Monday, October 24, 2016

I'm approaching the climax of Lucifer's Forge. (Formerly, Fires of Allah...still not sure...)

Basically these are actions scenes, playing out the premise and the set up. I can sort of glide to an ending, but I've started feeling like I need more, like I need some kind of kicker.

Well, I thought of a doozy.

At first, the idea was a little too elaborate, requiring a bunch of extra characters in an already heavily populated plot. Then, well, I thought of a twist on the twist, which brought in yet another element.

The irony is, that the two elements pretty much cancel each other out. That is, I only need to write a couple of scenes with them together and it all becomes self-explanatory.

Plus, I wasn't comfortable with the politics of the first surprise, whereas the second surprise makes both sides guilty, thus canceling out the first position.

Talk about vague plotting! Sorry about that!
I found myself dreading watching The Walking Dead last night. Spoilers, spoilers, spoilers.


It was worse than I thought.

I'd figured it would be Glenn for a simple reason: his death leads to the most storylines. His widow, his kid, his legacy.

Didn't see Abraham departing. (Did the actor ask for a raise?)

So now I'm torn about this show. It was a pretty miserable experience, and there were a couple of genuinely shocking moments.

I actually value that--how often does that really happen to someone like me who watched lots of grimdark material? At the same time, it really seemed to cross over into Torture Porn. Especially the way it was draw.....nnnnn out.

It's interesting, in juxtaposition to watching Westworld, which asks how complicit we are in this kind of entertainment. Generally, I always say, Hey it's only fiction. (Also somehow tied into the dread I've been feeling about the election, heh.)

The effectiveness of this hour was that it seemed realistic to me. The character interactions, the message Negan was sending. I didn't think he was a cartoon villain, he seemed realistically chilling to me.

And again, I value that. Someone taking the premise all the way to its logical conclusion.

But did I enjoy it? Do I want more of it? Do I really want to watch a season of Rick knuckling under until he can't take it anymore?

I'm pretty torn. I'll see how I feel next week. I've never yet quit a show and regretted it. It always seems like a good idea in hindsight.

(I'm stopping the Talking Dead, for sure. I always feel somehow like I've eaten a bag of donuts after I watch that show--tasty but meaningless.)

Not judging anyone else's appetite for this. I've never been the one to say "Too Much."

Until now.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

My first serious book? That's what I was intending. But...

What does that even mean?

I know in the past that this was a sure recipe for writer's block. So I was allowing my imagination to go in whatever direction it needed, but to trying to keep it grounded.

The first thought, even without the agent's douchbag request for "100 kickass pages" and "make it Big!" was to write a thriller. This my preferred reading these days, and I have a theory that you should write the same kind of book you like to read.

But once I got into the firefighter culture, I realized that I could write it from street level and have a pretty good book. Maybe try to ground it a little more in reality.

I did get into the head of the terrorists, so that is a step away from "what I know." (Not that I know what goes on with firefighters, but given where I was raised, being a firefighter wouldn't have been an impossibility.)

If I went that direction, I intended to take out the mucky-mucks and the astronaut.

Right away, there were some problems. The plot of the book demanded a sacrifice, and originally it was going to be a mucky-muck. With the mucky-muck gone, it had to be one of the two main characters, which would certainly make it a tragedy, but maybe a little too much so.

Then, I really liked the God's eye view of the astronaut character, a chance to show the whole picture.

Yesterday, I wrote a couple of astronaut chapters, and one of them is my second favorite chapter of the book. It's a bit hokey, in that I go for the drama. But the drama is cool--in a thriller.

Let's face it, I really want to write a thriller, and by doing so, I'm stepping away from the "serious" idea.

Here's what I need to remind myself. I'm always writing the best I can. There is no diminishment in my attempt to write full characters, to make it real. That's what I'm always trying to do.

So that's where I'm going. The only question remaining is do I go the one further step and include the supernatural element of the Jinn. I have a kind of quasi magic realism inclusion of the Jinn, but it could easily be expanded into the real thing.

My guess is that I'll end up doing that--because, to me, it adds a little extra zing to the story.

To satisfy the "serious" readers?  I was probably never going to be able to do that. My readers are always going to need to be people with a serious case of "Disbelief Suspension."

Friday, October 21, 2016

A young artist in town who I talked to yesterday, giving advice, though who am I to give advice?

But the main thing I said to her is really something I should be doing myself.

I told her that she should quit worrying about promotion or trying to make money off her art and just concentrate on her art. Of course, she is really young. 21 years old. Hell, I didn't even start writing until I was 22 or 23. Couldn't figure out how to get started. Then flailed around for 5 years writing the same 50 pages over and over again.

Anyway, what's true for her is true for me.

Writing the book is one thing. Everything that comes after is a completely different thing. It's all very distracting. It is frustrating and dispiriting. And has absolutely nothing to do with creativity. The actual writing is inspiring and fun and fulfilling.

Sure, I want people to read me. But I don't seem to have any control over that. And the more I try to assert control--by promoting, finding agents and publishers, the less creative it is.

Next year is pretty much taken care of. I have two books that have recently (still waiting for the physical copy of "The Darkness You Fear") or are currently coming out ("Tuskers III" is going to be "In Stock" at Amazon on the 23rd, and the ebook should follow soon.)

I have two books coming out through publishers: "Tuskers IV" and "Snaked" sometime around the middle of 2017.

I plan to self-publish "Gargoyle Dreams" myself early next year. A love story with a gargoyle doesn't seem to fit anywhere, but I still really like it.

So I'm going to turn a blind eye to the "selling" part and return to what I really like: the actual writing of the books.  Just ignore everything else.

Really, it's the art that counts.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Ragnarok Facebook party last night. Smart, clever people, and of course, halfway through my session, my portion disappears.

Just staring at blank screen.

So I start up again, but not much gets going. Sort of like I walked into a party and fell flat on my face.

Then again, it was kind of liberating. When the worst happens, then you just roll with it.

I wish I knew why so many things happen at the same time. The announcement of selling "Snaked" to Cohesion Press, the Ragnarok Party, the rollout of "Tuskers III," and hopefully soon the paperback of "The Darkness You Fear." After several months of nothing happening at all.

Well, the writing is the most important thing. I'll cross 60K words today on "Fires of Allah."  I've fucked up the timeline as usual. That's going to take some jiggering when I'm done. But I like the overall flow of the story. It's mostly action scenes from here on out, just concluding the four or five separate storylines.

I have a whole lot of characters in this book, so one of the main jobs in the rewrite will be to make them distinct, or to relegate them to the background, one of the two.

As far as I'm concerned, I've cleared the schedule for next year. I've got two books coming out for sure, I plan to go ahead and publish Gargoyle Dreams in March. I'm going to finish "Fires of Allah" and send it around, and then if I get no nibbles, go supernatural on it, and try again. Either that, or just publish it myself.

I want to continue writing a Virginia Reed book once a year, but other than that, I don't have a particular plans for the next book.

I'm sure it will come to me. It would probably behoove me to come up with another creature book, since that seems to be what I'm successful at. I also have a huge backlog of unfinished books, and I keep wavering as to whether I should be trying to revive them or just move on.

New challenges are more fun, but then again...I hate to waste what I've already done.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Sold my novel, "Snaked," to Cohesion Press, an Australian publisher who specializes in 'creature' books. How perfect is that?

As you guys know, I really loved this book. I shouldn't play favorites, but I do think this is my best book so far. It has no fantasy or supernatural elements. It is all possible. A couple of the characters have autism, which the snake venom has an effect on. I thought I pulled that off that characterization pretty nicely.

It starts with an infestation of poisonous sea snakes, as a warning that a tsunami is coming. Originally, I had the tsunami as the main focus in the second half of the book, but the editor, Geoff Brown, quite rightly pointed out that I'd left out the sea snakes too much. So I wrote several chapters at the ending to wrap up the snake line and sure enough it was an even better book.

Looks like it will come out sometime around the middle of next year. Cohesion Press, like Ragnarok, has gone mainstream, so this book should show up in bookstores worldwide.

Cohesion has a legit bestseller out right now, "Fathomless" by Greig Beck, and they seem to have a great reputation. Doesn't seem to matter anymore which English speaking country publishes your book. Kinda funny to have it announced as "US author, Duncan McGeary."

I keep expecting my writing career to peter out, (not the writing, that is still going strong, if a bit slower) but then I find the next thin thread, and so far so good.

I've got nothing against publishing myself, but damn if I sell many books that way. I guess I need publishers unless I can figure out how to promote myself.

I'm going to make the attempt with "Fires of Allah" to expand my search, and not take it unkindly if nothing happens. I have about a year, I figure, while "Tuskers IV" and "Snaked" come out, to try to broaden my markets. (I'll probably put out "Gargoyle Dreams" and maybe another book next year as well, myself.)

If that doesn't happen, fine. I do really like my horror niche. I'm not turning my back on the genre in any event. But I was sorta hoping to do some thrillers too.

"Fires of Allah" can very very easily be turned into supernatural horror, and maybe I should do that anyway, but I'm attempting to do it straight first, just to see what happens.

Anyway, I'm encouraged. This is the fourth publisher in my career who has found my writing worthy. That's got to mean something, right?

Sunday, October 16, 2016

1st Chapter remains unwritten tho I'm 56K words into the "Fires of Allah."

This is on purpose. I know what I'm shooting for. I want it to be one of the best things I've ever written.

A long time ago, I read excerpts of Norman Maclean's "Young Men and Fire." (Author of "A River Runs Through It.") I think it must have been in Life Magazine or something.

It was enormously affecting, so I decided that I would save the first chapter for last. I will sit down and read "Young Men and Fire" and soak it up and try to get what I'm feeling down on paper.

I'm still working at a 1000 word a day pace, which is the slowest I've written since coming back. But it seems fine. I'm spending more time with the characters, with the story. I'm almost 2/3rds of the way through, nevertheless.

I'll have this finished by the end of the year, research and rewrites and all.

I don't know if it will be my best book, but it is my most ambitious book.