Because No One Cares and I Have Changed

Hey, have you noticed I am not writing here much anymore. Like, not at all.

That’s because I am of the opinion that no one reads blogs anymore…and certainly not the blog of a writer that’s not selling tons of books.

However, times are changing. Not for blogs. I think they’re pretty much going the way of the dinosaur. But this website/blog is going to change pretty soon because I have changed over the last few years.

I look back to those posts from that younger hungry writer that had just sent The Bleeding Room to agents and publishers and while I can recognize him, he and I have agreed that I am a different writer now. 2015-2016 were years of changes and 2017 is going to be the year to realize those changes through a lens of writing.

Most of those changes, you’ll get to see here in a few different ways. Not here, in this post but here, on this site.

Some are coming soon. Some are already hinted at here and there if you know where to look.

Here’s to continued changes.

See you on the other side of the cocoon.

Limbo and Backup Plans

Not much to speak of us of late. A few quick blips, though…if for nothing more than just to keep the blog active.

First, the 15-minute novel experiment is forging on. The novel now rests at 5,097 words.

I’m currently waiting to hear back from an agent on a novel. Tom Petty was right…the waiting is the hardest part. I have already decided that if she passes, the book will be self-published right away. But in the meantime, here’s to hoping she won’t pass…

I landed a great ghostwriting job last week. It’s an MG book that is already being planned as a series. Its keeping my schedule packed but has been a tremendous amount of fun.

Lastly, I discovered this amazing ambient album on Bandcamp and have been listening to it a lot (when not listening to the new Deftones album or The Black Queen on repeat). It’s called Lost Here, by an artist called ProtoU. Check it out if you get the chance.

‘Til next time…

The 15-Minute Novel Experiment

I have yet to reach the point where I can live solely on the sales of my own writing. That’s why I work as a ghostwriter by day, a career that has, over the past few years, become much more lucrative and rewarding than I could have ever hoped.

Because much of my writing time is taken up by work/ghostwriting, free time to write my own stuff is sometimes hard to come by. On most days, I allow myself at least 20 minutes to work on my own writing. Here and there, usually on weekends or the occasional rare weeknight, I can manage to sneak in an hour and a half or so. Sure, I’d like more time to work on my own material but the family needs to eat, so work comes first.

Believe it or not, those 20 minute sessions are usually pretty productive. I’m writing with the knowledge that time is short and I need to get the words out ASAP. Some of my best writing of the last year or so has come from those sessions.

Lately, better ghostwriting jobs have allowed me to not drown myself to get by and is allowing a bit more time to work on my own writing. And before I get carried away and make the mistake of getting way behind in work while I figure out ways to work on my own stuff more and more, I came up with an idea

Rather than go overboard and try something irrational like allowing an hour or two a day on my own stuff, I’m only going to give myself an extra 15 minutes. I know that I won’t have the luxury of those 15 minutes every day, but I’m going to try to allow it. And within that 15 minutes, I’ll be working on the same book. So, essentially, I’m going to attempt writing a book in 15-minute increments.

The book has been outlined (it was a book that I wanted to start writing last year and never got the chance) and is basically ready to go. I’ll start today, setting a timer on my phone for 15 minutes.

Never one to guesstimate a word count before I start writing, I have no idea how long this book will be. Based on the plot, it shouldn’t be too awful long, as it takes place over the course of a single night.

So let’s give this a try. I’ll post regular updates here on the progress of the book. Any guesses as to how long this will take?

All the Roads

From time to time, you’ll hear a writer say  “now is the best time in history to be a writer.” While I won’t go quite that far with such a statement, I think it is pretty close. Because of self-publishing, something that still continues to gain a lot of steam and respect, there are more avenues open to aspiring writers than ever before and not just for the obvious reasons.

I currently find myself in a situation I have never been in over the course of my writing career (if it can be called that). I am extremely fortunate to find that I currently have a car in each of those avenues. How? Well…

As of two weeks ago, I have a full manuscript being considered by an agency. This has been a goal of mine since I started writing and even in a world where self publishing allows authors more control, I think it’s still a crucial aspect of the writing industry.

I am also currently writing a novel for a small press. And although that book likely won’t see the light of day until the end of 2016 or even early 2017, it’s a book I’ll be writing off and on this year, knowing that it already has a home.

I am also actively working on a large book that may or may not end up being a trilogy…the same trilogy I’ve been working on for the last two years or so. The current plan is to self-publish it.

Three projects, three different approaches. So maybe it is the greatest time in history to be a writer. Just don’t get me started on which of those avenues is the best way to go. So far, my small press earnings are about the same as my self-publishing earnings and when you put them all together, I’m still not making enough to quit the day job (which, being ghostwriting, is I guess yet another avenue a writer could take these days).

A lot of writers and industry insiders will also tell you that one avenue is by far the most advantageous. And while they may have personal data and facts to back that up, I still think it’s a writer’s best bet to keep your feet or tires or whatever in every road you can.

 

 

Trivia and $1 books

Yeah, yeah, it’s been far too long since I posted something. That’s mainly because I’m not pretty much setting up camp in the “I’d rather be writing than blogging” camp. That’s not to say it hasn’t been an eventful few weeks.

I attended my first writers conference two weeks ago (there may be a blog post about that coming soon, as it was very eye-opening) and, as some of you may have noticed, have taken a few titles down from Amazon for…well, for plans I have not yet completely ironed out.

Elsewhere, though, there are a few other little blips on the writing radar.

For instance, Gef over at Wag the Fox allowed me to spill some beans about Serpentine in a very IMDB-like post.

Also, February is apparently Barry Napier Dollar month.

Elk Lake Publishing is offering Break Every Chain for $1.

Similarly, Severed Press has placed Serpentine on sale for $1.

Throw in Bound, which I placed on sale for $1 earlier in the month, and that’s three books for less than a cup of coffee.

 

Serpentine is now available

Serpentine, the lake monster novel I have been hinting about on Twitter and Facebook for the better part of a year or so, is finally available. You can grab your Kindle version right now or wait a few weeks for the paperback.

A huge thanks to Severed Press for arranging for this amazing art work and another great, obstacle free publishing experience.

Clarkton Lake is a picturesque vacation spot located in rural Virginia, great for fishing, skiing, and wasting summer days away.

But this summer, something is different. When butchered bodies are discovered in the water and along the muddy banks of Clarkton Lake, what starts out as a typical summer on the lake quickly turns into a nightmare.

This summer, something new lives in the lake…something that was born in the darkest depths of the ocean and accidentally brought to these typically peaceful waters.

It’s getting bigger, it’s getting smarter…and it’s always hungry.

serp3

A chat with the developer of Buried

Okay folks…Buried goes live tomorrow. Links will be provided here very soon. In the meantime, since I managed to nail down an interview with Gimu, the artist that crafted the music for the game, I thought it would be an equally good idea to pick the brain of Brice Morrison, the man that originally contacted me about writing a script for his game.

He’s been a pleasure to work with and I certainly hope there’s more collaboration on the horizon…

Hey, Brice. Thanks for stopping by. Why don’t you tell us a little bit about your background with designing and creating games?

Sure. I’ve been making games since I was in middle school and taught myself how to program. I went to University of Virginia and founded their Student Game Development Group, and then went to EA out in the SF Bay Area where I worked in the Sims Division on Wii and PC games. That was around the time Facebook games were exploding, so I went over to Zynga where I worked on ChefVille, which was the world’s largest cooking/restaurant game. Last year I left to start up my own company, which led to us working on this project together!
One of the things you and I have sort of discussed off and on is the proper way to develop a narrative within a gameplay environment. Can you share your thoughts how telling a compelling story in a game environment is different than writing a novel?

The single biggest difference between games and every other medium is that games are interactive: the experience is different depending on who is playing. So in a traditional story you would read about someone who decided to pull the trigger, but in a game you get to decide for yourself, based on everything that’s happened, whether you want to pull the trigger or not.

The approach you and I have taken is to start with a compelling traditional story as a baseline, but then insert ourselves into the scenes and ask: what would I do? Would I handle this differently? If I was actually there, would I care about that, or would I be more interested in doing something else? If those questions are being answered adequately, then I think we can end up with compelling choices.

Why did you decide to go with a text-based approach for Buried? Is there an existing market for these sorts of games or is it relatively new territory?

Interactive fiction has been around for a long time, since the 80’s. However it’s always been a relatively small niche. But with mobile devices I saw an opportunity to bring those great kinds of stories to a wider audience.

What sorts of games do you like to play in your own spare time?

I’m a big fan of the TellTale games, and the influence in Buried is obvious. I also play a lot of mobile games, most recently Smashy Road and Rovio’s Retry.

How about books? Any favorites?

The original Dracula will always be one of my favorites. It’s amazing to read about the moon peeking through the clouds, the dark forest looming over a lonely dirt road, Dracula’s high bridged nose and unusual annunciation of his words and think “Wow, this is all really cliche.” But then you realize, no, it’s actually the original! Everyone else is the cliche.

Once Buried is released, what does the game-making future look like for you?

We’d like to make more games! Depending on how well Buried does, we might make another. But we have other games planned as well. We showed off our puzzle game Cloud Grove this year at PAX Prime in Seattle, so that will be coming out sometime in 2016.