Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Finally able to say it's good.

I've never just been able to out and out say about my books,  "This is good."
Always the doubts, plus what do I know?
I usually say something like, "It's as good as I can make it."
But I put the work in on The Dead Spend No Gold: Bigfoot and the California Gold Rush.   I kept working on it until I thought it was good.  It was edited thoroughly twice, and I responded to every criticism.  I didn't cop out with "it's good enough" and I wasn't intellectually lazy, as I have a tendency to be.  I polished it until it clicked.
Lara gave it a final edit, and yes, I pay her, but this is what she had to say.

"I love the way it turned out! This iteration is more rounded, better developed and has lots more detail and description. It's definitely on a par with Led to the Slaughter now."
To which I say, I think so too.  
What's happened is that I've made sure that I'm proud of each book before I release it.  As inconvenient as that is, and as little as it probably matters on how they ultimately do, I plan to continue this policy.
I told myself to be patient when I started this, and I've stuck to that so far, and I think the quality of the writing shows it.
Most of my beta-readers see early drafts.  The quality really seems to jump in the last draft, as if everything pulls together. 
Good for me.  Heh.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Quickest route to the ending.

The goal I set for myself on the Tuskers books is to get to the ending the quickest, shortest route possible.  Not fluff, no sidetrips.  No worries about length.  Tuskers I is rapidly approaching 50K which is 10K more than I thought.  There are always things I do in second drafts that increase the size of a book, mostly more description, more back story, more characterization.

H. Bruce didn't think my Tuskers were scary enough, so I'm concentrating on that in the second draft, as well has turning my first person chapters into 3rd person to match the rest of the chapters.

I'm undecided about whether to pay for editing on this.  I'm undecided about whether to use a pen name.

On one hand, I feel like I need an avenue which isn't quite so expensive and time-consuming and where I can publish works that either won't benefit from more work or can't be made better by more work.  So I probably should do those under a pen name.

On the other hand, I want everything I write to be up to snuff, and if I end up doing that, I may as well publish them under my own name.

Truth is, any book I simply throw out there under my own name, published by myself, with no promotion by me or a publisher, probably won't do anything anyway.  These books will be sacrificial lambs to my urge to write.  I shall cast them upon the waters -- and hope for the best, but not expect anything.

The second goal was to have fun.  To be as outrageous as possible. 

Thing is, I still try to write a book that makes sense, so I need not worry about jumping the shark -- unless you consider a wild pig apocalypse already jumping the shark.

Ironically, what makes the plot is trying to make the wild premise plausible.  By the time I end up exploring that, I've written a book.

My goal is to keep writing books, whether they are 'commercial' or not, and publish them, and not worry about results.

Except for a few select books, where I take more time and effort and promotional attempts.  My Virginia Reed Adventure books, and probably my Lander books. 

It's a steep hill.  I don't have the social media skills to make much headway. 

But I can keep creating the content and keep the faith that eventually the content will be discovered.

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Linda is a Utopian.

I've decided that the overriding theme of Linda's books is a desire for Utopia.

She's always liked those kinds of books best.  Under Plum Lake, The Green Kingdom, Islandia.

She also always been attracted to hidden worlds.  Hollow Earths, and Kingdoms behind Great Barriers, and Moons.

She yearns so much for people to be Kind to each other and Just to each other and it come through in her writing.

Her basic decency and sweetness overlays everything else. 

She also has a Hero thing; her dreams are usually about her saving someone.  So many of the things she's told me she's dreamed about over the years are finding their way into her writing, in one form or another.

It gives you a very satisfying feeling, like everything will be all right, everything will work out.

She's learned to put danger and threat into her stories.  When I first met her, she couldn't bear to have anything bad happen, or if they did, it was quickly resolved.  But now she puts in threats, even bad things, and yet...you know they are only temporary.

Because her sense of right and wrong is just too strong to let evil win for long.

I'm happy to live in her world.

Sometimes you just have to ask the right questions.

I was about a third of the way through Tuskers II before I had to break off to finish the final draft of The Dead Spend No Gold.  Then I needed to read Linda's book, Once on a Blue Moon.

Just as well.  I'd kind of run out of ideas for the book.  I'd started seeing problems.

But when I started thinking about it last night, it was those very problems that gave me the rest of the book.  That is, in trying to resolve the inconsistencies and illogical developments, the rest of the plot came to me. 

Very satisfying.

Sometimes you just have to ask the right questions.

So now it's a matter of entering into the Tuskers world, which is like and unlike my own world.  It has a flavor all its own.  If I can get back to the frame of mind, the rest of the book should be easy.

Plus, nothing is in the way.  I can get to work on it.  I think I'll have clear sailing for Tuskers III too.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Reading Linda's book on an iPad.

So I'm reading Linda's book, Once on a Blue Moon, on an iPad and I'm thoroughly enjoying it.

I read Telling Tree   (http://www.amazon.com/Telling-Tree-Linda-McGeary-ebook/dp/B00HCZ66FY/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1408208013&sr=8-1&keywords=telling+tree)   on my computer, which wasn't ideal, but I don't remember it bothering me that much.  (Hell, I read so much on the computer that my eyes are having adjustment problems.  I literally have to lay down for five or ten minutes with my eyes closed after a session so my eyes revert.)

Anyway, for some reason, Once on a Blue Moon   (http://www.amazon.com/Once-Blue-Moon-Trillium-Trilogy-ebook/dp/B00LLVESQO/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1408207891&sr=8-5&keywords=once+on+a+blue+moon)   didn't show up on my computer in a readable from, so I borrowed her iPad.

This morning she asked how I was liking the experience.

Maybe I had preconceptions, but it is pretty much the way I thought it would be.

1.)  I'm conscious of the screen.  Harder to get lost in the story.

2.)  It's awkward to hold, for some reason.  Not soft and fuzzy friendly somehow.

3.)  I like leafing back and forth in a book to check out details and such.  Can't do that as easy.

Problems one and two would probably go away the more I use the pad.

Compare this to audio books.

I'm also kind of opposed to audio books.  I feel like instead of me interpreting the book, the narrator is interpreting the book, and I don't like that.

However, the one book I did listen to on a trip, I thoroughly enjoyed.  I mean, I really liked it.

So why am I denying myself the pleasure?

I'm not totally sure.  But reading has always been a solid part of my life, almost an alternate life (which has been replaced by writing lately).  Somehow, these two ways of reading (or listening) are a separate experience.

I'm a boring person.  I like doing the same things everyday.  I like my habits.  It gives me a sense of security and continuity that I seem to need.  So I don't go out seeking new things all that much.  Instead, I tend to dig deeper into whatever I'm doing.

That and doing nothing.  I like doing nothing at all.  

On the other hand, I've always tried to keep up with the superficial news and culture of by continually browsing information sites, both paper and digital.

I'm ready to give that up.  I just am running into too many situations where I see a Huffington Post article about someone I've never heard of, and I click it, and it turns out to be some woman that was on "Housewives..." of whatever on the "third season" and who the fuck cares?  I'm pissed that they suckered me and made me waste my precious few brain cells on complete pablum.

So I seem to be going to opposite direction as everyone else.  No apps.  No texting.  Just books, and movies and T.V.  Have no friggen clue about music anymore. (Meanwhile, ironically, my two twenty-something employees seem to almost exclusively listen to music from my youth;  Guardians of the Galaxy mixtape kind of music.)

Simplify, simplify. 

I wish I had the courage to throw in the towel completely, but I hate not knowing things.  I hate not being up to date.  It really bothers me.  I have a dozen sites I go to.  I try to weed out the essential from the useless.

So I'm trying to find a middle ground.

So I'll be sticking to paper books for the foreseeable future.  Just because I'm comfortable.  Just because it's comforting. 

The future is barreling in anyway, no matter what I decide.

Friday, August 15, 2014

A best-seller in my own store.

I sold all six copies of Led to the Slaughter I had in the store within 2 hours yesterday.

Like, Wow.

I've figured out the most effective phrasing, the combination of words that best sells the book, which goes something like this:

"I wrote this book..." I say in a mild voice.  I lean over and touch it.  Sometimes, I'll put it in their hands.

"Oh?"  Either zero interest (about 50%) or tiny interest (about 25%) or actual interest.

So if they evince actual interest, we go on.  Otherwise, I shut up.

"How cool!" they might say.  "You're Duncan McGeary?  What's it about?"

"Do you know what the Donner Party was?"

Most people say yes, otherwise I explain.  Then I point to the sub-title, the Donner Part Werewolves.

Some customers nearly throw the book back on the shelf, but others are unfazed, so I continue.

"Well, I wrote it as if I discovered the original journals of the Donner Party.  You know, they all wrote in journals in those days.  So I try to keep is as real as possibly, the real people, the real sequence of events...except, at certain important points, I put in the werewolves (which I treat as natural creatures.)

Customer either 1.) put its back.  2.) starts leafing through it.  3.) Carries on the conversation.

I then offer to sign it.

And then, I stay silent.  Waiting.  And amazingly, a certain number will put it in front of me and say, "I'll buy it."

So the paradox is -- I can sell my own books when I'm in the store. 

But I can't write my books when I'm in the store...

Starting up Tuskers II again.

I'm halfway through Tuskers II.

It may take me a few days to pick up the threads of where I left off, but the whole point of this exercise is to power through the book, no side trips.  Straight to the end.  Action all the way.

Tuskers was 45K words, which is a decent size for ebooks these days.

So far, I've always considered a novel to be at least 65K words, 80K would be better, and 100K is a nice solid chunk.

Here's the thing.  Keep the price moderate, and the story moving, and 45K seems like the proper number for Tuskers.  Especially if I do Tuskers II and Tuskers III at about the same size.

Someday, this may be a 130K saga, again at a moderate price.

I'm hoping to find a picture of a Tusker for the front of the book, and jigger the background colors and such to be able to use the same picture for Tuskers II and Tuskers III.

Mostly, I just want to have fun.