Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Review in the Source.

Thought I'd go ahead and post this week's review of Led to the Slaughter in the Source:

Interesting how much background information she put into the review.  Like she researched it after reading the book.  Which means the whole thing interested her.

A positive review I think.


The Vampire Evolution Trilogy is supposed to be released tomorrow.

Death of an Immortal.
Rule of Vampire.
Blood of Gold.

I hope it goes smoothly.

The pre-sale (still have a few hours! Only 99 cents!) was on B & N; Smashwords; and Apple.

I'm hoping the books will pop up on Amazon tomorrow.  

I have no idea what to expect.  I've taken a more restrained approach to asking people to buy my book this time.  No contacting people directly.  Just posting the occasional bulletin on the social sites.

I want to buy a bunch of paperback copies for the store, but I haven't heard from the publisher.  The paperbacks of Led to the Slaughter didn't reach me until about 3 weeks after the ebook version was up.

Led to the Slaughter seems to sell at the same pace, day after day.  Not setting the world on fire, but not completely dropping off the lists either.  I won't really know for months.

It's strange -- you can be in the top 1% to 5% of all books sold -- and it still doesn't mean much, since by my calculations, there are over 2000 books a day being published, and millions in print.

I had a minimum sales level in mind when I started, and we exceeded that early on.  Far beyond what I was able to accomplish on my own, so having a publisher proved its worth.

So I'm happy.

It's encouraging enough to keep trying.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Oh, Faerylander! My problem book.

Oh, Faerylander!  I love you and I hate you.

There are so many admirable qualities about you, amidst the drek.  I started you with the wrong tone.  I went sideways for most of the story.  Slowly but surely, I changed the tone, and added forward momentum.  But the drek is sticky, and hard to take out, and there is still a lot of sideways movement.

What is needed?  What isn't?  I can't tell anymore.

Linda read through the last version and found a ton of inconsistencies -- "You need to draw a timeline and a map," she says.

But the problem is that I had two versions that were fundamentally different -- but each more or less consistent on their own, and I tried to combine the two.

My friend Bren has read the first two chapters, and she has plucked the doubts from my brain and pointed them out.  Yep, she's right.  I was hoping no one would notice.  I don't think that's a good way to approach a book -- hoping no one will notice the secret doubts.

So now, even though I've gotten everyone started on the latest draft, I'm thinking of reverting back to the draft just before that, which is about 25K shorter.

I'm also thinking that instead of trying to fix the second chapter -- which has always been the problem chapter -- I should just try to write it from scratch.  I'm not sure I can do that.  I have that chapter so deeply ingrained.

I will never, never, never do this again with a book.  What the Hell.  I could've written half a dozen books in the time I've spent on this.   I mean, in some ways it was unavoidable -- it was my "learning" book if you will, my "practice" book.

So one more attempt to get it right...then I just go with it.  I've written one sequel already and I'm 20% into another sequel, so I have to put it out.  Otherwise I'd just give up.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Where is this story going?

I'm not sure if I'm getting more sophisticated in my plotting, or just more sloppy.

I've always had a tendency to not be completely linear.  I've always been partial to flashbacks and parallel plots.

But now I'm being non-linear in the regular narrative.  Complicated back and forths, with quite a few characters.

I like it.  I feel like it works.  I guess I'll find out if it works when others read it.

I think this is just being more comfortable writing.  Not so worried about the "rules" or what I perceive to be the rules.  My general approach to things is to believe that rules exist for a reason, and you break them at your peril.

But I think in fiction, whatever works -- works.

It's amazing to me how each book takes on its own identity -- even in a series, I'll change tone and style.  But it's this internal dynamic that makes writing interesting to me.  Each time, I find that the story comes from inside and takes form without any reference to the outside world. 

It is what it is.  It exists as its own thing.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Treating it like a job.

I enjoy writing first drafts.  As if I'm telling myself a story, like being really engrossed in a book.  I like being surprised, I like felicitous phrasing, characters who suddenly do something unexpected.  I like where the story often goes in unforeseen directions. 

I like most everything about that creative process.  The thinking, the planning, the attempt to put  down on paper what is in my head.  It is very fulfilling and satisfying.  I can even get a kind of 'high' from it.

But as anyone who reads this knows, I dislike re-writing, most of the time.  But I know it is necessary, maybe more so for me than most writers.  I usually need to flesh out the story.

Anyway, what I think is happening is that the original material is getting too far ahead of the revised material.

I don't want to stop writing the original material -- that's the motivation, the fun.  I find that if I take more than a few weeks away from writing, I start feeling antsy.

But I also don't want to leave a bunch of unfinished manuscripts.  If I do, all that inspiration goes to waste.  I may be very prolific, but I haven't really taken into account the months it takes to shape each original manuscript into shape.

In some ways, I can't rush it.  My editor actually takes more time editing than I do writing.

But I think I think there are things I can do before that final step.  I can make some progress on the formerly written manuscripts, shape them up, make them closer to being ready to be published.

I have found that writing 2000 original words a day is the most effective pace for me.  I could write more than that, but it is better to leave myself a little hungry for the next day.  Sometimes, if I push it, it becomes a trudge -- which I don't want.  2000 words is still a pretty big chunk, and as long as I do it every day, the first drafts of the books can be finished in about 2 months. 

But I'm finding that it really only takes a few hours to write 2000 words.  Add in cushion I give myself to nurture and think, and it is still less than a full time day.

So I'm thinking what I need to do is write the 2000 words as soon in the day as possible -- which I have already found is the most effective thing to do -- and then come back later in the day and pick up some of the unrevised manuscripts and work on them.

It may not work.  I don't want to be distracted from the original story I'm attempting.  But I think I'll give it a try.

If it doesn't work, I'll quit messing with what has been a very effective formula immediately.  But if it does work, it will help me finish up the backlog of material I've created.  Shape it up, make it nearly ready for publishing.  I can get most of the way there, but I still feel like I need an editor(s).  Beta testing if you will.

But most of the material isn't ready for that final step, so I need to get on that.

Treat it like a job.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Happy to be writing again.

Finally just started writing Ghostlander again.

I waited a couple of weeks for plot ideas to come to me, and nothing really arrived.  So I had to weigh the cost of starting off without a plot in mind (thus the danger of writing myself into blind corners) versus waiting too long to get writing.  (The longer I wait, the harder it is to start.)

I decided yesterday I needed to go forward without a roadmap, into unexplored territory, and just hope that my subconscious will find a way.

The thing about ghost stories, I decided, is that they are fundamentally illogical.  What happens is disconnected from the real world by definition. 

What counts in a ghost story is atmosphere, I think.  I believe I've got an approach that will work there.

So I'm going forward with my 2000 words a day pace, and keeping my fingers crossed that all the elements come together.

Friday, April 25, 2014

Tired of waiting for the next book in a series?

Hey, my people,

My publisher is putting all three books of the Vampire Evolution Trilogy on the same day. May 1. Complete and done.

Not only that, but the books are only 99 cents each in advance for the ebook, for the next six days.

I'm hoping to have physical copies in my store as soon as possible, but for a grand total of 2.97 you can really affect how this book is received by the wider world.

Barnes and Noble and Smashwords and Apple are all taking pre-orders until May 1.

Give it a try! All it costs is 2.97 and you're helping me out immensely!

I won't bug you again about it. Just one last call out.

Thanks, everyone.

Thursday, April 24, 2014


I've been denying my allergies for years.  But they've slowly gotten worse, until this year they are just really slamming me.

I grew up in a household where my mother announced, "No one in this family has allergies."

And so no one did.  Because Libby McGeary declared it so.  Such is her strength of will that here I am, a 61 year old man, still bending to her iron will.

Sorry, Mom.  This is a bad case of allergies...

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Historically accurate?

Read the 5th chapter of The Dead Spend No Gold at writer's group, and it pretty much passed muster.

The thing the readers have the most problem with is my Indian girl character, who I have as made a well-spoken, well-read character --- opposite of the pidgin English cliche.  She was raised my missionaries from young age.

So I'm more or less doubling down on her being well spoken, and trying harder to show why.  I'm thinking of throwing in the occasional "thees and thous" into her conversation to make the difference even more noticeable.

The other thing that comes up when you write historical novels is attitudes towards sex and religion and race.  You can't really write the characters in the most accurate manner and have a modern novel, not unless you're Charles Portis. 

The trick is to hint at the differences, but not so that they distract from the story.  You want it to "feel" authentic, without going so far as to make is seem too anachronistic to enjoy.

So for example -- when reading Richard Stark or John D. MacDonald, the differences in attitudes toward race and sex -- and especially toward women, just leaps out at you.  It seems crazy that we had those attitude just 50 years ago, much less the 160 years ago that I'm writing about.

But you take the time and space into account when you read those stories.

However -- if you wrote a modern novel in that time-period, and you used the same "historically accurate" attitudes, I think the subject would be exactly that -- not whatever else you wanted to write about.  It would be "ironical."  It would be Little Big Man.  Which is a great book, but isn't what I'm writing.

So the trick is to acknowledge the differences, to show them in passing, but not let them take over the story.  You're writing for a modern audience.  You have to reflect modern attitudes, while at the same time being respectful of the actual events, trying not to tip too far in either direction.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Engaged in writing, or engaged in the world?

I was perfectly happy for that miracle year of writing where all I did was write and didn't worry about anything else. I just kept writing and writing.

Then I ventured to put a few of those words into the world, and met with a little success.  Ever since, I've been less engaged in writing, and more engaged in the world.

Can I get back to that pure writing?

Not completely.  I've broken the mold.  The world has taken hold.

I guess the trick is to try to regain some of that momentum and still be engaged, still get what I've already written polished and ready for publication.  

I think while I'm in the process of writing a first draft of anything, I need to disengage and simply write.  I've had a hard time clearing the decks for Ghostlander.  I've got the first two chapters down, but I'm hesitating to make the plunge until everything is ready.

Which isn't the way I was thinking during my miracle year.  During that year, I simply put writing above everything else.

Can I do that again?

I was aware of how unusual that was even while it was happening.  I just went with the flow.  But finally, after a year, I broke off and tried to put some of those words into the world -- and once I did that, I broke the chain.

I'm wishing I could just disengage again with the world for a year or something.  Not try to get my books into the world, but just put on blinders and write.

Unfortunately, I don't think I can do that.  I've got a small momentum in the published world, and I need to try to keep that going.   I need to try to get already written material ready for the real world.

So I'm struggling with that balance.

Just like everyone else.

Monday, April 21, 2014

What are ghosts?

I'm still trying to get a handle on my ghost story.

What does a ghost story mean?  Are ghosts bad memories, representing the past?  Are they vengeance and justice?   Are they just free-floating evil?  Are they from some portal into darkness?  Are they unrequited life?

I need to get a sense of what the book is, somehow.   Because I don't have a clear sense of what I'm trying to say, I haven't started yet, after a week of mulling it over.

But I've waited long enough, nothing has happened.  So I'm going to go ahead and start writing my 2000 words per day, starting today, and hope that something starts to develop.

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Local bookstores.

And by local, I mean Central Oregon.

I took some copies of Led to the Slaughter to Sunriver Books and Paulina Springs Books (Sister's branch.)  I wasn't going to do more than mention my book, and if they were willing to take them on, do whatever felt comfortable to them.  Even to the point of giving them some copies.

They both took on some copies on consignment.

Once again I was impressed by both bookstores.  They are very well stocked, a nice curation of good books, and knowledgeable staff and owners.

I told both of them -- though perhaps not in my own best interests -- that I thought they would do well with a bookstore in downtown Bend.  I don't think either of them are interested, though.  I'm sure someone will take it on the task someday.  If I was just a tad younger and I hadn't already diverted my attention toward writing -- I'd be tempted myself.

But having opened 4 and closed 3 stores, I'm well aware that the reality of starting a business is ten times harder than the planning.  And more expensive.

It's not just double the work to have two stores, it's more like triple or quadruple the work.

I could do it, and I'd love the challenge, but I must rein myself in.

Meanwhile, I was reading yet another "expert" on bookstores who made a long list of things he thought he'd do to open a perfect bookstore.

And they were almost all wrong.

They sound good, but were all way beyond what any one person could do without burning out in a short time, and way too expensive for more than one person to do in a small town.  In other words, that beautiful store would be doomed.

I would advise the guy to drop every damn thing on his list and replace it with one bullet point:

* Books.

Lots and lots of books, good books, used books, mid-list books, quirky books, cult books, favorite books, best-sellers, classics...

You know books.  The more books the better.  The better the books the better.  Fill every possible inch of the store with books and do nothing but take care of them.

Forget everything else and carry books.

Unfortunately, the "common wisdom" has gone in the opposite direction and seems to be unstoppable.  Group think is a powerful thing.  So new bookstore owners will dissipate huge amounts of time, energy and space on things that will add very few sales to their store, and even if it doesn't hurt them monetarily it will be almost guaranteed to burn them out.  It's hard enough to run a business when you keep is simple.  Every complication you add, which you then have to continue, makes it that much harder.

Keep it simple and essential, and do a very good job of it.  People will respond.  You'll live to fight another day.  You might even make money.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Free Comic!

The 99 cent sale at Smashwords and Barnes and Noble and Apple is coming to a close on May 1, 2014. Then the books go to 3.99 each.

You'd think I'd want the 3.99, but all the .99 books come due on the same day and affect the rankings. And rankings and reviews are everything. 

So you guys would be doing me a huge favor by going to Smashwords or Barnes and Noble or Apple and searching for Duncan McGeary and buying the 3 Vampire Evolution books. 

It won't even cost you anything as long as you can get in the store over the next month or so -- you get a free comic! So the only cost is just the time and effort of going online and making the order. (I mean, you have to buy for 2.97, but I'm re-reimbursing for 2.99....)

Smashword  Links.

Death of an Immortal:
Rule of Vampire:

Blood of Gold:

Barnes & Noble Links:

Death of an Immortal:

Rule of Vampire:

Blood of Gold:

Friday, April 18, 2014

What are the stakes?

This is a kind of cluttered blog entry, but here it is anyways.

I'm thinking about the plot to Ghostlander today.

I have an idea that entails a bunch of ghostly situations, but that doesn't a story make.  For the story to matter, a character that the reader cares about has to be in jeopardy -- or at least a character that the reader cares about cares about a character in jeopardy.   Uh... someone has to be in danger.  There have to be stakes.

The general theme of each of the Lander books is:  Faery versus...

So Faery versus Cthuhlu.  Faery versus Werewolves.  Faery versus Ghosts.

But within that larger notion, there has to be people who the reader is identifying with who are getting in deeper and deeper complications, who the reader is rooting for or against.

Before I start a book, I need to have all the ingredients, that recipe that will make the plot matter.  It's better not to start until I have all the portions correct.  Filling the counter with all the things I need doesn't mean I use them all.  But it makes for a more interesting palate.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Onward and upward.

Faerylander is with the editor(s).

The Dead Spend No Gold is set aside to gain some seasoning and perspective.

The next month or two is open for me to work on Ghostlander, starting tomorrow.  I'm really looking forward to it.  No distractions.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

I like books.

I like reading books.  I like writing books.  I like selling books.  I like being around books.

I like filing books.

Spent yesterday afternoon filing books at Linda's store, The Bookmark.  There is something really gratifying about it.  Examining the books, figuring what they're about, maybe reading the blurb on the back.  Seeing how they fit with the other books.  When, who, and why they were published.

Then getting them in the right slot and getting them squared away.

Just very fulfilling somehow.

I could easily run a used bookstore, except for one thing.  Trading.  First person who challenged me on what I offered them, or who  misunderstood the terms, and I'd want to go running.

I have eliminated buying and trading from customers at my own store.  I buy wholesale or not at all.

It would actually be monetarily beneficial to trade or buy books from customers at Pegasus Books.  But it would be psychologically devastating.  My soul would be squeezed.  My emotions would be roiling.

So I made a choice, the right choice, to keep selling books, comics, toys and games at Pegasus Books, but to just be a retailer.

Obviously, as a used bookstore, we need trade-ins.  The more the better.

So having Linda or one of the employees dealing with that is fine.  I can run around her store straightening and filing and be perfectly content.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The pressure is all mine.

I've taken a few days off from writing.  My family is in town.  I was not feeling the re-writing, so I just backed off.

A few days go by and I'm very relaxed.

And it occurs to me that all the writing pressure is self-induced.  No one is clamoring for more books.

I think I just feel like this is the time, that I need to do it, that I'm on a roll, that I've got time to make up, that time is passing quickly. 

So I engender a pressure on myself that feels very real.  Making deadlines, wanting to finish, wanting to get books ready to be edited, and so on.

Because I've got some time before I get Faerylander back from the editor, and because I want The Dead Spend No Gold to gain some seasoning, I can now plunge into yet another new book.

I'm thinking it will probably be Ghostlander, though I thought that last time too, and then suddenly had an idea for a sequel to Led to the Slaughter.

Once I actually start writing Ghostlander, the pressure will be back on -- both because the pressure is needed to get it done, but also -- well, the pressure is real because once I immerse myself in a story, it's important that I finish it.

So back to the writing, probably this coming weekend.

Monday, April 14, 2014


Verisimilitude, by Duncan McGeary


Nice word.

The thing I most want to add to The Dead Spend No Gold right now, is some telling and/or historical detail.  (This is the sequel I'm writing to Led to the Slaughter, Books of the Dead Press.)

I went out into the woods yesterday, broke off from the trail and just headed overland, found a nice spot and sat down with my notebook.

Two hours later, I had four pages of notes from just sitting there.  Two more pages of notes walking back to my car.  I passed some horses in a pasture, and wrote down some notes about horses. I have characters riding horses throughout the story, but barely mention them. So I need to bring the sight, smell and sounds of a trail ride into the story.

For instance:  I went on trail rides as a kid and I remember a lot of the details of long rides, the vinegar smell of horse sweat and leather, the lather and the foam around their mouths, the constantly swishing tails, the eyes that seem both fearful and rebellious at the same time, the curling of their hide to throw off the horseflies.

In other words, just little details to add to the story, make it seem real.

This summer I'll do some hikes in the mountains to get some of the details of a higher elevation.

And I'll also read some western histories and non-fiction books for historical detail.

I have the advantage of actually living in Central Oregon where I can go to places much like what I'm describing.  I have the mountains, the forests, the lakes and rivers, and the deserts all within a few minutes of my house.

When I wrote Star Axe, I had a quest journey that described going over a pass and entering a new climate.  I used the Mt. Hood pass over the Cascade Mountains for details.  There is nothing like actually being there to find those little descriptive details. 

In a way, the first draft comes out  of my head.  But to firm it up, make it grounded in reality, I need realistic details.

It grounds the flights of fantasies and firms them up into something that at least feels like it could happen. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Next Book in the Queue: Faerylander.

I have finished the first draft of The Dead Spend No Gold.  I like it.  I like it enough, in fact, to give it the time and seasoning it needs.  So I'm setting it aside for awhile, so that when I come back to it I'll have a fresh perspective.  It wasn't ready for the final re-write. 

There is absolutely nothing wrong with it, but there is a middle period on a book where I need to let it sit fallow for a time, and then come and improve it with new energy.  So far, I've been able to do that with all the books, to improved results. 

Meanwhile, I felt the last re-write I did of Faerylander made it a readable book.  I think one more polish will make it as good a book as I am capable.

Faerylander was the first book I started writing when I came back to writing three years ago, and has had multiple re-writes.  I have felt that each re-write has improved it.  In some ways, it's my Magnum Opus.  It's longer than the other books, about 120K words, and has had a lot of thought and effort put into it.

It is the first book in what I'm hoping will be a series, and I've already written the second book, Wolflander, and started on the third book, Ghostlander.

So I'm putting together my crew of Beta-testers that helped me on Led to the Slaughter, and I'm doing the final re-write of Faerylander.  I'm hoping to have it done by mid-June or so.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Magic word genie.

I've been trying to raise the ghost of Maxwell Perkins, but he ain't answering.

I suppose every writer hopes for the magic word genie, who will magically transform the raw material of the first draft into something amazing.

I mean, I've got a good editor in Lara, don't get me wrong.  But it is still up to me to make it a good book. 

There was a few days after Andy did the cover to Led to the Slaughter where I was amazingly effective in my re-writing.  Something started clicking and suddenly I was making some really nice changes.  Really shaped up the first third of the book.  The improvement was probably a combination of motivation and distance.

Then it faded, as it always does.

Thing is -- I can't wait around for those moments.  And sometimes those moments only come after struggle, after spending a long time trying to re-write brick by brick.  Just as I can't wait around for inspiration in the first draft, nor can I wait around in the 2nd or 3rd.

Anyway, I got half-way through the re-write of The Gold Spend No Gold, and bogged down.  Partly because I got a cold, but mostly because I just hit a wall, I think.  I think I need some time and distance to be effective.

I took the day off yesterday, and it felt good. 

I'm going to try to finish over the next three days, but I suspect a few chapters won't get done. Then family will be here for a week.

So I'm going to do what I can by Tuesday and then send the manuscript to my editor.  Give myself a month or a month and a half from looking at it at all.

My next goal is to do Faerylander again.  I think I'm reaching the point of diminishing returns with this book, but that all the time and hard work has paid off to some extent.  That is, it is a readable book now, where it wasn't before.  Beyond that, I can't say, because it has turned into Word-Jumble for me and once that happens I can't see it objectively at all.

When I've tested it with readers, they seem to think it is as good as anything else I've done.

Thing about Word-Jumble is -- sometimes it's fine or even good.  I just can't see it.  I just have to trust that the individual improvements add up to an overall improvement.  I love the premise, I love the characters, and I love a lot of the individual scenes -- and I've tried hard to make it all come together.  And each time I've tried, I've gotten closer.

But I'm at a point where I could fool around with it forever -- so it is probably when I should just pick a "Point in Time" and figure it's done and move on to the next thing.

I think that Point in Time is when I finish the next re-write, devoting a month to the process. 

I've probably spent at least a year and a half on this one book -- half of the overall time I've spent writing.  It was the first book coming back and I made a raft of mistakes which I've spent a lot of time trying to correct.

It was a necessary book.  The one that guided me back to what I wanted to do.  I think in the end it will be as good or better than my other books. 

But boy how I wish for the Magic Word Genie.

Friday, April 11, 2014

Acting stupid and contagious.

When I started coming down with a cold I thought, "No problem!"

I'm just staying home anyway, just re-writing...

Uh, nope.

I'm the dregs of coffee at the bottom of the mug.  Laying on my couch, I felt like I was doing something.  Changing a word in the manuscript was like pulling taffy.  

To hell with it.  I'm going to Captain America.

Watch out, I'm stupid and contagious.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Downtown Comings and Goings 4/10/14

Trying to keep this list up.  Mostly from announcements in the paper.  Unfortunately, they only announce new business, they don't announce businesses leaving, so this list may be getting lopsided toward the "Comings" list.

If anyone has heard of anyone leaving since the first of the year, let me know.

New businesses:  The Basement, a clothing store with art, The Painted Paradise Gallery, and across the street from us, Red Pinecone, gift baskets and gourmet foods.

Only the Red Pinecone is really a street front location.  The others are inside.

I've been conflicted about counting inside businesses, but have done so because they are the types of businesses that fill up when all the streetfronts are full or too expensive, signifying improving occupancy.  (As I say, I don't conflate occupancy with the health of individual stores, but it helps the overall downtown area, if you catch the difference.)


The Red Pinecone, Minnesota Ave., 4/10/14
The Painted Gallery, Bond St., 4/10/14
The Basement, Bond St., 4/10/14
Bend Modern, Wall St., 1/10/14
Legum Design, Bond St., 1/10/14
Dogwood Cocktail, Minnesota Ave., 1/10/14.
Salud Raw Food, Franklin Ave., 10/10/13
Bhuvana, Minnisota Ave., 10/10/13.
Outside In, Wall St., 9/26/13.
Bishop's Barbershop, Oregon Ave., 7/24/13
Oregon Store, Wall/Franklin, 7/24/13
Supervillain Sandwiches, Bond St., 7/24/13
Taste Oregon, Bond St., 7/24/13
Wild Rose, 5/2/13.
Bluebird Coffee Company, Franklin, 3/29/13.
Pure Kitchen, Franklin (Bond), 3/29/13
Jeff Murray Photography, Minnesota Ave., 3/29/13
Luvs Donuts, Minnesota Ave. 3/29/13
Hub Cyclery, Wall St. 3/29/13
Ju-bee-lee, Wall. St.  3/29/13.
Sweet Saigon, Wall St., 1/20/13.
Brickhouse, Oregon Ave., 1/20/13.
The Drake, Wall St. , 1/20/13
541 Threads, Minnesota Ave., 10/13/12.
O Mo Mo!  Bond Street, 10/3/12.
Crow's Feet Commons, Brooks Street, 9/21/12.
The Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 9/14/12.
Noi, Bond Street, 9/14/12.
Azillian Beads, Greenwood Ave., 9/6/12.
Earth*Fire*Art, Oregon Av., 7/10/12.
Pastrami Deli, Franklin Av., 7/10/12.
Bend Your Imagination, Minnesota Av., 7/10/12.
Paul Scott Gallery), Brooks St., 7/10/12
Natural Edge Furniture, Bond St., 5/10/12
Hola!, Bond St., 3/3/12.
Amanda's, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Barrio, Minnesota Ave., 2/12/12.
Rescue Moderne, Harriman, 1/12/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave. 2/12/12.
Navidi, Minnesota Ave., 2/9/12.
Mazza, Brooks St. , 2/9/12.
La Magie Bakery, Bond St., 1/6/12
Brother Jon's Ale House, Bond St., 12/10/11.
What Lola Wants, Wall St. , 12/2/11.
Jackalope Grill, 10/12/11.
Gypsy Soul, Wall St. 10/12/11.
Colour N' the City, Tin Pan Alley, 10/12/11.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St., 10/12/11.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 10/12/11.
Ruby, Minnesota Ave., 10, 12/11.
Kariella, Lava Road, 8/24, 11.
Plankers, Wall St., 7/11.
Faveur, Franklin, 7/11.
Dream Pebbles, Minnesota Ave., 6/15/11.
Bend Yogurt Factory, Franklin/Bond, 4/26/11.
High Desert Lotus, Bond St. , 4/4/11.
Tryst, Franklin Ave., 3/11/11. (Formerly Maryjanes, **Moved**).
D'Vine, Wall St. , 2/9/11.
Let it Ride!, Bond St., 1/29/11.
Gatsby's Brasserie Bar, Minnesota Ave., 1/8/11
Tres Jolie, Wall St., 12/20/10.
Caldera Grill, Bond St., 12/7/10
Bond Street Grill, 12/7/10.
Perspective(s), Minnesota Ave., 11/20/10
Toth Art Collective, Bond St. 11/20/10
Boken, Breezeway, 11/20/10
Dalia and Emilia, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Antiquarian Books, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Giddyup, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/10.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Ave., 8/11/10,
Red Chair Art Gallery, Oregon Ave. 7/13/10.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 7/12/10.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 6/2910
Common Table, Oregon Ave. , 6/29/10.
Looney Bean Coffee, Brooks St. , 6/29/10.
Bourbon Street, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
Feather's Edge, Minnesota Ave., 6/22/10
The BLVD., Wall St. , 6/13/10.
Volt, Minnesota Ave. 6/1/10.
Tart, Minnesota Ave. , 5/13/10
Olivia Hunter, Wall St. 4/5/10.
Tres Chic, 4/5/10 (Moved to Minnesota Av.)
Blue Star Salon, Wall St. 4/1/10.
Lululemon, Bond St. 3/31/10.
Diana's Jewel Box, Minnesota Ave., 3/25/10.
Amalia's, Wall St. (Ciao Mambo space), 3/12/10
River Bend Fine Art, Bond St. (Kebanu space) 2/23/10
Federal Express, Oregon Ave. 2/1/10
***10 Below, Minnesota Ave. 1/10/10
Tew Boots Gallery, Bond St. 1/8/10.
Top Leaf Mate, 12/10/09
Laughing Girls Studio, Minnesota Ave. 12/7/09
Lemon Drop, 5 Minnesota Ave., 11/12/09
The Curiosity Shoppe, 25 N.W. Minnesota Ave, Suite #7. 11/5/09
Wabi Sabi 11/4/09 (**Moved, Wall St.**)
Frugal Boutique 11/4/09
5 Spice 10/22/09
Cowgirls Cash 10/17/09
***Haven Home 10/17/09
Dog Patch 10/17/09
The Good Drop 10/12/09
Lola's 9/23/09
**Volcano Wines 9/15/09
Singing Sparrow Flowers 8/16/09
Northwest Home Interiors 8/5/09
High Desert Frameworks 7/23/09 (*Moved to Oregon Ave. 4/5/10.)
Wall Street Gifts 7/--/09
Ina Louise 7/14/09
Bend Home Hardware (Homestyle Hardware?) 7/1/09
Altera Real Estate 6/9/09
Honey 6/7/09
Azura Studio 6/7/09
Mary Jane's 6/1/09
c.c.McKenzie 6/1/09
Velvet 5/28/09
Bella Moda 3/25/09
High Desert Gallery (Bend) 3/25/09
900 Wall
Great Outdoor Store
Luxe Home Interiors
Powell's Candy
Dudley's Used Books and Coffee
Game Domain
Subway Sandwiches
Bend Burger Company
Showcase Hats
Pita Pit
Happy Nails

(List begun, Fall, 2008.)


Dream Pebbles, Minnesota Ave., 1/10/14
Pastrami Deli, Franklin Ave., 10/10/13.
Edman Furniture, Wall St., 9/26/13.
At the Beach, Wall ST., 9/18/13.
New York City Sub, Bond St. 3/29/13
Soba Asian Bistro, Bond St., 3/29/13
Volt Lighting, Wall St.  3/29/13.
Topolino, Wall Street, 1/20/13.
Cozy Lamb, Minnesota Ave., 1/20/13
Amalia's, Wall Street, 1/5/13.
El Jimador, Wall Street, 9/1412.
The Closet, Minnesota Ave., 9/1/12
Common Table, Oregon Ave., 8/11/12.
Honey Threads, Minnesota Ave., 8/11/12.
Bella Moda, Wall St., 8/11/12.
Giddy Up, Minnesota Ave., 5/10/12
Pottery Lounge, Oregon Ave., 5/17/12.
Boondocks, Newport Ave., 3/27/12
Game Domain, Oregon Ave., 3/27/12.
Toth Gallery, Bond St., 3/27/12.
Letzer's Deli, Franklin Ave., 3/22/12.
Clutch, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12.  (Moving to Tres Jolie).
High Desert Gallery, Minnesota Ave., 3/22/12.
Tart, Bond St., 3/3/12.
El Caporal West, Franklin Ave., 2/24/12
Bo Restobar, Franklin Ave., 2/9/12.
The Lobby, Bond St. , 2/9/12.
Arts Central, Brooks St., 2/7/12.
Typhoon!, Bond St., 2/5/12.
Gatsby's, Minnesota Ave., 2/5/12
The Dog Patch, Minnesota Av. 1/9/12.
Bend Mapping, Bond St., 1/9/12.
Lotus Moon, Brooks St. 1/9/12   (Moving to Tres Jolie)
Bond Street Grill, Bond St., 11/20/12.
Mad Happy Lounge, Brooks St., 10/11.
Azu, Wall St., 10/25/11.
Showcase Hats, Oregon Av., 10/11.
Bourbon St., Minnesota Ave. 10/12/11.
Curiosity Shop, Minnesota Ave., 7/11
Luluemon, Bond St., 8/26, 11.
Shear Illusions, Franklin Ave., 7/11.
Crepe Place, Wall St., 7/11.
Pita Pit, Brooks St. , 6/28/11
Smith and Wade Salon, Minnesota, Av. , 6/3/11.
Perspectives, Minnesota Av., 6/1/11
River Bend Art Gallery, Bond St., 5/5/11.
Donner's Flowers, Wall St. 3/11/11. (Moved out downtown)
Maryjanes, Wall St. , 3/11/11. (new name, Tryst,  Franklin.).
Di Lusso, Franklin/Bond, 2/9/11.
Earth Sense Herbs, Penny's Galleria, 1/2/11
Marz Bistro, Minnesota Av., 12/20/10.
The Decoy, Bond St., 12/7/10.
Giuseppe's, Bond St., 12/1/10.
Ina Louise, Minnesota Ave., 11/3/10.
Laughing Girl Studios, 10/21/10
Dolce Vita, Bond St, 10/21/10
Diana's Jewell Box, Minnesota Ave., 10/15/10.
Lola's, Breezeway, 10/8/10.
Oxygen Tattoo, Bond St., 10/3/10.
Great Outdoor Clothing, Wall St., 10/3/10.
Volcano Vineyards, Minnesota Ave., 10/3/10.
Subway Sandwiches, Bond St. 9/2/10.
Old Bend Distillery, Brooks St., 6/19/10.
Staccato, Minnesota Ave. 6/18/10.
Showcase Hats, Minnesota Ave., 6/1/10
Cork, Oregon Ave., 5/27/10.
Wall Street Gifts, 5/26/10
Microsphere, Wall St. , 5/17/10.
Singing Sparrow, Franklin and Bond, 5/15/10
28, Minnesota Ave. and Bond, 5/13/10.
Glass Symphony, Wall St., 3/25/10
Bend Home Hardware, Minnesota Ave, 2/25/10
Ciao Mambo, Wall St. 2/4/10
***Angel Kisses 1/25/10   (Have moved to 'Honey.')
Ivy Rose Manor 8/20/09
***Downtowner 8/18/09 (moving to Summit location)
Chocolate e Gateaux 8/16/09
Finders Keepers 8/15/09
Colourstone 7/25/09
Periwinkle 6/--/09
***Tangerine 7/21/09 (Moving across the street.)
Micheal Cassidy Gallery 6/15/09
St. Claire Coffee 6/15/09
Luxe Home Interiors 6/4/09
Treefort 5/8/09
Blue 5/2/09
***Volcano Tasting Room 4/28/09
Habit 4/16/09
Mountain Comfort 4/14/09
Tetherow Property 4/11/09
Blue Moon Marketplace 3/25/09
Plenty 3/25/09
Downtown Doggie 3/25/09
***King of Sole (became Mary Janes)**
Santee Alley
Bistro Corlise
Made in Hawaii
Stewart Weinmann (leather)
Kebanu Gallery
Pella Doors and Windows
Olive company
Pink Frog
Little Italy
***Pomegranate (downtown branch)**
Pronghorn Real Estate office.
Speedshop Deli
Paper Place
Bluefish Bistro

(List begun, Fall, 2008 )

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Authentic werewolves and bigfoot?

Strange to say, but I've tried the make the werewolves and bigfoots (bigfeet) of my story feel like a natural phenomenon.  More like giant predators than anything supernatural.

I've also tried to make the rest of the stories as genuine as possible.

I especially did that with Led to the Slaughter since the survival story alone is pretty gripping.

I took the 3rd and 4rth chapters of The Dead Spend No Gold to writer's group, and they didn't meet with as much approval as the first two chapters.

Part of the problem is that I've gone more genre this time -- more horror, less historical.  Whereas with the Donner Party I was able to go heavy historical.

Part of this is that I want to continue having Virginia Reed being the protagonist of my story -- so she has to have a reason to be in the middle of continued mysterious happenings.

So I've made something up -- using the Indian word, Canowiki -- "The Hunter."  She isn't a normal girl.

Meanwhile, for two weeks now, the readers haven't liked my Native American Girl character.  But what I'm hearing is that she sounds not "Indian" enough.

My conceit is that she was raised by missionaries.  That she is more educated than most of the people around her.  What I'm hearing is an insistence that she act more "Indian,"  I don't know, maybe she's supposed to raise her palm and saw "How."

I did get the idea last night of having the missionaries that raised her be Quakers, so that she slips into thee and thou vocabulary here and there.

Anyway, I'm aware that this book is more "adventure" than "tragedy" and that's on purpose so I can continued to write books about Virginia Reed.  Plus, I think the Donner Party was such a unique occurrence that I can't simply conjure a comparable experience out of thin air.

The tragedy included in this book are the genocide of the Indian tribes of California, and the destruction of nature (as represented by the Sasquatch creatures.)  But unlike Led to the Slaughter, these aren't at the center of the narrative, but are part of the narrative.

What was clear from the writer's group is that my research into gold mining and Indian massacres and such are going to be essential to lending authenticity to the story.

But no matter what, I've made Virginia something more than an innocent but brave girl caught in dire circumstances.  I've made her an active player, which changes the flavor of the story.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

I may not like re-writing, but I like having done it.

Re-writing has all the motivational problems of real work.

Believe me, I'm as tired of doing it as you are of hearing about it.

Thing is, it absolutely improves the book.  By leaps and bounds.  In fact, without re-writing, my books would be completely amateurish.

I have to force myself to do it.  I managed to do three chapters yesterday.  I do a chapter, then take a long break, do another chapter then take a long break, and so on.  Sometimes I can do only half a chapter before my eyes blur and my concentration wanders and I walk away.  Giving myself breaks makes it a tolerable process.

If I'm lucky, the plot is working and the focus is on the words -- that seems to be true with this book.  If I'm unlucky, there are problems with the plot.  That's what's going on with Faerylander, Sometimes a Dragon, and Spell Realm and why they are still waiting to be published.

But if it is just the writing that is a problem, I just need to work at making it better.  Make it "read" like a real book.  Make sure there aren't any words or sentences that pull the reader out of the story.

So I can do about half the necessary improvement on my own.  But I need help.  Thankfully I have Lara to point out some obvious things, and to improve the writing throughout the book.

I probably still need help.  Sometimes I get it -- as with Led to the Slaughter where Bren and Linda put in a lot of work.

Sometimes I don't need the help as much, such as the Vampire Evolution Trilogy.

We'll see what happens with The Dead Spend No Gold: Sasquatch and the Gold Rush.

What I'm doing is taking a complete story with lots of sloppy writing, and I'm fleshing it out and making the sentences flow better.  I'll be done with this process in a couple of weeks, then I'll give it Lara and forget it for a month or more.

When I get it back, I'll probably know by then if it requires another person.  Then I'll have to beg, or bribe, or con someone into doing a pass.

Hopefully not.  Hopefully I can make the recommended changes, do some more re-writing, then probably give it to Lara a second time, and then do one more pass when I get it back.

I've been pretty good about not releasing a book until I think it's ready.  So I want to continue that.

It reminds me of the old saying about writing;  that you don't like doing it as much as you like having done it.

I don't like re-writing, but I like having done it.  

Monday, April 7, 2014

Making it work in the real world.

The logistics of the story may not be as hard as I thought.

First of all, I have 26 members of a search party who get picked off one by one, either by the Ts'emekwes or the Indians.  My Lost Patrol plot.

(By the way, I never actually use the word Bigfoot, which is a modern invention, and instead use the Indian words Ts'emekwes and Skoocoom.)

To get it clear in my head, I decided to list all 26 members by name and origin and characteristics -- and how and when they get killed.

That took awhile, and some adjusting.

Then I had to figure out the distances between Sutter's Fort (basically present day Sacramento) and the Sierra Nevadas.

The setting of my of much of my story is in a town at the foot of the mountains, with a river in-between, and high tributary to the river up in the mountains.

So I had to work out the distances and travel times, and to orient the geographical locations to the time traveled. As it turns out, the gold fields were wide enough that I could orient the distance by picking a location that matched those described in my books.

Luckily there was a location where I can do all those things.  I picked a town (now a ghost town) called Bidwell's Bar, with the Feather River running by it (which I call by its Indian name, Plumas River) and the North Fork Tributary.  Thompson Peak is where a lot of the action takes place.  I have several scenes where the river is tough to cross and there are ferries, and sure enough, that's exactly what happened in that neck of the woods. 

So those locations all match the traveling distances and times mentioned in the book.  More or less.  I want it to be realistic, if not down to the inch.

The Indian tribes in the area were the Miwok and the Maidu.  I'm using the Miwok, though technically, the Maidu might be slightly more accurate.  But I've already been using the Miwok words all through the story (they are slightly southeast, near Donner Pass...)

Last thing I need to do is work out the timeline.  Where each character was on day 1, then day 2, all the way through to the end of the book, and make sure they match the travel distances and so on.

It's a big game of concentration.  I find that I'm pretty close, because I have a general idea of where everyone is when I'm writing the story, but sometimes I'm off by a half a day or so.

Frankly, you'd have to be pretty obsessed to catch me out -- but then again, there are some people who can do that.

I had to change Sacramento back to Sutter's Fort, because it wasn't founded until that year.

I'm going to do some research on how the towns looked, how gold mining was done, that kind of thing.  Try to lend as much verisimilitude as I can to the story.

I'm trying not to be anachronistic, without being crazy about it.

This story is more made up than the Donner Party, which makes it easier in some ways, and harder in some ways.

Easier because I don't have to conform to a specific historical event.

Harder because I don't have the crutch of conforming to a specific historical event.

Much more of a traditional genre story -- versus Led to the Slaughter which became a more serious story because of the subject matter.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

Tricks of re-writing.

So because I dislike re-writing so much, I need to have a program to help me do it.

(Don't get me wrong, I love writing the first draft, discovering the story, feeling the characters...)

***A couple of tricks I try to get me going on the re-writing:

1.)  Go backwards.  Start with the last chapter and go backward to the front.  This focuses on the writing, instead of the story.

2.)  Do them in chunks.  Last book, I found that 10 pages was a good healthy chunk to focus on before I lose interest.  So do 10 pages, then take an hour off -- or even 2 hours off -- and then do it again.  I can fit in at least 3 sessions per work day, if I do that.  Of course, I use the 5 minute rule all the time for unpleasant tasks. 

5-minute rule:  (Sit and work on something for 5 minutes, and more often than not, you'll keep going.  If after 5 minutes you still aren't engaged, probably best to leave it alone.)

***The best trick of all is when I have a critical thinker helping me by critiquing.  I love bouncing off the suggestions and corrections.  Somehow that is so much easier than staring at my own writing raw.

Problem is, this is very time intensive for the reader.  I usually can only ask someone to do it once, maybe twice, before they start avoiding me...

Right now, I've done it so much, I've pretty much worn out all the people who have helped me in the past.

***The thing I'm going to do a little different this time, is a systematic tracking of time, space, and characters.

Make a flow chart of the events in the book.

Make a map of the events, and make sure the events match the map.

Make a list of characters with their descriptions, and where they appear in the book. 

 ***The other really helpful thing is to do the historical research.  Just making those telling details count makes me look at my writing with fresh eyes.  Like I said, I just need a trick to do something other than stare at the words.

 ***I am such a spare and sparse writer, that when re-writing, more is almost always better.  That is, I rarely go too far in using extra words -- in my case, extra words usually fleshes out the story, the characters, the descriptions, the events.

My pacing is fast, so these things can actually moderate my pacing a little, which I need.

So I have a cheap trick, which seems to work.  I found it because when I was self publishing, I sometimes wanted to add a word or two to a sentence to extend the writing another line so that the chapter would end in a place that didn't look too sparse.  Say, like one line into a new page, something like that.

I found that almost every time I did that, the writing improved.  So now I do it on purpose, not to make the pages look better (I have no idea how that will look when the publisher gets done) but because it always seems to improve the story. I just look for those spaces, which then usually leads to a cascade of changes.

In other words, it's my lever, my wedge, my entry point.

***Finally, thankfully, I have Lara, my editor, who I pay to do both copy-editing, but more and more, content editing as well. 

A couple of sessions with her, and the book usually dramatically improves.

This also allows me to take time off from the book while she's working on it, giving me some much needed perspective when it comes back to me.

***Finally, I just need patience.  Not settle for "good enough."  Take the time to do it right, make it good, and be proud of the effort. 

Make sure the book is done before I release it.  Go on to the next book, let the book sit for awhile.  Then check it again.

Then, when I'm sure, let it go.

Finished The Dead Spend No Gold!

Finished The Dead Spend No Gold:  Bigfoot and the California Gold Rush.

At least, the first draft.  Finished on schedule, yesterday.

It was pretty exciting.  I get a euphoria when I finish a book.

I especially liked the last chapter of this book, which came out really, really well.  Really brought the book together.

I must say, this is pretty amazing.  The book came easy.  I had all the elements and characters I wanted before I started, I realized pretty early on that I wanted it to be a Lost Patrol story, I added in the werewolves early so that there would be some "bad guy" action.  I have a chance to try to reach some depth by the tragedy of the genocide of the Indians and the environmental disaster of gold mining -- and how it affects the natural world, which in this case is represented by Grendel.

Oh, and the Grendel thing.  I really need to find a Beowulf translation that I can use.  A short quote at the beginning of each chapter.  I mean, if there is a 19th century translation, how can that not be in the public domain?

But I have to be sure.  I don't want a book removed from circulation.  So I have to be certain.

Anyway, now I want to make sure the book is good.  I'm kind of excited by the potential, actually.  Much like about 2/3rds of the way through Led to the Slaughter I realized there was some resonant depth in the story itself, I'm hoping to find that kind of depth in this story too.

My biggest problem is forcing myself to really put in the rewriting work.  Not to settle for "good enough."
I'm lazy.

Lazy?  I write books every other day, how can I be lazy?

Because I do the easy stuff.  I do a lot of the easy stuff.

But the payoff to doing the proper rewriting is that the increased quality will exist forever -- that no matter how painful it is now, it will be something I can look back on with pride.

So there it is.  I hate to treat it like work.  To think of it as work.  But I can't fool myself into thinking it is anything else.

I just have to do it.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Make it good.

Had a friend come in and tell me his 13 year old son -- "who reads everything" -- had come to him to tell  him how "good" Led to the Slaughter was.  And then to proceed to tell him all the reasons why he thought the book was good.

Thing is, I could tell from the way the parent described what his kid said, that the reaction was genuine and heartfelt.  Very gratifying.

What it brought home to me is that it is important not only to finish the books, and to get them published, and hopefully to have them sell.  It is important that they be as "good" as I can make them.

Which you are probably thinking, "Well, obviously."

Nevertheless, I think a reminder that that "Wow, I really like this book" response is the real goal of writing -- all the rest is just part of the process.

Friday, April 4, 2014

My short description of LED TO THE SLAUGHTER.

A description of Led to the Slaughter.

It's a historical novel.  I've tried my best to stick to the historical facts.  I've had to adjust a few timelines slightly, maybe move the geography just a little bit, but mostly it's how it really happened.

The werewolves aren't treated as a gimmicks. I treat them as natural creatures.  They manipulate the Donner Party into taking "short-cuts" which leads them to being trapped in the mountains.  But it's the worst winter ever and the werewolves end up being as trapped as the humans.

My protagonist is a 15 year old girl named Virginia Reed, who is an indomitable and resourceful character, as well other other heroes of the journey, and I tell it from the viewpoint of 'journals.'

(I found the "actual" journals and diaries.)

The Donner Party is an absolutely fascinating survival story in its own right.  I didn't want to take away from the human tragedy of it.  I tried to retain that, while adding the element of the werewolves as a further threat.

I want the reader to come away with the feeling that they've experienced the real events without ever feeling like it is unbelievable.  Even with werewolves.

It's supposed to be an entertaining and fast read, but I also wanted to dig deeper into the human spirit that emerged from the tragic events.

I can sell you something if you stand in front of me.

My local editor, Lara Milton, was in the store yesterday and we were chatting and I was bemoaning how bad I was at publicity.

Meanwhile, I sold like three copies of Led to the Slaughter in front of her within an hour.

"I don't know," she said.  "You look pretty good at it to me."

Well, that's 'selling' not promotion.  After 34 years at the store, I've learned how to do that.  Sometimes I can be very, very good at it.  One-on-one salesmanship is a skill.  All I need is something I'm enthused about, and then I find ways to describe the item, then I refine the terms that seem to get a response and eventually I come up with a patter than is soft but insistent, helping the buyer make up his or her own mind, with a little gentle nudging from me.

Or sometimes, I can be less than gentle, almost insistent.  Or I can beg.  Or I can make a huge deal.  Or....

Whatever works.

If I apply myself to it, I can sell. 

But it has to be natural.  It has to be something I believe in.  It can't be manufactured.  It has to be genuine and authentic.

Fortunately, at any one time, I always have product in the store that I believe in...

Anyway, if I could somehow say the same things online about Led to the Slaughter that I say to the person in front of me, maybe I could make it work.

But I'm missing the one-on-one connection.  The sincerity it my voice. The body language.  The likeability.  Most of the little techniques I can use on a customer are lost when they are expanded outward to a broader audience.  I don't always charm the person in front of me, but I often do.  When it's not working, I can adjust my behavior until it does work.

It is a skill I learned, and I suppose if I applied myself to the techniques of promotion, in 34 years I'd probably be pretty good at it.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Blood of Gold pre-release sale announcement.

Blood of Gold has been announced on the Books of the Dead Press site.  It's the third book of the Vampire Evolution Trilogy.  Like the first two, it will be available on May 1st, in both ebook and paperback, from Barnes and Noble and Smashwords (as well as other places.)

If you buy the first three books for only .99 cents each, I'll give you free ebook copy of Led to the Slaughter.  So four books for only 2.97!

It helps a lot if you buy it in advance (not to mention saving 3.00 per book) in that all the sales count on the same day, so it really helps make the books more prominent.

So I'm asking, if you please take a couple of minutes and click the link and make the orders.

Thanks, everyone.  This has been a fun ride so far -- I'd kind of like to continue doing it!

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Best time ever to be a writer.

I order selectively through a book liquidator.  It usually takes me a month, if not two, to get to the minimums they require.  So I just check the new books everyday and add the good ones to the list.

However this distributor has a nasty habit of raising the limits from one book to two books, without notice.  So suddenly my list has way more books than I intended.

So I  Zero out the list.

This smacks of bait and switch, and I'm not going to buy more books than I want.


Speaking of lists, I've decided to stop looking at the sales lists on all the different venues my books are on.

They simply make no sense.  They change overnight.  They have algorithms that are inexplicable.

This isn't sour grapes.  Sometimes the weirdness is in my favor, and sometimes it isn't.

But none of it seems...solid.

I'll just wait until the publisher makes his quarterly report...


I'm at 60K words on The Dead Spend No Gold, my sequel to Led to the Slaughter.  I'll be finished in the next two to three writing sessions.

Which is like -- wow.  How did that happen?

Then the real work begins.  I've got to make the timelines and the geography and the characters consistent.  I want to do some historical research to add some authentic details. 

And I want to work on the writing.  Make the story readable.

As for the story itself -- this one came easy, as if it was ready to go.  I've had a pretty good sense from the beginning of where I wanted to take it, and the subconscious obliged.  Each time I hit a roadblock the answer appeared, which is a sign this book wanted to exist.

After I've sent this off to the editor, I'm going to knuckle down and really get Faerylander ready.

I think this next round will be the keeper.  Then I'd like to work on the rewrite of the sequel, Wolflander, which came out well and only needs to be edited mostly.

Then I can finally get to writing my Pilot Butte ghost story, the third book in the Lander series, called Ghostlander. 


It just a matter of doing it.  I'm really enjoying this whole thing, especially the creative part, but also knowing that when I'm finished, I can put them out into the world. 

Best time ever to be a writer.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

New thoughts about ebooks.

I'm feel like I'm getting a little distance from the excitement of getting published.

For one thing, I'm back to writing full time again.  I passed 50,000 words on The Dead Spend No Gold, and it was like I passed some barrier.  It's now just a matter of finishing.

Plus, I'm getting more of a sense of how this is all going to work.

What I've really not talked about is my feelings toward ebooks.

I make the joke in my store that as a retailer and reader, I hate ebooks.  As a writer, I love ebooks.

Which isn't strictly true.  For one thing, I've never been one who thought ebooks would be the end of traditional books.

Now that I'm an ebook writer (as well as traditional, more about that later) I'm not one of those who think that ebooks are the only answer for writers.

A little bit of both, I suppose.

My feeling is that traditional publishing -- instead of constricting in a panic, firing editors and reps and everyone else they could -- should have opened up.  Done even MORE books, both ebooks and traditional books, hired MORE editors and reps and promotional people and such, taken on MORE authors, and paid MORE.

In other words, they did the worse thing they could do.   They panicked.  They were so afraid of doing the same thing that the music business did, that they constricted and shifted, thereby in effect doing the same thing the music industry did -- just in a different way.

They should have embraced ebooks -- not grudgingly, out of fear, as they did -- but by bringing them fully into the fold.  It would have required investment, it would have required that they change the terms to give the writers more of the new money. 

I'm not sure I would have understood that either.  I was kind of old guard, even more old guard than the publishers, in that I would have ignored ebooks altogether.

I was wrong.

But what the publishers actually did was take the worst elements of both facets of publishing, instead of keeping what they had and then really opening the door to ebooks.  (Like I said, they should have hired more help, bought more books, and most importantly, given a bigger chunk to the authors.)

Now Amazon and Smashwords have more or less cornered the ebook market by giving a bigger share to the authors.  Believe me, if a traditional publisher offered most ebook writers a bigger share as well as distribution of physical books in bookstores, a lot of authors would jump at the opportunity.

I know in my store that the answer to falling sales is not to cut orders, but to buy more -- or more importantly -- find something that WILL sell, even if it requires more investment at a time when you can least afford it.  You have to think long-term, and have faith in your judgement.  You don't pull the rug out from under the stuff you already sell, you add new elements.  Let the store shift over time, in response to supply and demand.

But...well, the publishing industry is defensive and hypocritical and worst of all, greedy and elitist.

And they are going to pay the price.