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.
Today is the big day. The Forgiving is available on Amazon for free for the first time.
Here is the link: The Forgiving
A bit more about The Forgiving:
This is my debut novel. It’s an unconventional horror story about three lovers trying to make a life together. They are skeptics, living in Portland, and as a way to save cash, they seek out a real estate agency that specializes in poltergeist activity.
Thanks for all the help and happy reading!
Update as of noon:
Things are going well so far. #9!
Update as of 5 PM:
We are in the top 6 in Ghosts & Haunted Houses!
The Haunting of Hill House by Shirley Jackson is one of the most influential ghost stories of all time, and it probably had the most influence on The Forgiving. If you ever want to write a modern ghost story, this book is required reading.
The Haunting of Hill House has inspired more than one movie, the 1963 version being the most faithful and effective, though I recommend sticking with the creeping psychological terror of the novel.
The horror that had the most influence on my impressionable young mind when I was growing up was Clive Barker. I started with his children’s book The Thief of Always and then the very adult Weaveword and then read the first volume of Books of Blood. His dark fantasy work influenced my House of Cabal series, but his Books of Blood were a main touchstone for The Forgiving.
Books of Blood works its way through extreme gore toward more existential horror, all the while exhibiting endless creativity and an authoritative narrative voice. It’s the best horror collection I have yet found.
His writing was also one of the first I had read with gay characters and queer sexual themes.
The film that influenced The Forgiving the most would be Rosemary’s Baby. I love the happy tone through the beginning of the film, then the mounting paranoia that creeps into her perfect life.
The final influence on The Forgiving is the endless stream of slasher films from the 80s and 90s and onward that I never had a taste for.
My main goal with The Forgiving was to not have any disposable characters that you hoped got killed. That’s why I had the three main characters in a loving romantic relationship. I’m not a fan of horror that is written to punish sin. I think horror works better when it is transgressive, unexpected, and challenges social norms and the status quo.
Buy The Forgiving HERE.
January was a great way to kick off the year. I published House of Cabal Volume One: Eden.
This book has been a long time coming. I started writing it fifteen years ago. It grew into an idea that I knew was bigger than one book and more importantly, an idea I wasn’t skilled enough to write at the time.
So I went to college, and I wrote other things: three screenplays, a horror novel The Forgiving, rough drafts of a few other novels. Now I’ve circled back to House of Cabal in earnest, now that I can do it justice.
All that time it wasn’t dormant. I worked on it, trying different permutations, but none of them felt good enough until now. It took me about twenty years of writing to get good enough so that House of Cabal Volume One: Eden could be good enough to publish. It’s not perfect, far from it, but it fulfills the promise of my idea and conveys it to the reader.
And that’s all I really want.
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.
One great thing about self-publishing is you can keep rewriting your sales copy until you hit on something that sells.
Three lovers, as a way to save cash, seek out a real estate agency that specializes in poltergeist activity. What they find in their prospective house will test their faith in God and their faith in each other.
Then I have the very beginning of my book, which is an explanation of the Jacobi House, the house the book revolves around. It was always meant to be a placeholder until I could write a more persuasive book description.
After looking at some other horror novel book descriptions on Amazon, I took a new stab at my own, writing the first thing that came to mind, and I like it, at least more than I thought I would. As always, I would love your thoughts on it. Especially before I put it up for the whole world to see.
Portland, Oregon, has many famously haunted locations, but Howard, Isabel, and Grip are steadfast skeptics. For these three lovers building a new life together, there is no such thing as a haunted house, so why not capitalize on other people’s superstitions and buy a mansion on the waterfront at a fraction of its market value?
What could it hurt to at least take a tour?
Life isn’t a horror novel, and a house’s dark history is not its present. A house that was a brothel, then an insane asylum, and then a cult church is still just a house.
The three lovers don’t realize one flaw in their logic: the present can be even worse than the past.
Reality can be more horrific than any ghost story.
The problem with writing these things is I end up overworking them to death. I’ll let this one live for awhile and look at it again with fresh eyes in a few days.
Until then, happy writing and even happier publishing.