s I think), but I’m always hopping into figurative saddles and racing off somewhere.

00GrailIn my last, brief post, I mentioned that I’d gotten caught up in a side-project that had pulled me away from writing for what turned out to be nearly three weeks. That’s as long as I’ve gone without working in as far back as I can remember, (which is yesterday.) I’m sure there are writers out there who are thinking “Ha! He calls himself a writer, and he didn’t write for the better part of a month? Clearly, his mother was a hamster and his father smelt of elderberries!” (Yes, another Python reference. I can’t help myself!) Alright, probably no one said that, writer or otherwise, but my point is that it’s pretty uncharacteristic of me to take that long of a break.

AnneFrankSchoolPhotoOf course I never really stop writing, because I have a good old-fashioned pen-and-ink paper journal that I scrawl in pretty much every day, but we’re talking about work here, not letters to Kitty. (Anne Frank reference… very deep.)

So, what was I talking about? Oh yes… work. The side project is finished, and the long avoided twenty-third chapter of A New Shadow had commenced. Just commenced. Just now. Literally. I went to Scrivener to see what chapter number I was up to and wrote the first paragraph so that I wouldn’t be lying when I said I’d started. Because you’d know.

The reason I waited so long to get started on this chapter was really selfish. It’s about one of my favorite characters, (full disclosure, they’re all my favorite -but I digress), and it was going to be a somewhat pivotal moment in his life, and I wanted to do it justice. My original idea was to have he and his childhood friend, with whom he’d recently reunited after eighteen years, get into a real jam together, and the wizard Yarren would have to save them, thereby earning the trust of the said childhood friend, who, like many of my other writer-friends’ fans, is not very big on wizards in general. I could have made it work, and I probably could have made it a fairly exciting episode, but it would have done very little for the development of any of the characters.

So instead I went in a very different direction, one that is much darker and will ultimately be far more dramatic and key to the series overall. It could end up being a quiet highlight of the entire book. We’ll just have to see.

bugsbunny-bodyI’m Sorry

On a related note, I suppose there is some room for an apology regarding the intentional vagueness of these posts. I like talking about work-in-progress, but I don’t like saying so much about it that I’ve taken away all motivation for reading the work when it’s finished. “I don’t have to buy his bloody book! I read the blog posts! The idiot told the whole story, bits at a time! What an ultra maroon!” (Bugs Bunny reference, and that completes your pop-culture trifecta for the day!) If it leaves you even slightly intrigued, then so much the better.

Because I have a confession. My evil plan is for you to purchase and read my books. Because I think they’re pretty good, and if you were to give them a read you might like them as well. So, as always, if you feel so inclined, click the purchase button at the top of the page and take a look at what I’m always going on about in this blog.

Reminder

Don’t forget A Dark Clock is available for Kindle absolutely free until Friday, Sept. 8. Don’t miss your chance to start your journey through the magical world of Quadar!

 

 

Labor Day Announcement!

ADC CH final03I’m pleased to announce a special Labor Day promotion which will give you a chance to download the Kindle version of A Dark Clock, the first volume of the Cerah of Quadar series, for free! Starting Monday the 4th and running through Friday the 8th, the electronic version of my first novel will be completely free on Amazon.com.

This is an excellent opportunity for you to discover the magical world of Quadar, meet Cerah, the Chosen one, and all the other fantastic characters and settings that fill the first volume of the saga.

Obviously, my motives are not completely altruistic. As a matter of fact, they aren’t even slightly altruistic. It’s my hope that the opportunity to check out the first volume for free will prompt you to purchase the subsequent volumes. It’s called cut-throat marketing, and you are all my victims.

New Shadow Update

Work on the third book in the series, A New Shadow, has been on hiatus for a few weeks. It was an instance of having come to a point in the story where I needed to work some things out in my head before getting them onto paper. During that brainstorming session, I got involved in another project which had ended up taking a little longer than I’d originally anticipated.

I have every expectation that a post in the near future will be informing you all that the first draft is finished.