Sunday, February 7, 2016

Making up shit.

I'm writing the last chapter of "Deep Sea Rising" today.

I love this book. I really do think it is my best so far. It came out fully formed and at the same surprised me. It stretched my abilities and yet was doable.

About the only thing wrong with it -- and I'm not sure that it is really a problem -- is that I made up an completely fictitious locale. It's set in Seattle, but I have this location where there are small islands you can reach with bridges just a few miles away on the shore of the Puget Sound.

So anyone who knows that area will probably think I'm a doofus.

But everywhere else in the country, they might believe it. (?) Hopefully?

Scientifically, it's unlikely that the Cascadia tsunami would affect Seattle. It is too far inland. But I've made up a scenario where the megaquake takes place right at the mouth of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and that the Juan de Fuca fault happens at the same time.

The Perfect Earthquake, if you will. 

I thought about trying to move locations, but even if I went to say, Island County, with Whidbey Island as the center, and used Everett, Washington as the the threatened city, I still made up a lot of shit.

So Seattle it is.

I do need to make a timeline. I'm probably going to make it happen on Labor Day weekend, start the timeline on Saturday morning, with the earthquake happening at sunset on the following Monday.

Other than that, the whole thing hangs together really well. I love the plot and the characters and the premise.

I think I pulled it off.

Saturday, February 6, 2016

The antidote to doubt.

I didn't write for 3 days for some reason. Pretty rare for me to skip even a day. But I think putting up "The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders" on Amazon was stressful in ways I didn't foresee.

I finally got out to the Badlands and walked my 5 mile route and the ideas just kept on coming. I wrote a short chapter of "Deep Sea Rising" that I really like. The ending also popped into my mind and it felt right.

When I write a scene that surprises me and pleases me, all doubts about writing disappear. Or rather, they don't matter. They are beside the point. The writing is its own reward and I take great satisfaction out of telling these stories to myself, seeing them come alive.

What happens after that isn't up to me.

TMPDGM's is the first book where I could see day to day (hour to hour) response to my book, and it was pretty disappointing for a couple of days. So I was shaking that off.

Then, after I'd resolved those doubts by writing a good scene, I came home to finally see some results. #512 in Horror, out of 83,000.  #12 in the last 30 days. The time lag is longer than I expected. A couple of days, apparently.

I'm guessing that will be my high water mark, but at least it was there for a day or so.

I have two more small chapters worked out, and then the big two final chapters. Then the epilogue.

The break probably helped clarify the sequence of chapters for me, so it probably didn't hurt.

It's just that not writing let the doubts creep in.

Back to writing for the next few days, finish "Deep Sea Rising" then dive into the rewrite of "The Darkness You Fear."

Friday, February 5, 2016

Tuskers III release date!

Looks like Tuskers III is coming out on October 11 of this year.

Here's the publisher page:!mcgeary/y7btn

Pretty exciting since this is the first time one of my current books is going to be fully distributed in general bookstores, along with Tuskers I and II.

I'll be the second book out in Ragnarok's new lineup (same day as a third book.) Looks like they have 10 books lined up so far. Many of them are part of a series, like mine.

 Independent Publishers Group will have a catalog and will be sending their salesmen out to sell the book. I'm hoping the covers and the idea will excite them.

I'll contact the local Barnes and Noble and ask them to carry the series.

This will be fun.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Tuskers sales.

Got my royalty statement for Tuskers I and II for the first two quarters of last year.  Basically 5 months worth of Tuskers and 1 month of Tuskers II. was better than I expected. I have a website that I go to that estimates how many are selling. (Only the publisher has access from Amazon.) It appears that this site missed a good 50% of the sales. So there were twice as many as I expected.

I'm glad the publisher looks to actually be making a little money off them. I don't know why I get concerned for their sake, but I do.

I'm not going to get rich, obviously, but considerably better than doing it by myself. Obviously having a publisher is the way to go, if possible.

Thing is, I don't really want to go through the submission process much. As long as I can publish books through Books of the Dead and Ragnarok, I'm happy. But I write way too many books for them, and not all my books fit their categories, so I'm going to need to publish a bunch of books on my own.

I just have to slot them in during times when nothing's coming out from the publishers.

I want to finish the "Tuskers" series with a book IV. I want to write a "Virginia Reed Adventure" once a year for BOTD, if possible.

I have another small publisher who I'm going to send "Deep Sea Rising." (They liked Tuskers and expressed an interest in another "creature" book.) But I won't have any expectations.

But I'm not going to submit my other books to any other publishers unless they come to me (Unlikely). Nor am I going to look for a agent or a mainstream publisher unless they come to me. (Amazingly, one of them actually did, but after a promising start it doesn't seem to be leading anywhere.)

Pretty clearly, publishing my own books is going to have minimal effect, but I'm all right with that. I've already had more success than I expected. Nor do I believe that I "deserve" more in results than I'm getting.

Most of all, I like the idea of just writing what I want and putting them out when I want and moving on.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Writing a sexy book.

Early on, I was a little concerned about the direction "The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders" was going.

See, I didn't set out to write a book about a succubus. I had a dream where a MPDG leads a young man into the wilderness, has her way with him, then leaves him to die.

As usually happens with my books, it took a turn to the supernatural. The fantasy element is what gives the story spice, which engages my attention. A straight thriller seems boring to me to write (though I like reading them).

Anyway, once it became about a succubus, and then succubae, sex entered into it. And then again. And again.

After all, that's what a succubus does.

So I was concerned. I sent it to a couple of readers who reassured me that it was done in a tasteful way. No worries.

So I quit worrying about it.

Now the reviews are coming out, and though they are positive, they do tend to mention the sex angle a lot. Which I guess I should have expected.

Thing is, the sex is totally in service to the story. It is never gratuitous. All of it came from the character interplay, if you will. Sex has to be there for the character's motivations to make any sense.

I'm hoping I won't get in trouble with Amazon over this. Hoping no one complains. It's just that it became so integral to the story that I sort of forgot about the fact there is a lot of sex going on.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders is for sale!

I figure that any of you who still read this blog are dedicated readers, more or less.

So I'm going to ask you to please buy my book. Do it right now, before you move on. It's easy. Hit the link, hit buy...

Go ahead. I'll wait.

You did it? Thank you so much!

The first week is by far the most important 7 days in the life of a book. The farther up the list you start, the longer you stay, the more likely people are to find you, and the higher up the list you go. It's a "Virtuous Cycle" and I'd so much like to get something going on this book.

I published this myself, but this doesn't mean it's a lesser book. Indeed, it's longer than most of my books, and has been worked on probably more than most of my books. I think it came out well.

As one of my reviewers said, it's "Dark and a little Naughty."

I write so much, that I'll probably do this fairly often and still have a regular flow of publisher books at the same time. No other way to get them all out.

This was lots of fun, no matter what happens.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Researching before, not after.

I keep having this experience of researching the locale or history of a story after I've written it and finding that my story contradicts reality.

How fealty do I owe to reality in a fiction story? At what point do I offend reality so much that the reader scoffs and puts down the book?

There is probably a fair amount I can get away with, but every instance of getting it wrong is an excuse for the reader not to like the book.

In the latest book, I'm dealing with a university and professors and marine biology and geology and Seattle and much more. Every one of these are outside my own experience and I could be getting it entirely wrong.

So I try not to make any egregious errors, and bend reality my way in a way that is acceptable, hopefully, in an adventure novel.

I'm at 60,000 words. The four chapters I knew I had to write at 50,000 words are still ahead of me. I found that I hadn't really fully explored the character arcs of some secondary characters. This is likely to turn into a full sized book. (80,000 words.)

Anyway, yesterday I just couldn't write for some reason. So I made the mistake of starting researching and immediately realized I had some problems.

So the problems can be finessed or ignored, or they can be dealt with.

Dealing with them means a lot more work, but probably a better book. Problems are always a good excuse to improve the plot.

I've written two novels recently that required no research at all. They are set in a world far enough removed from reality to be able to wing it all the way through. I wish all books were this way -- but unfortunately, most aren't.

With "The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders," researching turned a 55,000 word novel into a 95,000 word novel, a much more satisfying and complete read.

("The Manic Pixie Dream Girl Murders" is being published tomorrow!)

So this book, "Deep Sea Rising," is dealing with the Cascadia subduction zone and deep sea creatures and tsunamis and ocean blobs and methane release and....well, I can address most of these issues through a little rearrangement of the plot, a little filling out the details. It will be work, but it will make the story stronger and more textured and complex. More interesting, I do believe.

So I have to do it. Whether I want to or not.

I wonder if I could avoid these problems by doing research before, not after. But I keep coming to the same conclusion. Write the story, then adapt it to the research. It makes the story most important, and it can almost always be done, though it makes for more work.

But the work always improves the book, so it is an opportunity not a loss.