On this April Fools’ Day, I will be taking a break from reading social media, but I guess that doesn’t mean I can’t post my own stuff. (No April Fools’ jokes here.)
I feel like I make a lot of plans for the future on this blog (when I actually post), and they don’t always come to pass, so now I’m focusing on the present. Time to report on what I have done and what I’m doing and not what I plan to do one day.
I’m finishing up the first draft of my sex magic romance novel. I’ve also been rewriting the first 40,000 words. My short 60,000 word romance novel looks like it is going to be closer to 80,000 words. I’m not sure how long I’ve been working on this one, but it’s a lot longer than I was planning.
I’m rewriting The Forgiving to release it as a paperback. I have no idea how long this will take, but I’m not going to rush it. I’m not going for any major changes, but there are a few parts I’m not satisfied with and I want improved before the book is in print.
I’m in the process of learning how to make comics. This includes doing the Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain Workbook and going through Drawing Words and Writing Pictures. I’ve also written a four page comic for a contest. A novice artist is drawing the art.
I’m reading drastically more books. Most of these are romance novels and Image comic books. Some romance recommendations: Rattlesnake, The Lightning-Struck Heart, and Erica’s Choice. Some comic recommendations: Descender, Vol. 1: Tin Stars and Bitch Planet, Vol. 1: Extraordinary Machine.
I’m in the middle of American Gods.
That’s me right now. I hope I have more to update you on soon.
Sentences aren’t improved by stuffing more ideas into them. Periods are your friends. Synthesis happens between sentences.
When editing, I make every sentence into its own paragraph. I free the ideas from their mooring. This makes it easier to organize my thoughts and root out redundancy. After I look at each sentence individually and make sure everything is necessary and means what I intend, I pull the sentences back together into paragraphs and work on flow and rhythm.
Paragraphs don’t have the power to clarify muddled thoughts. In narrative fiction, topic sentences are usually superfluous and should be removed. Transition sentences condescend and rob the reader of subtext. Sentences can illuminate each other when you don’t over explain how they relate.
A good example is that you don’t always have to point out contradictions.
As an exercise, look through your writing for the word “but” and check if you can remove it by placing a period and making two sentences. Sometimes it won’t work. Other times it will make the two contrasting ideas stronger.
I was going to learn to code, but I guess I’ll try mastering the English language first.
I have this crazy idea. I’ll become my own copy editor. It will take time and daily study. I’ll have to master a craft that is not one of my natural gifts. Not by a long shot. It will be a struggle. Hopefully it will pay off.
The worst that could happen is I become better at grammar, and I still have to hire an editor anyway.
I just can’t pay to have three novels edited in one year. Especially if there might not be a return on my investment. I can either get a job just so I can pay a copy editor potentially thousands of dollars, or I can use that time to master proofreading myself.
These are the decisions you have to make when you are your own publisher and your publisher is flat broke.
Note: It is pretty much universal self-publishing advice to at the very least hire a copy editor, so use this post with caution.
Time to write a blog! I’m ignoring all those unfinished, overly complex novels hanging out on my computer to write a simple post for the masses.
So how do I make this worth our time?
Here is some helpful, if maybe a bit self-apparent, information: Self-publishing is hard. If you want to sell more than four books a month, you need an audience. To do that writers must forge a fellowship with other writers and with readers. We all long for community.
Doing this alone is crazy making.
I’m not new at this. I’ve already written a novel, hired an editor, made a cover, got a review on a horror website, and self-published on Smashwords and Amazon. While people liked the book, it never really got any traction. In some ways, especially economically, the book was a failure.
Failure is part of the learning process.
My next chance is coming up fast. I will be finishing another book this year, House of Cabal Episode One, a speculative fiction thriller. Three other novels are in the pipeline. I will be self-publishing again on Smashwords and Amazon.
I want to make the most of this second chance. To do that, I’m going to need your help. Thanks for reading, now get back to writing. We’ll get through this together.
My next release, an erotic short with a brain, “Vampire Fiction,” is on its final draft of editing. (I didn’t exactly hit my Halloween deadline.) Writing can often feel like treading water, but I’m finally growing as a writer, and this short proved it to me.
It became something more than erotica in the end. It’s sexy and edgy and a bit dangerous, but it also retains vulnerability.
Vulnerability is a quality I will continue to foster in my writing. I want to put it all on the line, for my characters and for me.
My other focus, House of Cabal: Episode One, is currently in the rewrite stages.
House of Cabal, the multi-part epic, has been a labor of love for me for the past thirteen years. That’s right, thirteen years. Each time I think I have it cracked, I have to rethink things. My current plan is dividing it into episodes.
Coincidentally I also started reading Write. Puplish. Repeat. by Johnny B. Truant and Sean Platt, which advocates episodic releases. I’ll blog more about this once I finish reading their book, but the idea seems to be releasing a lot of books and using each book to sell the others.
While that may make sense from a business perspective, I’m choosing to cut up my novel for purely creative reasons. I divided the first House of Cabal novel into four smaller sections, a little over a hundred pages a piece, so I could strengthen the narrative structure of each section. The novel was feeling unfocused and limp. Focusing on smaller narrative arcs seems to be fixing these issues.
I’m rereading Daring Greatly by Brené Brown to help strengthen the themes of the first episode. I’m also using some of the lessons I’ve learned from writing “Vampire Fiction” to help with narrative flow. I’m using this new discoveries to save House of Cabal from the fire.
I know rewriting old work is not always a good idea. Move on and just start something new. Your old work is just dragging you down. But old work can also be the scraps to create art. The limitations of unevolved stories can be inspiring.
I have many other projects on the back burner, but these are the two projects I’m focused on as we move into the New Year.
Happy holidays to all my readers, and happy writing.
It looks like my next release will be an erotic short entitled “Vampire Fiction.”
It’s part sci/fi world building, part queer erotica, part reaction to too much fiction being about nothing. It feels like a step in my evolution as a writer and that’s rejuvenating. Description is now my friend! I’m hoping to reach the editing/fine tuning stage by Friday, but we’ll see. I’ll need beta readers, so anyone out there that likes queer(m/m and m/f) erotica or science fiction should hit me up.
I would love to have it up on Amazon and Smashwords by early October before Halloween.
Today I even had a chance to make a cover. And I actually like it!
I still don’t really know how to use Photoshop, but I’m learning through trial and error.I should watch some Youtube videos or something.
Tell me what you think.
Okay, now here is the overdue rewrite of the blurb:
Portland, Oregon, has many famously haunted locations, and steadfast-skeptics Howard, Isabel, and Grip want to capitalize on people’s superstitions.
A mansion with a horrific history can sell at prices almost too good to be true.
Life isn’t a horror novel, and a house’s dark past is not its present. A house that was once a brothel, then an insane asylum, and then a cult church is still just a house.
The three lovers don’t realize a flaw in their logic: the present can be even worse than the past, and reality can be more horrific than any ghost story.
I like this a bit better. Any feedback would be a big help.