Saturday, October 25, 2014

Pigs, pigs, everywhere, pigs!

Ever since I started writing Tuskers, I've been seeing pigs.  Cute pigs, ugly pigs, small pigs, big pigs, cartoon pigs, cgi pigs, T.V. pigs and movie pigs.  Everywhere pigs.

Selective perception at work. 

Just never knew that pigs were so prevalent.

Ironically, my blog picture above has my two porch pigs which I picked up on a trip to Astoria years ago.

Linda just bought me a garden pig for my birthday that will soon join them.

I was showing a guy my Tuskers cover, and he whipped out a picture of a vicious looking pig he'd hunted in South Africa.  (I don't approve, but it was an awesome pig.)

Meanwhile, when I tell people I'm writing a "Wild Pig Apocalypse" they immediately get what I'm saying.  I mean, that's a pretty vague and unusual description, but it's like everyone instantly understands the possibilities.

Well, I'm getting ready to write the last half of the third book, bringing Zombie pigs into the mix. 

Hopefully, make it exciting.

Friday, October 24, 2014

An awesome ending.

I'm trying to think of an awesome ending to the Tuskers trilogy.  I'm willing to wait for it.

I kept thinking all along that I was going to get bigger, more apocalyptic in scope, but the story has remained local.  Which is actually consistent with the tone of the first book, and then the second book, and now the first half of the third book.

But I think I'm going to try to go big for the last half of the third book.  Jump ahead a couple of years, have everything ramped up to a higher level.

I need to go back into the second book and insert a Tusker villain who can summon the Zombie forces.

We'll see.  I've given into the tonal quality of the book, the kind of disaster movie type plot, so far.  But there has to be an Armageddon in this apocalypse.  A Ragnarok.

A satisfyingly big conclusion. 

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Waiting in gueue?

Apparently The Dead Spend No Gold is in a queue at Books of the Dead Press.

I check every morning.  So far two other new releases have been announced.  Which, you know, is cool.  That's cool.  Just waiting, you know.  Lean against the post. Whistle.  Stare into the horizon.  Chew gum.

I've been sitting on Tuskers III for a few days, because really want to end the series on a bang.  There is no hurry.  Or is there?

I read recently that a sense of "urgency" is often necessary to get things done.  Certainly, that is how I've been treating my writing.  This slacking off may be a mistake.

Then again, the next book may be a completely different experience.

Spent all of yesterday at Linda's store, sorting and boxing books.  I have just one day a week to do that now, and there was quite a pile.

Working at my own store today.  It has been humming along quite nicely.  Knock wood.  I feel really fortunate to have the guys I have.

I've been trying hard to get Linda back to writing.  She stalled about halfway through her third book.  I'm hoping that she'll finish it soon.

Waiting sucks.


Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Pop-culturally young.

I've mentioned before that I feel like my 32-year-old writer-self who just happened to take a 'short' hiatus from writing.  I have all the enthusiasm I had then, plus a whole bunch of saved up creative energy.  I'm not short of ideas.  I feel determined, as if I'm trying to establish a career.

I think working in a "pop-culture" store for the last 35 years has kept me young in the sense of being in touch with pop-culture, probably more so than most 20 or 30-somethings.  I've been pretty much dealing with younger people for most of my career.  I feel in tune with them, to some extent -- at least in what they're interested in.

It's the same things I'm interested in.

At the same time, my age and experience has given me some perspective and discipline I didn't have before.

But I certainly feel in touch with the pop-culture zeitgeist.  As least as much as I was when I was 32 years old...if not more so.  The things I'm weak on now, I was weak on then.  The things I was strong on then, I'm stronger on now.  Plus a whole lot of knowledge I simply didn't have then.  (Like comic art and writing which I think is perhaps the most creatively open of all the media.)

Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I feel like I'm right in there.

With the added benefit that I have some hard-won, weathered maturity.  That is, I can be more patient, more deliberative in my efforts.  Wait until the books are ready.  Wait for them to take their turn in the carousal.  I have a stronger sense of how long things take and what it takes to get them done.

But that feeling of being in another place, in a world of my own making, that hasn't changed at all. 

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

"Hipsters? You mean beatniks?"

I forget sometimes that I really do have an unusual job.  Comic book guy.

Everyone I deal with is younger, (mostly by decades), everything I sell is meant for them.

So I was reading Tuskers in writer's group and one of the older members objected to me using this phrase, "He was glad to be away from Bend and all its hipsters."

"Hipsters is kind of old-fashioned, don't you think?  Like beatniks?"

I look at him somewhat in shock.  "Uh, hipsters is a very current term.  It's very, very current."

He looked at me skeptically, but let it pass.

Meanwhile, my editor (who is younger) wanted to know what "noodling" and "pickleball" is, so it goes the other way too.

I'm surrounded by 'pop' terminology so much that I just assume that everyone I talk to is aware of it all.  But in fact, I'm probably talking a foreign language much of the time.  I still can't get over the fact of my own very smart, educated family not knowing what Cthuhlu was.  It is such an everyday reference in my world.

I don't think I speak in jargon, but in fact I probably do. 

I'm dealing with a hard-core fan base for Doctor Who, and Star Trek, and Marvel and DC, and the Indies, and the Horror, Science-fiction, and Fantasy crowd, and many, many others.  Even if I don't watch Adventure Time, or My Little Pony, I have to know what they are referring to.    I have to know what everyone is talking about, and try to anticipate what they're going to want to buy.

It isn't hard, because it's the milieu I swim in.  But sometimes I get the indication that other 60-ish something people really aren't much like me...

It sometimes scares me that I might become as out of touch as they are.  And then I realize that in the more important scheme of things, it really doesn't matter. 

I have a friend who is very ascetic.  No T.V., no movies, mostly-non-fiction, philosophical leaning preoccupations.  Not saying his lifestyle is better (though he thinks it is) but it probably isn't any worse...

I just have to remind myself that most of this pop-culture knowledge is peripheral and ephemeral and somewhat trivial.

But oh how I love it.

Monday, October 20, 2014

They think, that I think, that they think, that I think...

To continue on with the post about people asking if Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves is non-fiction, I wonder if that doesn't explain some of the deep dislike of genre fiction that I occasionally run into.

To me, a good story is a good story.  Everything is narrative, most things are metaphorical.

But I do wonder if some people are so literal minded that they believe that anyone who reads about spaceships and aliens or hobbits or werewolves actually believes in them.

I bet you couldn't find a more skeptical crowd than science fiction authors, for instance.  I bet a whole bunch of them, probably most of them, don't believe that aliens have visited us.

But that in no way shape or form keeps us genre writers and readers from entertaining the possibilities.

For me, it was always about the adventure.  It was always metaphorical.

Horror is about our fears.  Zombies might be about people who are thoughtlessly destroying everything around us; werewolves about the predator in the dark; vampires about things that drain us of energy and life.

It isn't literal.

On the other side of that coin, I wonder if people who only read non-fiction understand that any book, even so called 'non-fiction,' has been put into a narrative form for them.  Which by necessity entails a certain amount of imagination and filling in the blanks.

Otherwise, the only non-fiction would be a recitation of facts. 

I guess there are those who value imagination and those who don't.

Never the twain shall meet.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hitting rapids.

Sometimes the words flow cleanly, sometimes they just seem to hit rapids, getting all churned up and tossed around.

It can be hard, sometimes, not to just stop when that happens.  I know that I'll have to come back later and clean it up, remove the rocks under the water.  Especially after I've had a fertile period, the temptation is to wait for it to all clear up.

But I don't believe that I can have one without the other.  It is all part of the same river.  If I close the channels to avoid the rapids, well, the flow is cut off altogether.

I have to just stick it out.  Pick my way through.  Hope I can survive without capsizing.

Because otherwise, I just can't make any further progress.

Thing is, when I come back later and work on it, there is probably very little qualitative difference.  Most people probably can't tell the difference between the passages that come easy and the ones that come hard.  I'm traveling the same distance, after all.

So while I'd love for it all to be smooth and easy, it just doesn't happen that way for long.  It becomes hard work, and I just have to keep trying.

This blog is an example. Sometimes as I'm writing it I feel clunky and awkward and not very clear.  Sometimes I feel free and open and the words just right.

Either way, I go ahead and push "Publish." 

It's the flow that counts, not the perfection.  The more words flow, the easier it gets.