Saturday, August 31, 2013

Got back the edited Rule of Vampire.

Got back the edited version of Rule of Vampire and it looks good.  Lara is very diligent, catching most of the mistakes, cleaning it up, and suggesting alternative phrasing.  I pretty much accept 95% of her suggestions, as well as try to clear up anything she points out that might be a problem.

The book reads well.  In some ways, it is probably the best thing I've done so far.

I'm thinking of asking Lara to go back and edit Death of an Immortal.  Not that there is anything wrong with it, but if she catches even a few mistakes, it might be worth it.  Have the whole trilogy professionally edited.

So Rule of Vampire will be put up on Amazon and Smashwords as soon as Aaron Leis and I can get together and format it correctly.  Sometime next week, for sure.

I also started in on the ending of Blood of Gold, the third book of the Vampire Evolution Trilogy, so pretty soon I will have completed one of the major goals of my life:  To write a trilogy!

I didn't expect it to be a Vampire Trilogy, but there you go.

I think Blood of Gold will be ready around January of 2014.

My sister-in-law Sherry said,  "I don't know how you do it!"

"Simple," I answered.  "Start with an active lifestyle and write all the time.  Then subtract the active lifestyle..."

Friday, August 30, 2013

Starting from scratch.

I can't believe I'm even contemplating this. 

I'm very much considering redoing Nearly Human.  Throwing away an entire year worth of work.  That is -- not even referring to the previous attempt, just write it from scratch.  Hide the original manuscript under the mattress, pretend it doesn't exist.

I like the ideas, the world, the characters of this story -- I just don't think the writing is as good as the stuff that came after that, and I think the plot pulled a clunker.

I pretty much like everything I've written after Nearly Human.  Starting with The Reluctant Wizard, I seemed to figure out -- to remember -- how to do it, along with the new and improved working process.

But I wouldn't have gotten there without Nearly Human.  Having to rewrite, rethink, restart that first book over and over again was like a training exercise, necessary for me to progress.

But it shows all the patches.  It clunks.  It runs along fine for a while, and then has an eye-rolling development.  And if I'm rolling my eyes, I know the customer will roll his or her eyes because I have a very high suspension of disbelief.

So I'm thinking of just starting from scratch.  It doesn't scare me, it kind of seems exciting.  I write very fast and smoothly now, and I want that sensation with this book.  Rather than try to "fix" it, I think I'd be better off just starting all over again.  When I'm done, I can lift passages, phrases, whatever I think is particularly good and put them in the new book.

But not until I'm done. 

Yes, it's very hard to throw away a year's worth of hard work.  But I want to feel good about whatever I release -- and I want to continue this series with these characters and scenario.  In fact, I've already written a second book, Wolflander, that I feel much more comfortable about.

In honor of the restart, I'm also going to change the name:  Faerylander is the new title.  (To go along with Wolflander, and the intended Ghostlander and Xenolander, etc. etc.)

So the series will be called Nearly Human, rather than the first book.

I still have to write the ending of Blood of Gold first, so we'll see how I feel after that, but right now, it seems like the right thing to do.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

I've always gone my own way.

More and more, I'm thinking the ebook route is right for me.

For one thing, I'm writing so much faster than the old traditional route could manage.  It's always been a once a year pace for publishers -- and it takes a year even from the moment of acceptance before a book can come out.

I suppose one could try to do both, though agents and publishers usually want you -- not just your one book -- on contract.  If they are going to invest time and money on you, they want the rights to the next book and the next.  Standard and understandable.

But I want to write what I want to write when I want to write it.  I don't want to stick one genre.  

I don't know if I try the agent route that it won't be more of a test of the current industry than it is of my own writing. 

But the main thing is, I don't think there is any need.

 Besides, they can find me that way, if needs be. 

Much like the store, I've always gone my own way.  Just hoped that people would find me and appreciate what I'm trying to do.

The idea of a clear open field I can enter without permission, without having to wait, is so appealing that it more or less unlocked my creative energies -- going through the old constipated systems might just slow me down, make me doubt myself, and keep me from following my inclinations.

Hard to argue with the amount of material I've produced over the last year.

Content is king.  Everything else comes after.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Finished plotting.

Took another 3 chapters of Led to the Slaughter to writer's group last night.  Grasping at straws, but when I finished Pam said, "That was really good."  I know, I know.  That's what people always say, right?  But not really, not voluntarily out of turn, not in a genuine voice.

I'll take whatever small encouragements I can get.

In the course of rewriting this week, I thought it was really good too.  And I don't normally think that about my own work. Usually I have much more doubt.

I worked out the ending of Blood of Gold yesterday, and I got an euphoric creative rush.   I think the surprise at the end is sufficient to justify all the rest.  Now I just need to sit down and finish the book, and therefore the trilogy, starting Friday.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Why do I #%^# with my routine?

Doing stuff I'll talk about later, no doubt.  Sort has thrown me off my routine.

I've been trying to come up with the last four or five chapters of Blood of Gold.  It's not just the end of that book, but the end of an entire trilogy.  So it has to kill.

I have a very vague Good versus Evil ending, but not the particulars.  Or how to make it special.  So that's how I'm going to spend today.  Walking around muttering to myself until it clicks.

Yesterday I did some rewriting on Led to the Slaughter.  Added some historical details.  Made many of the changes that the writer's group recommended.  Both things I wanted to do.

I always say I don't like rewriting -- but I should say, of course I rewrite.  All the freaking time.  Always the doubt though that I should do more.  I'm afraid of messing with it, frankly, so I try to have a light touch.  But it always seems like I could do more.  So I just have to decide when to let it go.

Why do I fuck with my routine?  I love my routine.

Monday, August 26, 2013

A drive in a thunderstorm.

So Linda and I pick yesterday of all days to go visit the high lakes.  Linda wanted to check out Sparks Lake because she's gotten a sudden hankering to go kayaking.  She's going out with a friend this week to rent a kayak and see if she likes it.  I think I'm going to wait until she finds out if she likes it.

Anyway, arrived at the shores just as the storm hit, and there was a mad scramble out of the water.  Looked like something from a Spielberg movie.

Kept driving though, dropping by Elk and then stopping for a snack at Cultis.  The restaurant was full of young people, who I figured was probably the summer crew up there, but not too many other people.

I'm amazed I haven't been up there in ages.  I usually head east, for some reason when I want to go out into nature.  Even if I want woods, I tend to prefer the Ochoco's for some reason.  Less visited, I suppose.

I spent most of my youth outside -- both in the summers and the winters.  Now that I'm adult, there is nothing to keep me from doing the same thing.

But whereas most kids probably grow up wishing they could do all these extra curriculer activities, my youth was packed with them.  My mother insisted.  She couldn't stand us sitting around, for any reason.

I have a theory that most kids grow up and go:  "Now I'm adult, I can do anything I want.  I can go out and do all these recreational things I want."

Me:  "Now I'm adult, I can do anything I want.  I can sit and my room and read all day..."

Sunday, August 25, 2013

"Signs of Recovery."

I won't argue with the Bulletin headline.  After all, it's been 5 - 6 years since we started going down the rabbit hole and you have to start up sometime. 

It's interesting what remains static -- the solid waste statistic.  How to read that?  That actual garbage producing activity is not happening?

That would go with the other graph I've always thought was most important for jobs -- the building permits, which are slowly -- ever so slowly --- going up.

The airport and lodging numbers once again point out the importance of tourism for Central Oregon -- I think that's what saved us from the worse.  Those statistics never went down as much and have trended upward.

So the graph that doesn't seem to fit with the rest of the charts is the housing units sold.  Again, houses selling without being reflected in the job statistics just says to me that the overflow is slowly being sold off to retiree's.  That's my guess.

Which then all loops back to my contention that the economy of Bend is based fundamentally on tourism and retirement.

Which finally brings back the jobs, which while increasing are probably mostly service jobs.

Fair enough?

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Hollywood in the 40's.

I've been reading a book about Hollywood in the 40's, "City of Nets" by Otto Friedrich.  (I've mostly been reading non-fiction since I started writing, with a few mysteries thrown in.)

Even though the author says he's trying to elucidate some of the less known stories of that era, I'm not sure what it says about my consumption of Hollywood lore that I've heard of most of them.

But one thing that really stands out is how accidentally the Classics happened, how many compromises and last minute changes and artistic choices were made that we now take for granted and which we can't imagine being any other way.

A kind of running joke that Humphrey Bogart keeps taking roles that George Raft turns down -- until finally he's had enough.  "I'm not doing Casablanca!!!" (Supposedly one of the reasons he was so sarcastic in the movie was because he hated being in it.)

I grew up with three channels on TV, and on most of the late nights and weekends they showed black and white movies from the 40's and 50's.  All the great film noir were being shown back then.  Just lucky that they hadn't decided yet than any crap color film from the 60's was better than classics from the 40's.  (Even creaky 30's movies...)

Anyway, so much of what is now written in celluloid legend forever was sometimes haphazardly done, a cast off, a happy accident.

What it says to me is -- keep writing, keep doing what comes to you, and it may be what works and it may not be what works and you may not know until you've done it.

Taking a short break from writing.

I'm probably only 10 writing days from finishing Blood of Gold, but I decided to take a one week break.  I don't have a clear idea of the climax of the book, and I didn't want to forge ahead without giving myself a chance to think about it.

Going to do chores and other things that fall by the wayside when I'm writing.  When I'm writing a book, it completely takes over my life, pretty much 24 hours a day, I'm wandering around in a creative fog.

This feels like a vacation!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Answering Steve's problems with vampires.

So after posting his nice review, Steve Perry also had some problems with the whole idea of vampires, so I thought I should answer him.

Dear Steve,

Oh, boy.  I think you're wrong about this in so many ways I'm not sure where to start.  I'm not mad, I just think you're off-base.  I hope you don't mind a good argument.

First of all, I didn't plan to defend myself on this.  I think when a writer asks for critique, he should accept it gracefully and gratefully.

However, since you aired your criticisms to the public, I feel like I should answer.

So let's start with the picture on the top of your blog.

What is that posture?  I've never seen anything like that outside a yoga class.  What is the purpose of it, besides looking dramatic?  Have you ever actually held such a gothic and non-utilitarian knife as the one this character is holding?  Have you ever actually seen one?  The character is ridiculously air-brushed handsome, not much like any real person I've seen outside of fashion ads.  Oh, am I to believe he "never misses?"

No doubt he's a lover of women, a killer of men, an expert in all things martial, and probably a gourmet cook.

This isn't meant to be an attack -- but to point out that all genres have their tropes which the people who like those genres accept, but which from the outside can look iffy.

What I'm trying to say here is, James Bond isn't real.  Jack Reacher isn't real.  Travis McGee was so laconic that he was catatonic.  Spenser is a ridiculously accomplished P.I., so expert in all things that I couldn't stand him.  Earl Swagger, bless his hard bitten little heart, doesn't exist.

Vampires aren't real.

There probably will never be intergalactic fleets  zipping around the universe, or time travel machines, nor will we get "beamed up."

Most western fights were messy, back-shooting, unequal affairs.  Most cops never fire their weapons in the line of duty.  Most martial art fights would probably stop after one or two heavy hits.  Most guys beat up as much as they are in movies wouldn't get out of bed for a week.

A cop who never fires his gun makes for a boring cop story.

What I'm trying to say is, you're drawing the lines as to what you find believable that seem somewhat arbitrary.

Here's the thing.  If you found a body in a motel room with two puncture wounds drained of blood -- you wouldn't think it was a vampire, Steve.  I doubt you would believe in vampires until one had its fangs in your neck.

You would think, as do the characters in my story, that it is some nutcase who either thinks he is a vampire and/or is mimicking one.

So I have set the premise of my story that vampires are rare, that they destroy the evidence usually (they even have a rule about it) and that this is an unusual circumstance.

It reminds me of my wife who will sometimes lean over in the middle of some fantastical movie and say, "That part isn't believable."

"That part isn't believable?  But the part where he's flying around and bouncing off bullets is?"

All genres ask that you "suspend your disbelief."  All genres, granted, ask that you make it believable within the parameters of your premise. But certain things are given.

"Make it believable within the parameters of your premise."

As a bookstore owner, I have all types of readers.  Some can't suspend their disbelief enough to even read fiction.  Others draw the line at genre.  Still others draw the line at comics.

So as much as I like modern SF, for instance, I've gotten to the point where when they start drawing technological rabbits out of hats, it's no more believable than zombies or vampires.

Besides -- vampires?   I mean, really?

When I was a little boy, I was watching Sea Hunt, with Lloyd Bridges, and my dad made the comment that the character had more adventures in one episode than most cops would ever have in their entire lives.

I've always remembered that.  Always known that what I read is mostly ridiculous.

But also ridiculously entertaining.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Villainous schemes.

With DC's villains month, they have put about half of the money I've tried so hard to save up for taxes, at risk.

I'm way overextended if this thing doesn't pan out.

For all this risk, they have allocated so severely that I'll see maybe a 20% bump in sales on those titles.  Because I don't know what is going to happen, I've ordered more of the 2D regular covers than I really want to, because I don't want to disappoint the customers.

It isn't about the sales, it's about the customers.

They've put me in a position where I simply can't do the job I promised my customers I would do.

I mean I can say it's an "Act of (DC) God" and maybe they'll forgive me.

I will be able to return the 2D covers, but I have to pay for them and absorb that cashflow hit for at least a couple of months -- which happen to coincide with my taxes.

It was unnecessary and could have been planned better.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

A cool review of my book by Steve Perry.

I've been conversing online with writer Steve Perry in Portland, author of more than 50 science fiction books, his best known being the Matador series.
He's been very encouraging to me, giving me nuts and bolts advice.
He's been kind enough to post a review on his blog, 

Take away blurb?

"...if you like your undead to be more along the lines of  Fright Night  than you do Twilight, these will be your cup of gore ..."

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Both books covers, for contrast.

The third book will use the same design, with variations.

Do me a HUGE favor and go buy my first book from either Amazon or Smashwords.  You might like it!

Cover to my new book.

Have come up with a preliminary cover to my new book, the second book in the Vampire Evolution Trilogy.

Book will be ready in a couple of weeks, I hope.  It's all done but a little editing and formatting.

Monday, August 19, 2013

Writing no matter the distraction.

I'm kind of proud of yesterday's effort.

I woke up without a clue what I was going to write.  I went through my usual morning routine, which usually provides a clue.  Nothing.  I was feeling distracted.  Linda and I planned a movie at 3:00 so I only had a few hours, and our Sunday night is our big TV watching night.

I delayed getting started.

What would it hurt if I missed one day? I started to ask myself.

I lay on the bed in the dark and tried to come up with an idea.  A phrase came to mind, then another, and little by little, the scene started to come to me.  Most of what I wrote took some adjustment -- that is, it didn't come out quite the way I wanted.  But I forged ahead.

And in the end, the chapter I produced I think was as good as anything else I've done.  Maybe a little clunky in execution, but the scene felt real, which is the real goal.

So...I'm proud of myself for sticking to the schedule and getting it done.

I'm about 3/4ths of the way finished with Blood of Gold.  I'm going to feel like I really accomplished something if I can get an entire trilogy finished.

I keep coming up with one chapter at a time, though the ending is hazy. Usually by this time I've plotted the rest of the book.  I know I'm going to  have a big Good versus Evil battle at the end, but haven't a clear notion of how it's going to play out.

Meanwhile, I keep writing.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Writing fast means go ahead and try things.

One of the (many) mistakes with Nearly Human was that I felt like I needed to come up with more and more plot.

I've become much more comfortable with the thought that a plot will come.  That is, the length of the book won't be a problem.  Yes, I do generally write books in the smaller range -- my first drafts come in anywhere from 60,000 words to 80,000 words -- but if it tells the story, there's nothing wrong with that.

Since I write so quickly, I had the wild notion of completely redoing Nearly Human without ever referring to the original manuscript.  Take the characters and the basic premise and just start all over.

I may just do that.  Just redo it from the beginning.  It would be tricky -- trying to genuinely come up with a fresh approach -- but it might be worth a try

A great advantage to writing fast is I'm not afraid to try things.

Saturday, August 17, 2013

Leery of experts.

First of all, I don't want to come across as a "Know Nothing."  I mean, I understand we need experts for specialized knowledge.  I certainly don't intent to imply that getting information from someone who knows more than me is a bad thing.

But I have to be careful. 

There are at least a couple of columnists, for instance, that I figure if I take the opposite tack, I'll be more likely right.  I'm not talking opinion columnists -- I'm talking expert columnists.  People who have expertise in certain subjects.

And yet they're wrong.  Just about every time.

There is one guy, Seth Godin, who I'm especially leery of.

Sometimes he's right, but sometimes I think he's completely off base.

Thing is -- he says it so well!

That's the danger, that he writes so well and so persuasively that he'll convince you of something that's wrong.

I think it's all part of the same process -- to make a column interesting, he needs an interesting slant.  I believe that is his goal -- an interesting column.

But the interesting slant can make him wrong sometimes and right sometimes.  It's interesting because it has an element of contrariness.  No one is interested if you write something about how blue the skies are -- but if you maintain the sky is actually orange, and you marshal your arguments in an interesting and persuasive way, well, that makes a column worth reading.

So how do you know if an expert is all wet?  Unfortunately, I think you have to know enough about the subject to know whether the guy is right or wrong.

Which comes back to doing your own research, trusting your own experience and instincts.

I've found experts who were incredibly helpful to me -- but usually I only understood how good they were after I'd already made many of the mistakes they were warning me against.  Or after I followed their advice and found out how wrong they were.

Opinion maker -- beware.

Friday, August 16, 2013

In dire need of used shopping bags.

Do the environment a favor and drop them off either at Pegasus Books, or at my wife's store, the Bookmark.


Small encouragements.

Up to now I've just been enjoying the creative writing, without doing much about it.

I did have to step back and format "Freedy Filkins" and "Death of an Immortal", and I did have to work at coming up with covers, and I did have to figure out the procedures of how to join Amazon and Smashwords.  Those were all hurdles that I had to try to negotiate without interfering with the actual writing.

Other than that, I've avoided even thinking about what I need to do.

I'm still mostly ignoring it, but I can tell the day will come when I will have to learn the day to day mechanics of promoting my books.  It will be very distracting and I'm sort of hoping to delay that process for as long as possible, especially for as long as I'm on a creative roll.  I think the time is coming though, when I trust that this writing thing is real, that I'll have to risk it.

Meanwhile, I'm letting little encouragements motivate me to keep going.  Being in the Bulletin was nice.

I had my friend Paul come in yesterday.  I'd forgotten that I'd asked him to read my book.  This was dangerous because while Paul and I get along great, we seem to have completely different tastes in books and movies.  In fact, it's become somewhat of a joke between us that if Paul likes something, I won't and vice versa. 

So he announces,  "I read your book."

Oh, oh.

"And here's the thing ...  " he says with a frown.


"I loved it!  I thought it was great!"

"So you were surprised, eh?"

"No, I thought you had it in you, but I was amazed by how professional it was."

And so on.

Add this to my friend Bill who also liked it, but said he'd give me 4 stars out of 5.  "Write a review!" I exclaimed.

So, I know a couple of friends saying they like your book probably doesn't mean much to most people, but I think -- I hope -- I can gauge whether someone really means it -- especially if they are standing right in front of me.  When I'm told the same thing over Facebook or email, it's a little harder to gauge.  So I've gotten some very positive responses and some responses that seem positive but I can't really tell and I've gotten a number of people who have said they bought the book and then didn't say anything to me.   This last batch I figure fall in the camp of:  "If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all."

Anyway, these small encouragements are enough to keep me going.

Meanwhile I have to ask myself this question.

If Paul likes my book, and I almost never like the same books that Paul likes -- is that a good thing?

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Writing a synopsis.

So when I was talking about "distractions" from my writing, the article about me in the Bulletin was one of them.

Working today and then I'm diving back into Blood of Gold tomorrow.  I'm actually writing faster than the processes of finalizing the books can handle.  That is, I have to come up with covers to the books, wait for my editor to finish editing, and wait for my tech guy to find the time to help me format the books and covers.

Meanwhile, I keep writing.

I'm trying to write a two page synopsis of Led to the Slaughter.

Being detailed, it is pretty bare bones.  You can't put much artistic flourish into short descriptive paragraphs.  That's why it's a freaking book.

The options are to make the letter longer -- say three or four pages -- and add some artistic flourish.

Or to make it shorter -- say one page -- and just sort of hint at everything with a sort of blurby flavor.

I'll probably do both and experiment with them.

Back in the day, the publishers of Star Axe asked me for a short synopsis of the novel.  I responded with a very blurby kind of boosterish hinting of the story.  I have to say, I think I did a good job of it.  To my great surprise, when the book came out, my synopsis was on the back of the book, word for word.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

"Whatever happened to..."

I don't know how many of you read the "Whatever Happened To..." story about me in the Bulletin yesterday.  For those who didn't, here's a snippet:

"After early triumphs selling his three fantasy novels, Duncan let success go to his head.  "I can see now that I walked around with a big chip on my shoulder,' he says now.  "I was in an arrogant mood."

When his followup efforts didn't meet the same success, he started to go into a tailspin.  Drinking every night, wild parties, women and song, hanging around with ne'er do wells. 

Then tragedy struck.  His pet rat, Elmer, who had been his constant companion during his rise to fame suddenly died.

Duncan turned to heroin and cocaine.  "I can see now I was blinded by my blindness," he says with the wisdom of experience.

He spent the next two decades toiling in a dead-end retail job, selling of all things -- comics.

"Can't get any lower than that," he says now cheerfully.

Thankfully, around this time he met the woman of his dreams, Linda, who slowly but surely gave him the confidence to try again.  His cat, Panga, was his constant companion, meowing loudly, telling him to get to work typing again.  MEOW!  MEOW!  MEOW!!

Finally, he dipped his toe in the water, starting off with a humble blog.  "Sure, no one reads it.  But it gave me the confidence to try bigger things."

"I don't care if I have wild success again," he says.  "I just want to do my art."

And so on.  You know, the usual story.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

"Still writing like crazy."

There's an article up on the Bulletin, which is a followup on the article they did on me a couple years ago when I first started writing.

Pretty cool.

I'm not sure what the protocol here is, but I've reproduced the article here:

Duncan McGeary still 'writing like crazy'

• After a 25-year break from writing, he's tapping into his literary prowess with a number of projects

By Tyler Leeds / The Bulletin
Published: August 13. 2013 4:00AM PST
In 2011, Duncan McGeary overcame a 25-year spell of writer's block. Since then, he's more than made up for his long fallow period.
McGeary, the owner of Pegasus Books in downtown Bend, moved to Bend at age 3 in the 1950s and returned after going to college at the University of Oregon. After publishing three fantasy novels in the 1980s, he switched his focus to his family and business and let his literary ambitions fall to the wayside.
“When I first came back to writing a few years ago, it was a struggle," McGeary said. “I had to rework my first book, 'Nearly Human,' four times, but about a year ago it clicked and I've been writing like crazy since."
“Nearly Human" follows a private detective around Bend. The detective, Cobb, is an exiled fairy in human form who is less concerned with hunting recreation pass violators than with chasing down creatures not well known on the High Desert.
McGeary is already at work on a sequel concerning werewolves, and he plans for the third and fourth books to address ghosts and aliens.
While composing a four-part supernatural detective series may seem like a decade-long endeavor, McGeary's energy has also produced a “historical horror" take on one of the West's most macabre expeditions — “Led to the Slaughter: The Donner Party Werewolves."
Other projects include a vampire trilogy and what McGeary casually referred to as “a book about modern art full of philosophy."
One of his more attention-grabbing projects is titled “Freedy Filkins, International Jewel Thief."
“It's so weirdly nerd-specific that I'm not sure if the general public would like Freedy," McGeary said. “It's a modern story that parallels the Hobbit, but it isn't like the Hobbit. Instead of a ring, it's a flash drive, the one flash drive to rule them all."
Linda McGeary, Duncan's wife and the owner of The Bookmark, a used bookstore on the corner of Greenwood and Third Street, thinks he deserves to spend his time writing.
“I love it," she said. “The fact that he writes and writes and writes is great. He worked and worked and worked for nearly 28 years; it's time for him to get back to it."
Linda is also at work on a book, one she began 14 years ago but put off finishing.
“My husband keeps pushing me," she said.
Like many other writers, McGeary is exploring nontraditional routes to circumvent the declining publishing industry. Some of his books are available on digital devices through Amazon and Smashwords, an e-book distributor accessible online. Both “Freedy Filkins: International Jewel Thief" and the first in his vampire trilogy are on his Smashwords site for $2.99. However, McGeary says he's still experimenting with how to best make use of the Internet to get his books out to readers.
For now, though, he wants to focus on writing.
“My entire flow has been toward writing, and I've been really focused on that for a while," he said. “If I go in the publishing direction, I think I will lose it. I don't feel there's a hurry. I can always put it online or go to an agent, but you gotta write it first."
Prestige titles
McGeary's prolific nature doesn't end with his novels, as he has also blogged every day since 2006.
“I took a 25-year break from books; I'm so intense about writing, but blogging I can do in the morning when I drink coffee," he said. “Sometimes it's easy, sometimes it's hard. It doesn't always come easy."
Linda credits her husband's ability to stay so focused on writing his books and blog as a result of his introverted nature.
“I'm social; I need to get out and talk to people," she said. “But he can just stay in for hours and write. It's incredible he's be able to stay committed to his blog for so long."
The topics McGeary addresses on his blog, “Best Minimum Wage Job a Middle Aged Guy Ever Had," are far-ranging. Recent posts have touched on Jeff Bezos' purchase of the Washington Post and an evaluation of Bend's commitment to high-brow graphic novels.
While business has been good, a necessary condition for McGeary's writing habit, he did describe his decision to carry certain titles as more missionary than pecuniary.
“I carry these titles because that's my job as a comic shop," he said of his more demanding and literary graphic novels. “Old Hollywood had prestige movies that never made money; having these titles for sale is the equivalent."
On his blog, he noted, in particular, his inability to sell a copy of Chris Ware's critically praised “Building Stories," a collection of comics in different formats that address the lives of residents in an old Chicago walk-up.
“I hate to say it, but Chris Ware's 'Building Stories' was the last straw," McGeary wrote on his blog. “For 10 years now, I've tried to carry every significant independent title that is put out there. There are dozens per month, of which a few are super important. So I've always tried. And they rarely sell. At all. Month after month."
Despite the difficulty McGeary has faced moving certain titles, he cites his carefully curated stock as the reason he has been able to succeed while so many other independent bookstores have failed.
“If I had a store paralleling the best-sellers list, I'd be up against Amazon and Barnes and Noble, which can offer deep discounts," he said. “It's better for me to bank on the guy who comes in off the street after walking around downtown and says 'I've been looking for this everywhere.' That's the kind of business I'm in."
Familiar treasures by Faulkner and Hemingway dot the store, but so does a slightly delayed set of recent hits, the books that endured past their days on the New York Time's best-seller list, titles like Jennifer Egan's 2010 “A Visit from the Goon Squad" and Alison Bechdel's 2006 graphic memoir “Fun Home."
“People are generally submerged under new best-sellers," McGeary said. “I have no sympathy for a comic store that doesn't take the time to carry something as great as 'Fun Home.'"
— Reporter: 541-633-2160,

Monday, August 12, 2013

If this is the in-crowd, I want out.

The comics industry has a lobby group that I'd almost forgotten existed.

"Does Comics Pro still exist?  Have they started inbreeding yet?"

I was reminded of it by one of the major retailers incidentally mentioning that he'd quit Comic Pro because it was only representing the big stores, instead of all the stores --- especially the small stores.

Thing is, it was pretty obvious from the beginning that their instinct was to be Exclusive rather in Inclusive.

I had a problem with the original executive director who struck me as the quintessential "in-crowd" person.  That is, her instinct was to suck up to the big guys and look down on the little guys.  But I thought that was maybe just her, and that I should give the organization a chance.

Then I noticed that they had closed their discussion boards to anyone who wasn't a member.

So I thought this was shortsighted.  Here's the thing.  If you pretend to represent the comic industry, then you shouldn't be afraid to share information.  If I'm wondering whether to be a member, nothing would be more beneficial than for me to talk to the members, to hear what they're saying, to see what they're doing and so on...

Closed off, I nearly forgot about them.

The next time I heard about them was when they got "Special Covers" just for members.

Now exclusive covers have always existed as rewards.  If you fly to special meetings, you get a special cover.  I don't have a problem with that.

But when you pretend to represent the industry as a whole, then you'd better not be taking gifts that aren't available for the whole.

To me, it would be like the directors of a union receiving gifts from the manufacturers that isn't given to the rest of the members.  Taking something from the Man, instead of representing the members.

The next time Comics Pro came to my attention was when there was a big problem -- I can't remember what it was (must not have been very big, eh?) --  and I asked what Comics Pro was doing about it.

No answer.

Finally, I asked.  "Are you still there?"

So the executive director came up finally and said what the policy was ... something committee speak and so diplomatic as to be useless.

"Who knows this?" I asked.  "Was it ever announced?"

Turns out the executive committee knew, but no one else.  So I said, "If you are going to be of any use to any of us, don't you think you should tell us what you're doing?"

So for about a quarter of a year thereafter, the Comics Pro people were pretty good about coming on other sites and announcing what they were doing.  (Which usually didn't seem like much...)

Then they disappeared again.

To me, this seem to be true of most organizations who supposedly represent the broader membership -- they eventually only represent themselves.

I'm sure they're still out there, but they seem pretty useless.  If you say you represent, then you better represent.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

My writing process.

I've fallen into a routine, which is great.

I get up around 8:00 or so, give or take an hour, and drink my coffee and read the morning paper and peruse the net.  Then I usually write my blog, if I haven't already done so.

I get up and going around 10:00, which is what I do when I'm working.  I don't open the store until 11:00, and that extra hour saved my sanity back in the day when I was working all the time.

So around 11:00 I'm all ready to go.  Sometimes I'll fix something to eat before I start, sometimes I do it in the middle of my writing daze.

I spend another hour thinking about what I want to write, and then around noon I retreat to the bedroom, with the lights out, the white noise of the fan, and lay on the bed and put a pillow over my eyes and think and daydream and mull until a scene comes full blown into my mind, the first few sentences already written.

I grab my laptop and get started.

Somewhere between 2 to 4 hours later I'll have nearly the wordage I'm wanting for the day.  Usually a little short, for some reason, and often rough.

I take an hour or two off.  Goof off, try not to think about writing, but not take on any other chore either.  Blank space, recharging time.

Then I go back the bedroom and repeat the process.  I finish whatever I was writing and polish what I've already written.

By then it is usually past dinner, so I eat something and if there is anything on TV I'll watch that, but if there isn't sometimes I'll go back and start writing again, but only if it comes naturally.

If not, I'll dwell in a kind of creative fog, where little hints and portents of what I want to accomplish come to me, ready to use the next day.

All the other time is spent in a kind of -- not writing but not not writing either.  A creative fog or daze or whatever you want to call it.

Sometimes I'll get stuck, plotwise.  So instead of writing, I take the same time and energy to think about where I want the plot to go.  Ask myself questions.  Sometimes showering really helps, for some reason.  Sometimes wandering around the house mumbling to myself.  Sometimes I go to my blog and just start jotting down ideas -- which leads to other ideas.

When I've got enough stored up, then I can start writing again.

The chapters come fast when I'm in the grip of the story, and its amazingly fun and gratifying to do.

Saturday, August 10, 2013

A cheap experience, not a good one.

To follow up on my previous post, that goes in spades for discounting.

So I'm seeing this phenomenon in my store of people really, really liking something -- really, really wanting it, and then not buying it because it's not discounted.

Not overpriced, mind you.  Just not on sale. 

Then they turn around and buy something on "Sale" that they seem only lukewarm about.

These aren't poor people I'm talking about.  These are people who if they bought the book they really wanted would probably never think about it again.

But it's worse than that.

Because the item they "really, really" want may be something they won't find anywhere else at any price, as least not without quite of bit of effort and even then it might cost them as much.

For example, let's say I know of a book that is a underground classic, a favorite among a few in-the-know people -- so I go out of my way to get it in the store, knowing that that it won't sell right away but knowing that if I carry enough of that type of thing, someone will buy it eventually.

That's my competitive advantage, if you will.  Carrying that thing that is just under the radar.

But I ask full price.  You know, the price on the cover.  Because I'm taking the risk of stocking something that isn't obvious, takes longer to sell, and requires some specialized knowledge.

That's all.  Not overcharging, just the original SRP.

And the person, who has probably had his or her eye out for that title forever and "can't ever find it" get's all excited, then asks, "How much?"

"The price on the cover."

They put it back.


We've lost sight of what really counts.

The experience itself.

We'd rather have a cheap experience than a good one.

Friday, August 9, 2013

No "Free" for you!

Always dangerous to argue against free.

What happens in my store when I have a free giveaway?

"Can I have two?"

Every time.  Think about that.

There's been a couple of articles lately about the problem of too many free events.   Today in the Bulletin it's about the Les Schwab pirates.  Bunch of free-loaders getting free music.  What's wrong with that?  I'm assuming that they're not selling enough tickets.

Yesterday I had a couple of guys complain about how they never can find any manga or anime they want anymore.  "Sometimes I don't just want to torrent something, I want to own it," one of them said, thereby confirming that he usually torrents.

They seemed surprised to hear that Best Buy and Barnes and Noble were carrying less manga and anime.  Certainly, I'm carrying less.   Still, because I don't dump stuff, there is an irony developing where I actually have more than anyone else again...

Then there was the Source article, "Something for Nothing:  Is There Such a Thing as a Free Concert?"

Let's spend all summer distracting the tourists with free events.  Oh, dear.  Too many.

I will extend this concern into the commercial realm.  We are told as bookstore that we must offer the "third space" a free space to sit and talk and have events and sip one cup of coffee or wine and sit and look at magazines or books, have readings, or listen to music.

In return, we are told, we will be rewarded with loyal business.

I've never bought into this notion.  The amount of space, time, and energy devoted to "free" is better used to fill with legit merchandise that people want.  Having "legit merchandise that people want" is a service too.

You have constant events downtown that close the streets, offering "free" entertainment.  You know my feelings about that.  But, you know, it has a huge lobby.  Or as Bill said, "It's not all about business, you know."  Seeing as how I'm paying rent downtown and employees and hopefully myself, well, yeah it is "all about business..."

You have the internet where almost everything is at cost.  I've got competitors online selling Magic and sports cards for below cost.  (Don't ask how -- it's complicated and stupid and half the time dishonest.)

Meanwhile, if you are offering any kind of artistic effort you're told that you can get followers by offering it "free" or at very low cost.  Give it away, and they'll become buyers.

Again, I'm not sure that is what really happens.

It's like saying that if you feed a kid enough candy he'll eat his vegetables.

The amount of reward coming in on any entertainment -- music, movies, books, newspapers and magazines -- is not commiserate to the old pay models.  Doesn't matter.  It's free and you can't fight it.

And finally, you have a business model like Amazon where they have never actually turned a profit for books, which more or less makes them the equivalent for business profits of "free."  Meanwhile, hardworking people who are trying to earn a living are closing down.  Our last independent bookstore closed down in Bend a few months ago...

So these "free" activities have a huge following -- of course -- and being against them for any reason makes you the bad guy.  But I think it's all promotion gone mad: what's really happening is you replace reality with promotion and supposedly that will make a bigger reality but instead just creates more promotion.

It's the law of unintended consequences.

So in that spirit, I offer -- "Let's have twice as many!"

Thursday, August 8, 2013

SNAFU. DC Villains.

When you have an industry dominated by two players, you're going to be at the mercy of their decision making.

In comics, Marvel and DC are by far the biggest players.  I think of Marvel as General Motors and DC as Ford.

So Ford -- I mean DC -- decided to take an entire month of comics and completely change what they offered.  Instead of the regular New 52 titles, Batman, Superman, Green Lantern, Justice League, Flash, Green Arrow, etc. etc., they would offer us 52 different villains.

Now, I didn't recognize all 52 villains frankly.  I thought it was a dubious idea.

Mistake number two was that instead of a villain for each of the New 52, which I could put in one on one ratio on the shelves, they broke up the 52 villains and connected them to about 10 titles.  So there are 5 Batman villains, and 5 Justice League villains and so on.

So if you were signed up for Batman, for instance, instead (1) 3.99 comic that month, you might get 24.00 worth of comics (including the overall crossover comic that ties them altogether.)

So now what do I do?

I suppose I should point out that most of my comic sales are on prearranged shelves with customers who ask for the same titles every month.  I'm obligated to do my very best to make sure these people get what they want.

The kicker is, the covers to these new villain covers are going to be Lenticular, which is a 3D motion effect, and were going to cost 1.00 more per comic. 

There was going to be no way to order these correctly.  Either I was going to order too many, or I was going to order too few.

Since the store is in good shape, I decided I could risk ordering a few more than normal.  I chose 1 villain for each of the major titles to put on my shelves, with the offer that they could exchange it for one of the other covers.

So a couple of days ago, DC announced they were going to allocate the comics.  That we would get between 50 to 100% of what we ordered, based on past history.  (They had to submit production numbers before they got the retailer numbers.)

Of course, this is going to have the opposite effect -- there will probably be a huge demand for these comics now that I might be only getting 50% of what I ordered.


Now my main focus is in getting through this month without too many customers mad at me.  I'll point out to them that the news was out there of what was coming (though not the numbers) and that I'd have been glad to take their preorders.  But nobody did that.  I solicited for a few regulars for a few days before the news came out and I stopped.   No sense promising people something I may not be able to deliver.

They're offering us a 2D version to make up the shortfall, which really only compounds the uncertainty.  Unless these are made returnable, I may order none of these poor cousins.

The biggest problem is that the difference for some of the villains on some of the bigger titles -- such as Batman, where I can sell 50 copies -- aren't any more attractive than the villains of my lessor titles -- such as Green Lantern, where I sell 3 copies.  So I'm going to have a lot of some villains for some titles and extremely few of other titles -- not based on the actual villains but based on the popularity of the title that is only tangentially connected.

Another problem is that most of us retailers use the FOC -- the Final Order Cutoff -- for our real numbers.  It turns out, it doesn't matter what our FOC is, we're getting our allocation based on the initial orders -- which makes nonsense of the entire purpose of the FOC.

There are tons more problems here, but I'll stop.

I'm going to be getting my real numbers tomorrow.

I'm going to have to figure out a way to be fair to my regulars -- make sure that they are all happy without them getting more than their fair share.  But no matter what I do, some of them won't be happy.

I'm not sure how many I'll have to sell the the regular public, so any publicity from now one may only serve to make me look like I don't know what I'm doing.  So even by risking 40% more orders, I'm still going to look like I was a pipsqueak that didn't order enough to satisfy demand.

I'm thinking my overall orders ended up being about 40% higher than usual, so a 40% cut leaves me at the same place -- but with much higher demand.  I won't profit from this SNAFU because I can't profit from what I can't sell.

Way to go DC.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Harnessing the obsessive/compulsive.

When I started writing fiction again about two and a half years ago, I had two goals.

One was to write, of course.

The other though, equally important, was to figure out a Work Process that would be effective.

Writing is a compulsive/obsessive activity, so if you have compulsive/obsessive tendencies you might be in trouble.  My job was to find a way to harness that compulsive/obsessive behavior.

I knew from the past that I tended to go back and change things in a manuscript over and over again and to make a mess of it and to finally get to a point of "word jumble" where I couldn't see the story at all.  I also tended to set off blindly writing and finding myself in corners or being forced to use cliche story elements to finish the book.

So I wanted to avoid those things.

What I first did was write Nearly Human all the way through.  I got stuck.  I forced on an ending on it that ended up being a problem but unable to change it.  I rewrote it a number of times.  Trying to rediscover what I had once known about writing.

In return for this, the writing is a little more polished on this manuscript, the plot a much more  messy and static, and there is probably slightly more texture but less flow.  The tone was changed a number of times.  The emotional life of the manuscript was constructed rather than felt.  It is dangerously close to word jumble.

In other words, Nearly Human became my practice manuscript.  When it came time to write the next book, I had learned enough that it came easier -- but still a little messy.  By Freedy Filkins, I got into a groove and it's been pretty much clear sailing ever since.

Something clicked -- the joy of telling a story.

I learned to do more plotting and planning, both before the book starts and before each chapter.  I learned to pace myself.  

So all that is good.

I am still emotionally connected to my stories (they aren't a word jumble.)  I feel like they flow, that they are quick and easy and fun.  I think they're pretty good.  I'm afraid heavy rewriting will take away more than it would add.

But --

 I'd still like to find a way to add a bit more depth and texture to my stories.  I've mentioned before that I hate rewriting.  I force myself to do it when I feel it is necessary (and don't get me wrong, I rewrite all the time, just not tearing down the entire book and redoing it kind of rewriting.)

Anyway, I've decided that I need to perhaps refine the work process, frontload it if you will, but try not to mess with the joy of creating.  The joy of creating has been very productive and I have to think I've gotten better through the doing -- (not the redoing).

So I think the next book I start I will continue the process of trying to think it through before I start and to plot the books and chapters as much as possible.

So the extra step is this.  When I've finished the day's new writing, I set it aside and sleep on it.  Then I wake up the next morning and work on trying to add depth and texture.  Then take a break and write the next section.

I'll still hold to the rule of not allowing myself to make massive changes, or to obsess over previously written material.  Just that one extra step.

I don't know if this will work -- I don't know if the critical part of the brain will interfere too much with the creative part of the brain.  Maybe the two things need to be reversed -- do the original material first, take a break, and then rewrite in the evening.  (But I'm a great believer in sleeping on problems which is why I want to try the other way first.)

I want to do one more refinement.  Do a rewrite.  Just flat out force myself to do a real top to bottom rewrite.  Just once -- enough to improve but not word jumble.

I kind of liked the way I did a Nearly Human rewrite one time.  (I've done at least 4 top to bottom rewrites of this book -- the old problems.)   I put all the numbers of chapters in a hat and did them randomly.  It gave me the feeling of instead of starting from scratch at the bottom of the mountain again that I was halfway up, or three quarters way up, then at the bottom, then at the top.  It was random enough to keep my interest.

So I'll try that.

So the refinements I've come up with.

1.) Even more thinking and planning and plotting before I start the book than I'm already doing.

2.) Give myself one shot at rewriting each chapter within a day of writing them.

3.) Force myself to do a final rewrite.

Most of all though I get a sense that I'll get better at this by continuing doing.  Write away -- have fun doing it, try to improve, and just keep writing.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Amazon will own the influencing machine.

So I envision a world where Walmart and Amazon own everything, probably as partners...

I'm sort of amazed at the generally positive reaction to the news that Jeff Bezos of Amazon is buying the Washington Post.

Right off the bat it seems to me that too much power is being given to one man.

On top of buying the premier online site for recommending books, "Good Reads" this seems to give Bezos unprecedented ability to shape the message.

If you read the NY Times, for instance, you realize how many of the stories in local newspapers all over the country are shaped by the big newspapers.  The Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post are the other two big generators of stories.

This gives Bezos an ability to shape the news, sitting on top of the tipping points, more or less influencing the direction of what becomes culturally significant, what becomes a best-seller.

The federal government appears to have complete abrogated their duty to make sure that no one entity gets so big it has monopolistic powers.

Basically, if you aren't part of his influence machine, you are going to be left out.

Writing looks a lot like loafing.

I need lots and lots of space surrounding my writing.

Yesterday was an interesting day.

I'd reached a point in the book where I didn't know where to go next.   So I decided to devote the day to working out a plot for the rest of the book.

It came in tiny little snippets.  One after another.  Sometimes with hours between ideas.  One little idea at a time, slowly constructing, being plucked from my mind.  Sometimes I had a specific problem that needed to be addressed and I waited for an answer.  Other times, something simply came to me.

But by the end of the evening, I had a good part of the rest of the book worked out, at least enough to keep going.

It didn't seem like I was doing much all day.  I mean, altogether I doubt the actual amount of time I took writing down the ideas was more than an hour.  But I spend 12 hours doing it.  I need lots and lots of space surrounding my writing. 

Every time an idea comes, it has to feel right.  It has to fit with the rest of the elements.  I still have a couple of problems, but I'm going to wait for them to resolve.  Maybe by sleeping on it.  They don't have to be addressed for a few chapters, so I'm hoping something will come to me by then.

But there is a pleasing symmetry to the plot, that feels right, that feels big enough to be the climax of three books.

Anyway, the space I need for writing is something on the order of 4 to 1.  That is, for every hour that I'm actually typing, there are 3 hours when I'm mulling.  When you include the fact that I can't have any major activities until after I'm finished, the space grows even wider.

The reason I've been so productive is that I don't do much of anything else.  Everything is sliding; cleaning the house, doing repairs, taking care of chores, gardening.  None of that is happening.

I'm reading less, watching less TV, going to movies less often, not going on drives, or any other activity.  I goof off playing solitaire, laying on my back thinking -- often falling into a nap -- getting snacks, and so on.

Not exactly a healthy way to live.

The biggest difference -- that only thing that allows me to write -- is having more time off from work.  That had to come first.

I don't know how other writers do it -- but I seem to need that space to get anything accomplished.

Monday, August 5, 2013

What is art?

Slogging my way through "New Art City" by Jed Perl, a book about the modern art movement in NYC.

What I love about it are the constant questions of:

What is art?

Who is an artist?

What is success?

It's clear that most of these artists struggled for years with no guarantee of success.  In fact, most of them thought they were going nowhere.  Some broke through on talent, some on self-promotion, some by luck, some by just hanging in the art scene long enough to get noticed.

The question of "commercial" art comes up again and again.  (Much like in the music industry you hear about "selling out.")  It was a small world and most of their notoriety came from others in their circle and much of that came from their personalities, and who they hung out with, and so on.  That the outside world would ever take notice of them seemed remote.

I've noticed in writing that some writers pay a whole lot of attention to trends and what might sell.  Others pay no attention at all.

I'm somewhat paying attention but I don't let it change what I do unless I'm already inclined to do so.  I tend to think my tastes are more or less commercial in the sense that I'm simply trying to tell a story and that the kind of story I like is likely to be the kind of story that other people like me would like and since I'm pretty centrist in my tastes, that's what I write. Like, you know what I mean?

So for instance, just the realization that "series" of books are more likely to catch on than single books was enough to get me to change.  But I'm not really selling out, since I have no problem with doing it.  In fact, now that I've started, I kind of like it.

That doesn't preclude the one-ups.  Led to the Slaughter is probably a one-up.  (Though the main character certainly could go on being a Monster Hunter based on the last chapter.)

So that was an easy concession to make to commercialism because I like the idea of a Trilogy or a series anyway.

I write the stories that come to me.  I decided not to try to pick and choose which ones to write but write the story that appeals to me the most at the time, whether I think it fits any grand plan or whether it's commercial or not.  Writing is the thing.

Linda's comment about my books is "Thank god they aren't filled with Teenage Angst.  I'm so sick of Teenage Angst."  Which is an interesting comment in that she must think my books are young adult and I keep getting people to say that and when I look back on my early books I see them as directed at teenagers even thought I didn't think I was doing that at the time.

But I wouldn't know how to write teenage angst if a teenager angst-ed all over me.   I write what I write and if it's commercial then great, if not ...well, not much I can do about it.  Hard enough to write without being able to write what I want.

The idea of "Pure" art is interesting.  That is, it doesn't matter if you are obscure as long as you are producing art.  OK.  But how does anyone know?

I'm inclined to keep writing, no matter what, and hold out faith that some people will eventually find what I wrote. 

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why a Trilogy?

I was talking to a customer, telling him that I always wanted to write a Trilogy.

He answered, "I never understood this trilogy thing.  Why not write five books, if you need to? Or one?  Whatever it takes?"

Because --- Trilogy!

OK.  I get what he's saying.

But I still want to write a Trilogy.

I think it goes back to my absolute love of Lord of the Rings.  It was the first time I ever heard of a "trilogy" and it was exciting to me that one story could span three books.  I'd always read series of books throughout my childhood.  But they were all separate books -- maybe with the same setting and characters and backgrounds, but each a new book.

So to me, writing a Trilogy was the ultimate achievement.

I didn't expect the Vampire Evolution Trilogy to expand past the first book, but there were a couple of loose ends and when I picked the threads, it turned into a book, which has now turned into three books.  Each book is a little broader in scope than the previous one.

I'm finding that writing one long story in a Trilogy (by the way, I think they are perfectly readable as stand alone books or out of order) has certain problems and advantages that I wouldn't know about if I hadn't tried.

Meanwhile, I envision my Cobb and Company books, of which Nearly Human and Wolflander were the first two as a series of books -- but not as one large story.  Each story complete in itself -- maybe with the same setting and characters and backgrounds.

It's different.

I'm well into the third book, so it's going to happen, knock wood.  I've decided to simply adapt the first cover to the different colors of blood in my books.  Red/blue/gold.  Vary the background a little, but use the same design.  So it will be one long package.


Saturday, August 3, 2013

Flow my words.

For the almost the first time since I started on this latest kick of writing, I'm having a little trouble keeping it going.  I've had almost a year where the words just flowed.

Hell, it's almost a relief.  I was beginning to think it was too easy.

The last blockage I had, which only lasted a week or two was when I got to the dire happenings in the last half of Led to the Slaughter.  How do I depict the day to day misery and decline?  When I decided on using a diary format, it was off the races again.

Of course, the worst blockage I had was two years ago when I got about a third of the way through Nearly Human and stalled.  That took months to overcome.  I finally overcame it by forcing a plot on it.  From the outside.  An artificial plot.

Of course, this being fiction, all plots are artificial.  But this was induced more by a conscious desire to finish the book than to find an organic way.

I can't be sorry I did it, really.  I finished the book and that made it easier to start the next book and the next.  But I also swore I'd never force a plot again.

So is that what I'm doing now?

Not quite the same, I think.  I'm forcing the writing, the flow of words.  But the plot and theme are pretty clear to me and seem to be coming naturally.  They just aren't coming in a flow of words.

I had a major distraction, which I won't go into -- but it really threw me.  It was a self-inflicted distraction at that.  I should have known better.

So now, I'm sort of forcing the writing hoping that the flow will come back.  So far, not so much, though the last half of the last chapter actually flowed pretty well.

So maybe it's happening...

Friday, August 2, 2013

July results.

The month was down more that I would have liked.  Can I blame the heat?

Profits were good -- though I can't always tell during the actual month but have to see what the residual effects are over the following months.

COMICS:  Down.  Not sure why.  Everyone is reporting great sales nationwide.  Good old Bend.

CARDS:  Down.  A couple of box sales either way...

CARD GAMES:  Down.  Not much control over this category.

GAMES:  Up.  That's encouraging.

BOOKS: Almost exactly the same.

This, folks, is why I added games and books...highest percent of sales since Christmas.

TOYS:  About the same.

GRAPHIC NOVELS:  Down, slightly.

Bend just isn't a comic town.  I actually feel like there is more potential in books these days...  The more good books I have, the more I sell.  The only thing constricting that is the amount of space.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

More good books than I have room for...

I hate to say it, but Chris Ware's Building Stories was the last straw.  For ten years now I've tried to carry every significant independent title that is put out there.  There are dozens per month, of which a few are super important.  So I've always tried.

And they rarely sell.  At all.  Month after month.

Building Stories won just about every award.  It was sold out in most places during the Christmas season.

My one copy sat there all season and then on  into this year and it sits there still.  Lonely.   Untouched.  Not even looked at.

So -- like a movie theater admitting that art films don't pay, I've got to give it up.  I have to stick to proven sellers.

I'll be very very open to special ordering.  If someone so much as mentions a title, I'll probably order it.  But pursuing an art book policy when there is no art book clientele is just stupid.

How disappointing.

Well, I'll probably still get the most significant titles -- I'd probably still order Building Stories today, but I just won't do it as much or as often.

Part of it is that graphic novels have matured so much that no one bookstore can carry them all anymore.   Just like no one bookstore can carry all the books published.  For years, it was relatively easy to get just about every significant graphic novel that came out, but not anymore.

There was a period early on when a comic shop could order every comic, but those days are long gone -- at least for me.

So in some ways this is just a sign that graphic novels have become so viable overall that they don't require every shop carrying them to succeed anymore.