Tagged: writing process

EBook Cover Poll

It’s poll time folks!

I posted a poll on Twitter for which cover I should go with for the eBook of my book “PETR – A STAR FOLK SAGA”. Head over and vote!

 

Self-Publishing

I have decided to self-publish my book “PETR: A STAR FOLK SAGA” through Amazon’s Kindle Direct Publishing service.

My book didn’t find traction with agents or publishers after four months of querying. Dozens of rejection emails later I decided the traditional publishing route wasn’t fot me. I have nothing against the traditional publishing route – it’s clearly worked for many people, and it may work for me in the future with another title.

So I’ve dived in working on perfecting the ms for kindle publishing. It’s been frustrating at times. I think I’m done and after another review I find a host of tiny mistakes and I have to go back and correct them before I upload the ms to KDP again.

I’ve seen this screen about a dozen times now…
Draft cover for the paperback. The paperback book will be 5” x 8” and will go for $8.99

I don’t have a release date yet, but I’ll be posting regular updates and freebies throughout the next month, and a release date will follow soon.

I am a Glow Worm

It’s been over a month since I had my last call-in with my editor. Since then I’ve queryed over forty agents – and the querying continues.

Of those forty, five have provided a negative response.

According to all the blogs and articles by those in the industry, including agents themselves, it’s an average of 6-8 weeks until they respond, IF they respond.

Each agent receives hundreds, if not thousands, of queries each day.

So mine is one in a roiling sea of manuscripts.

But, to quote Winston Churchill, “We are all worms, but I do believe that I am a glow-worm.”

And so I will query on, and I shall never surrender.

Post-Apocalypse Writing Prompt

Written May 2016.
It’s 50 years in the future, and the world is at war. Luckily, when the nuclear bombs dropped, you had a bomb shelter under your house to hide out in. When your monitors tell you it’s safe to go outside a year later, what do you find? Who is still alive? Have the plants and animals been affected by the radiation? What will you do now that the world has totally changed?

(500 words or fewer) [I went over the 500 word limit.]

*     *     *     *     *

 

I wake to the shrill chime of the monitor inset within the bunker’s triple thick metal door. Springing from the stiff mattress atop the thin metal bed frame, I see the monitor is green –glorious, spirit-lifting green! After a year of silent red, the green lights are a joyous sight. Hetzer, my Norwegian Elkhound, hops up from his spot next to my bed, and he barks at the door monitor’s incessant ringing.

Part of me doesn’t believe it. Something deep down tells me this isn’t real. My heart leaps as I close the distance and read the monitor’s glowing face.

The air up above is clean.

The radiation is gone.

It’s safe to come out.

Silencing the monitor’s chime I turn and look at Hetzer with a smile.

“Ready?” I ask.

Hetzer’s happy bark and wagging tail is all the confirmation I need.

I trot back over to the metal framed bed and pick up the cargo pants I tossed there the night before, and pull on a dirty t-shirt that used to be white. Plopping down on the stiff mattress I pull my gray hiking boots out from under the bed. The socks I wore two days ago – or was it a week ago? – are stuffed inside the boots, and I pull them on before stuffing my feet into the boots. With boots tied I make my way back across the drab, gray bunker and to the door.

Always ready, I grab the semi-automatic rifle hanging just next to the door. The last days before the bombs dropped were dark, and Hetzer and I only survived because of my diligence and a few well-placed shots with my rifle. Many others were not so fortunate. Too many. I pick up two magazines full of ammunition off the floor and slide them into the right cargo pocket of my pants.

Then, I place my hand on the door’s latch. I could have had a digital system installed, but if that had failed I would have been stuck in thisbunker with no way to escape. The giant wheel above the door monitor squeals and screeches from a year of disuse as I turn it. Behind me, Hetzer shuffles back and forth, anxious to leave the tight confines of the bunker.

One last, loud screech, and the door pops open.

I hold my breath, hoping that the bunker’s sensors are telling the truth, but warring with the dread that the sensors failed and in the next few seconds I would be dead.

Suddenly, a cool breeze wafted into the bunker, bringing with it fresh air.

The smell of the fresh was delicious, the sensation on my nostrils and in mouth like lemon gelato on a hot summer day.

I take the first step out the door and up the stairs. Hetzer, though so excited he can barely keep it contained in his furry body, waits for me, his master, his Alpha, to go first, and then trails close at my heels. As I ascend the steps I see above us the sky is black and clear. Billions of stars twinkle in the night sky, and the full moon is at its apex.

I reach the zenith of the stairs, my heart fluttering with excitement.

I am greeted by destruction.

The small neighborhood I lived in is gone. The only proof there ever was a neighborhood here are the foundations of homes and roads being slowly overtaken by nature. My house is gone, too. Only the bunker, what used to be the basement, is all the remains of the place I called home for so many years.

The neighborhood I lived in sat atop a hill overlooking most of the city, and now I stare at what remains. What was once the epitome of suburbia is now an empty, grass covered field. Here and there the crumbling skeletons of a few buildings remains. Far in the distance at the city’s heart stand the rotted, bombed out corpses of skyscrapers.

The silence overwhelms and presses in on me. Though Hetzer stands loyal by my side I feel the crushing weight of loneliness.

Another emotion wells up within me: hope.

Other people had to make it to other bunkers, I assume as the logical portion of my mind takes over. There have to be others out there.

With that shred of optimism beginning to take root and grow within me I step forth into this new land, Hetzer always beside me.

Dinner Steak

Dinner steak – the third most important steak of the day.

Back when Team Fortress 2 came out, Valve made comics to go with them, and the hero was a mountain of a man Australian who crashes through the glass ceiling of his own home and is served breakfast steak – THE MOST IMPORTANT STEAK OF THE DAY! – by his butler.

Ever since I have quipped the importance of breakfast, lunch, and dinner steaks, in that order.

And so tonight is dinner steak. USDA Prime ribeye. Yes it’s cooked to perfection. Yes, I use Redmond Real Salt. And yes, I cover it in Kerrygold butter.

Why?

First, because I follow a strict nose-to-tail Carnivore Diet 95% of the time.

Second, to get those creative writing juices flowing!

Onward!

When Ideas Strike

Today, Saturday, I had to work my full-time job. Such is the nature of the beast.

And while I was working, ideas for the latest book began to flow. Scenes, dialogue, effects of those scenes and dialogue.

As I worked I thought, “I’ll remember that.”

Morgan Freeman narrating my life: “He did not remember that.”

That’s over exaggerating. I remember some of the thoughts I had as I toiled away today. But not all of it. The vague memories of the ideas I had pale in comparison to when they leapt into my head. They were mighty bucks that strode into the clearing of my mind, only to be scared by the hunter who coveted them, and they dashed away.

So now I have a process to capture these ideas. A little notebook where I’ll jot scenes, feelings, colors, smells, dialogue, and background once the idea strikes. These great, fleeting stags, difficult to catch, will be mine for the taking.

What do you use to capture the ideas that flit through you mind?

The Hero’s Journey

We’ve all heard about the archetypal hero’s journey and the steps involved:

  • Ordinary world
  • Call to adventure
  • Refusal of the call
  • Meeting with the mentor
  • Crossing the first threshold
  • Tests, allies, and enemies
  • Approach the inmost cave
  • The ordeal
  • Reward
  • The road back
  • The resurrection
  • Return with the elixir

There are many iterations of this, but this is the one I’m most familiar with.

In August of this year (2019) I attended Paleo f(x), and had to opportunity to hear Aubrey Marcus, CEO of Onnit, talk about the hero’s journey as it applies to us and the mind.

And my mind was opened.

I don’t know why, but the hero’s journey had always been a physical thing to me. Luke Skywalker leaving Tattoine to fight the Empire. Beowulf fighting Grendal.

But Aubrey talked about the hero’s journey as it applies to the mind and personal self-improvement.

The ideas for stories blossomed in my head.

Of course, when given the chance to shake hands with Aubrey I blubbered like and idiot. “I like your gym and your supplements. . .”

IDIOT!

But the seed of an idea Aubrey offered is still planted in my mind, and it’s being applied to the two books I’m working on now. The second book I’m writing takes the largest influence from the Hero’s Journey for mental, emotional, and spiritual aspects of the characters. While the physical realm is important in stories, the mental or spiritual journeys have added a whole new dimension to my works.

How have you encountered the hero’s journey mentally, physically, spiritually, or emotionally in your life?