Sunday, June 30, 2019

Gunshots in the distance,
beer can in the dirt,
nature ignores the hurt.

Airplane rumbles above,
man-made clouds,
the skies endure.

Broken sofas,
shredded foam,
mark the path.

Revving motors,
drown the wind,
the birds cry.

Black tires,
eternal decay,
claim the land.

Branches broken,
rocks and dust overturned,
the earth abides.

I walk in the beauty,
and the wreckage,
and apologize.

Tuesday, June 25, 2019

I walk in summer twilight,
when others are at home,
I walk in summer twilight,
to be alone.

The red skies,
burn away day's worries,
the gentle breeze,
seeks me out, reassuring.

The creatures of day,
are seeking shelter.
The creatures of night,
yet to emerge.

The land is waiting,
as it always has,
quiet in anticipation,
of night before day.

Light fails,
in blazing hues,
eternal beauty,
in peaceful glory.

Monday, June 24, 2019

In between projects, waiting for something to happen.

I hadn't expected to spend so much time on "Takeover," though I'm glad I did. What usually happens is I start to tinker with something, then it draws me in deeper, and then a little deeper, and then I find myself all in.

So I have to figure out what to tinker with next.

I'm thinking probably I'll do the four novellas. I decided to ask for "Eden's Return" from my publisher, and push "Takeover" as the next release instead. Since I'm bringing it back, I'm going to give it a good rewrite, and then send it to Lara when she can get to it.

But until then, I'm going to finish "The Wyvern Riders," which is 80% done. Then draw maps and background facts about the world, to make it consistent. What would be fun would be a map, and I may ask if Andy Zeigert would be willing to put one together for me.

I've decided that even though I have a publisher who will do the covers and editing, and they do a good job, I'm going to finish off each project myself. Try to have both editing and covers done under my auspices. If not both, then either editing or cover.

This is going to cost me some money, but at the same time, it feels good to have this stuff under my control. I'm not sure why.

Sunday, June 23, 2019

Almost and Done are two different states of being.

Apparently, I was feeling pressure to have a book finished for publication and didn't really know it. Finally getting the sequel to "Deadfall Ridge" done is a big relief. I think "Takeover" is finally ready. I've already contracted a cover from Mike Corley, and my editor, Lara, is going to be giving it a last edit over the next month.

My publisher, Crossroad Press, would ordinarily do both the cover and the editing, but I decided I really like Mike's work, and I really like Lara's work, and this is my package, even if it does cost me. I may do this in the future, too. This may literally cost more than I make, but I like being in control.

The pressure to finish a book was unexpected because I have a ton of books that are almost ready for publication. But almost and done are two different states of being.

I'll probably tackle the four "Tales of the Thirteen Principalities" novellas next. I have to write the ending the the "The Wyvern Riders," but "The Toad King," "Mirror God," and "Moregone" are finished except--I need to work out the geographical details.

Linda is reading "Castle La Magie" right now. When she's finished, I'll do a rewrite and then it will be ready.

Still not sure I want to start anything new soon. It seems to me to be good idea to finish up all the stuff I've already written.

Saturday, June 22, 2019

One step better, two steps further from perfect.

Finished the final rewrite of "Takeover." That doesn't mean I won't do a bit of rewriting here and there over the next month, while Lara is editing it, but I've done a top to bottom edit and I think improved it. If nothing else, I've smoothed away the inconsistencies.

I can't tell if it's any good. Ironically, the very process of trying to improve it makes me doubt it more. After a first draft, when I think I've told my story, I can maintain the illusion that it's great. But once I start editing, then all the flaws come to the surface. The more I try to fix it, the more I see.

But here's the thing. I am actually improving the story even as--the longer I do it--the more doubts I have. I've never talked to another writer who feels this way.

I remember one of the first pros I ever talked to said, "Why would you let your book go before it was perfect?"

And I remember just saying, "Perfect?" like it was a word I never heard before.

So it's perfect after the first draft--in my mind, if not in reality. After I've actually improved it, it's far less than perfect. Does that make sense?

I don't want to lose my enjoyment of writing in pursuit of perfection--which is ridiculous anyway.

I have to remember the rosy glow of that first story-telling, and then hard-headedly improve the writing.

Friday, June 21, 2019

Desert Flowers

Desert flowers, pink carpet,
Paving a path through the Juniper trees.
White flowers, petitely beckoning,
Purple flowers insistent.

The blue skies above, 
Pure white clouds.
Grey-green trees,
And soft green sagebrush.

The soil velvet brown,
Or dusty grey,
And still there is no one,
My seat is mine alone.

Alone where no one comes,
A freedom few feel,
Along with the breeze and the heat,
Even the birds quiet.

A place outside time,
A hundred years past,
A hundred years future.
Unchanging beneath the sun.

And me in the middle,
Unnoticed, a part of the whole,
Alone, not the horde,
Who trample, cut, and burn.

And so, I hope, it will remain,
Day after day,
Just me and the path,
The timeless way.

Thursday, June 20, 2019

I've figured out that "Takeover" could be improved by taking one of the characters and expanding on him. As it is, he's a little bit a figure of fun, diminished. In fact, all the original occupiers are less than substantial figures.

If I take this certain character and make him charismatic, someone who everyone follows, it would definitely improve the motivational underpinnings of the plot.

The question is--is the change important enough to risk skewing the plot? It's not possible to simply change a character without making sure it's consistent throughout the book. It's like removing one piece of a puzzle. It can all fall apart.

If I do make this change, do I have time to get it done before I hand it over to Lara? She has her schedule, which I have to fit into.

I'm going to finish the current rewrite, and then decide if I still have time. I've managed to work on 50 pages a day, so I would still have time to go through one more time, and I'm thinking I probably should.

I'm fighting the 100,000 word limit I've set on myself. I may have to stray slightly over that. But only if it improves the book.

I really want to try to deepen the characterizations, the inner dialogue, and bring in a bit more description and telling detail. It might add up to several thousand words.

But all in service to the book. By the end of this, I may have edited this book more than any other. (Not rewrite, per se, because I've completely changed "Faerylander" a bunch of times.) But fiddling with the actual writing, this is probably the most I've done.

It's my most difficult and experimental work--and I feel like it is so close to being good.

Tuesday, June 18, 2019

Twilight colors in the High Desert,
a last show for the wanderer,
colors deep and muted,
piercing the grey soil.

The vast stillness
teased by a crickets call
and dust muffled footsteps,
ambling and hurrying

to get home before dark,
stumbling, an awkward ballet,
trees and rocks keep the silence,
so close to home.

Choosing pictures,
unsatisfied at first,
and then all becomes
a picture, every stone

every tree, sagebrush,
and rocky knoll, walls
of lava, inviting protection,
to the wanderer on his way home.

Anthills on every mound,
shattered rocks left alone
trees crowning every rise
and blue sky turning to glow

I linger, daring the falling light,
the cooling air, blanket silence
and the eternal night,
desperate victor of desert life

Twilight colors in the High Desert
welcoming me to the stay,
but darkness has its own domain
and I dare not remain.

Monday, June 17, 2019

Life in a moment.

A moment from gone
it all fades away
blurs, thrums,
to the helicopter blades.

Take the moment
remember, question, appreciate
for it may blink out
a moment gone, and gone, and gone

Vibrations, EMT's close
all in a day's work
watching, alert, reaching out
"Are you OK?"

Floating, humming
sedatives in my blood,
not frightened, curious.
This is the moment.

And it's all right,
surprisingly OK,
I've done my thing
and this was going to happen anyway.
I'm glad I decided to do a rewrite "Takeover" all the way through. I'm finding things that are wrong--and I shouldn't expect Lara to catch all of them. This is the right thing to do. There is no substitute for doing the work--and by work, I mean rewriting.

It's a much more readable story now--I believe I establish the main characters in those first 11 chapters or so.

The problems that remain--if they are problems--are inherent in the form and premise. You know, the basic story.

The more I get into the book, the more I like it.

That's the problem with rewriting. In order for a rewrite to do any good, there has to be time between the first draft and the rewrite.

Because so much time has passed, it's extremely difficult to get into the swing of things. What usually happens is that I go to do a specific thing--and in the course of doing it, I slowly come around to understanding the story again.

Anyway, I like the book again, and that's a good feeling.

Sunday, June 16, 2019

This rewrite is going faster than I expected. I'd only hoped to do the first 100 pages, but it looks now like I'll get through the entire book.

Which needs to be done.

The book on the Sagebrush Rebellion is mostly politics, of which I can only use a little. I'm reading 30 pages a day, and meanwhile, I'm editing 30 pages a day on "Takeover."

I'm hoping to present that is a done and done for my publisher. Editing done, and maybe even the cover. I've approached Mike Corley, who did the cover to "Deadfall Ridge."

This is a sequel--sort of. I counted how many chapters are Hart and Nicole, and it's roughly 40% or so. I think that's enough to squeak by.

Especially since 9 out of the first 11 chapters are Hart and Nicole, so that gives it a bit of grounding.

The beginning is much, much smoother, much more like a regular book. I think I improved the readability dramatically.

It's still a stretch, drama-wise, but it's not a bad thing to try to write over my head. If nothing else, to see what I'm capable of.

So I'm reading the Sagebrush Rebellion book--which, not surprisingly, is about politics more than anything else. Still, it gives a vivid portrait of the people and the land. The near vicinity of Malhuer terrain is different from the near vicinity of the Fossil Beds, though if you go a ways out, it's the same sagebrush and juniper.

But I really don't want "Takeover" to get too political. I'm trying to tread a middle ground, but I'll probably piss off both sides. What's interesting is that I got so much of it right. The parts I don't have right are either not applicable to the different setting and/or go too deeply into the politics.

Still, in doing this rewrite, I'm starting to see that the "Takeover" is pretty good again. I swing back and forth on the "how good" scale. I did try to do something different, to up my game. Problem is, I probably took on more than I could chew.

Don't be part of a shady system.

Another article (in the Bulletin) about fraud in the sports card industry.

Well, duh.

I'm shocked, shocked, to find there is fraud in the sports card industry!

I've spent the last 25 years steering Pegasus Books away from the entire concept of "investment" value in anything--comics, cards, books....anything.

I was a true believer in the first five years of the sport card boom, but at the end of that period I realized that there were so many shysters and conmen selling stuff that I simply couldn't be part of it. I spent the next five years trying to ween myself from the dependence on that market--telling anyone who would listen that they should read comics for entertainment and collect cards for fun. Period.

By 1997, I was no longer dependent on sports cards. I still remember the moment when I answered a sports card complaint by saying, "I'm not a card shop." Pheww.

By 1997, I was rebuilding from the wreckage of the comic speculators by focusing on readers.

And here it is, 22 years later, and there is another boom in comics that has nothing to do with the actual comics. "Variant" covers...oh, my! And I'm keeping the store out of it. I think it's bogus, and I'm sad to see some of my fellow retailers encouraging it.

My saying is, "The Antiques Roadshow has a lot to answer for!" Investment and speculation simply don't work for the average consumer. And by the time you learn enough to do it properly, you should have learned that you are surrounded by some very unsavory practices.

So just don't do it. I mean, think about it. Who would have more an inside advantage than an actual dealer?--and yet, I chose not to go there.

Don't be part of a shady system. Don't be part of something that almost by definition means taking advantage of people less knowledgeable than you. 

Saturday, June 15, 2019

Started to read the Sagebrush Rebellion book.

What I already love is the wonderful real-life dialogue. It's somehow poetic and evocative.

Whereas my language is functional at best.

I'd love to be able to replicate that language, at least a little. I wonder if I really apply myself to ten pages a day, working on not only the telling detail I wanted, but somehow really deepen the dialogue--I mean, just sit there every time I hit dialogue and see if I can't figure out how to make it more individualistic, more authentic.

I mean, this book is really over my head, but that doesn't mean I can't keep trying.

I've got ten days to work on this--using the book as my spark. I hope I can add some real quality to this book.

After the first 100 pages or so, I'm going to let the plot take over, but until then, I'd like to immerse the reader into the setting, bathe them in the language. It will just take work on my part, a little extra effort.

I'm kind of looking forward to it, frankly.

I think the book is just lacking that little bit of extra to get there.

Friday, June 14, 2019

Linda thought the ending of "Castle La Magie" was good. I do think it worked out pretty well, especially for a story I was stuck in. Not a lot of missteps.

Adding the Sister Executioners was what was needed: or, in other words, a second storyline.

Looking over "Ruby Red and the Robots," I can see that a second or even third plotline is needed. I thought  it was close to 40K words, but instead, I'm only up to 20K words, only a third of the way. Not sure if I want to even attempt to finish if that is true.

But for sure, the story isn't strong enough with just Ruby as narrator. Plus, I think I'll need to start from the beginning with it being a Spell Realm novel--that is, a future colonized world that has become magic.

Oh, well. First I do a final, final rewrite of "Takeover," then I take a long look.

Thinking over "Takeover," I think one of the problems is that I tried to make it true to life--and missed, because that's really hard--but by doing so, the story has almost a documentary tone to it, at least in the first half.

So I need to up the emotional responses of the characters, as much as I can. The "drama" if you will. "Dram" is hard from me on most books, but especially this one. I probably can't overdo it; I just don't write that way, so trying to up the emotional response is probably appropriate.

I don't know exactly how to do that. I'll have to think on it. But at least for the first hundred pages, I need to try.

For example, I have Hart behind rejected by Nicole, and therefore rebounding to the "other" woman. But I do it very briefly and dryly. I really need to put inner dialogue for all these characters, an emotional response for each of them. Lift this out of matter-of-factness.

At the same time, if I'm trying to make it real, I need to have as much authentic telling detail as possible. So I'm researching the Sagebrush Rebellion.

Theoretically, I'd like to put in a couple of inner dialogue parts on every page, and a couple of new telling details on every page, for the first 100 pages.

Of course, it may turn out that I do a bunch on one page and none on another, but that's what I'm going to set off trying to do.

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Dammit, Robert Zimmerman!

So I'm watching "Rolling Thunder Revue" on Netflix and....





When a character who I'm pretty sure is fictional pops up.

And suddenly, the utterly humorless German director, "Van Dorp," looks very suspicious.

And Sharon Stone as the 17 year old groupie--that seems suspiciously convenient.

And Sam Shepard, the playright, being along for the ride--no, that appears to be true.

And...Dammit, Bob Dylan (& Martin Scorsese), quit messing with my head!

It may be possible to find the truth about Bob Dylan, but you'll never get it from the little bastard himself.

I can almost hear him chortling.

Wednesday, June 12, 2019

I was feeling fairly depressed yesterday.

Mostly about writing, I think. And the hangover of the heart attack.

It's not clinical depression, I don't think. But enough of a warning that I don't want to go that way. So I have to remember the way I got out of that last depression--accomplishing things, even small things, doing the right things, things that make me feel good about myself. Living the right way. Taking the moral high ground.

I finished my gardening today, (never finished, of course) the store is doing well, (I'd like to winnow down the credit card debt this summer). Linda is happy, we're all right financially (laid out a major chunk of money to help a family member). I've fixed my teeth, my glasses, my heart. (Need to eat better...that's probably the hardest goal of all).  I probably need to walk every day (I have long streaks, and then I'll lay off for a while) and write every day (again, not as diligent as I used to be.)

It helped that on my walk yesterday I came up with what I think is a solid ending to Castle La Magie. I'm going to write that today and then print out a hard copy for Linda. On Friday I'm going to set about working on "Takeover" again for a couple of weeks.

After that, I'll decide which of my other unfinished projects I want to tackle. I can clear a lot of ground in the next sixth months. Enough to fuel my writing "career" for several years down the road.

I have a vague idea of setting aside three or four years to write my Epic Fantasy. We'll see.
One chapter and an epilogue to go. At 54,200 words, it will be at the right length. This will be my first designated Young Adult novel. I say designated, because many of my books are really directed at my 16 year old self, especially my first three books.


All right, wrote what I thought was going to be the last chapter. It was hard, took me an entire day of procrastination. 

Now I see that I do need one more chapter rather than an epilogue.

Up to 55,300 words. So undoubtedly going to go over 56,000 words, which is a good number for YA.

I'm going to ask Linda to do an edit, which I don't usually presume to do. She likes hard copy, so I'll be printing this up tomorrow.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Hit 52K words today on "Spell Realm" with only a chapter and an epilogue to go. My goal was somewhere between 55K and 60K since this is intended to be a YA novel, so I'm right where I'm supposed to be.

It's been a struggle. The words aren't exactly flowing, but you know what? When I'm done, it's very hard to see a qualitative difference between words that are inspired and words that are worked at. So I just keep working at it.

I want to finish it by next Saturday.

The mystery: Last night going to bed, I told myself I wanted to fully visualize the last chapter. Just a small prompt for tomorrow, but by the time I went to sleep, I had it figured out. Where those thoughts come from is a mystery. I suspect part of it is asking the right question, but I do that all the time and images and words don't magically appear. And then...sometimes they do.

I'm going to go through "Takeover" one more time for a couple of weeks. I just bought a book about the Sagebrush Rebellion which I'm hoping to use for research. Then should have that done in time for my editor Lara to take a look at the end of the month.

I want to finish "Ruby Red and the Robots" after that. Also turn it into a Spell Realm novel.

Then finish "The Wyvern Riders." Then get the geographical details of all four novellas of "Tales of the Thirteen Principalities" right.

Then look over the first two Lander books, and adapt the third book to the new changes, and the fourth book, which also needs a finish.

Lots of work, no so much fun. But I don't feel ready to start a new novel until I've mulled it over a little longer, so doing this catch-up writing is all good.

Sunday, June 9, 2019

Comics are an incredibly creative artform.

I thought I should follow up the previous post about how much easier new books are to sell than comics with an explanation why I carry comics.

I believe comics are the most creative of all art forms, at least those who are produced on a professional level. Something about the visual mixed with the literary opens the floodgates of wild and imaginative story-telling.

Most movies and books follow some sort of template. You can figure out pretty fast what kind of book or movie you're imbibing.

With comics, you never know.

So I'll make a distinction here. Super-hero comics do indeed have a template (and even here, I believe there is more stretching and warping of the expected than you'll find in most media.) But outside of that, anything goes.

And I do mean anything.

There's a reason that TV and movies constantly dip into comics for their ideas. I think part of it is the very smallness of comics. There isn't as much riding on the average comic. The barrier to entry is low. Wild ideas are not only allowed, but encouraged.

Think about any original movie--it's a huge investment, and you don't know if it will pan out. If it doesn't pan out, you'll lose a ton of money. Same with TV shows and books. So it's safer to make sequels to ideas that have already worked, or follow the same old path a successful book has already blazed.

Looking at the book liquidation lists every week, it's amazing how many clones there are to successful books, especially young adult.

Of course, the same thing happens in comics, but there is also a huge percentage of truly original and out-there ideas, created by individual creators and yet given a chance to shine.

It's a constantly surprising world, and I feel like it has helped me in my own creative life, as an example and a goal.

Comics have nurtured a couple of generations of individualistic thinkers, writers, and artists, and has allowed them to bring their works to the public. There isn't a lot of money in it, unfortunately, and may of these incredibly creative people struggle to make a living.

But that hasn't stopped them. The flow of creativity just keeps coming, and it's inspiring. 

Selling new books is ten times easier than comics.

This is probably going to sound arrogant, but I have to say--selling new books is ten times easier than selling comics.

I mean, in some ways it's a no-brainer.

You find good books and you put them out for sale, and by golly, they sell. The more good books you have, the more they sell.

It's not a guessing game like comics. Comics have to be ordered in advance, with limited information, you have to guess how many will sell, you are committed to having enough in stock to keep your customers interested, if they don't sell, you can't send them back. They sell for a very limited amount of time, then they're outdated. It's a constantly shifting market, with ups and downs, changes in artists, writers, story-lines, with innumerable variations, covers, one-shots, crossovers, series, and starting-overs.

Comics are so difficult that no mass market outlet has ever really figured out how to do it. Which in some ways has helped insulate the comic world from being stomped on by the Big Guys. Also, there isn't a whole lot of money in it. Not enough for the Big Guys to do more than take an occasional foray into the comic world.

The Big Guys find out that despite the latest Avengers movie wracking up a billion dollars, the actual comic with the same story line sells in the low five figures. I can just see them in their corporate lairs going, "WTF?"

Comics have always had a glass ceiling. That is, if you find that a Spider-man comic sells 10 copies, and you order 12 just in case, that you've allowed for growth. But that ordering 20 copies doesn't sell more than the 10 you were already selling.

Don't get me wrong. I love comics. I think they're one of the most creative art forms there is. But they are difficult.

I've always had to carry other product to survive. It wasn't until I hit the mix of comics, graphic novels, toys, card games, board games, and new books, that we became self-sustaining.

At first, new books were an adjunct to used books. I got used books from Linda's store, but never enough of the really good titles. So I figured, I'll order the books that people are constantly asking for but which never came in.

I was surprised to find that the same amount of space for new books outsold used books 5 to 1.

Huh. What do you know?

See, all I'd heard was how bookstores were struggling.

So I started visiting bookstores on my travels, and I found out why. Most of them pretty much weren't doing a very good job. Same damn books in every store. Limited inventory. Snobby, not carrying many genre books, disorganized and messy, disinterested clerks, nothing very interesting. The American Booksellers Association, the ABA style-bookstore, focused on "best-sellers" and culturally approved "literary" novels. More concerned with appearances than content.

Tiny sections for SF and fantasy, maybe a bigger section for mysteries/thrillers, probably few if any romance, western, or horror. A paltry selection of classics, almost no cult books, same old, same old Oprah books that B & N and Costco were selling for huge discounts.

I mean, I'm a reader. I've always read a lot, and not just the same genres. I've read every kind of book. I know what books I thought were good, which writers, and I looked up lists of cult books, books with an ongoing following.

I get a stock of books and they never date. They don't become paper like so many comics do. If the book is good, someone will be looking for it. Not only that, but they have probably been looking for it, and instead finding ABA style bookstores full of the latest literary darlings.

So I'm going to look for that kind of book, the kind the ABA stores can't be bothered with, and if it sells, I'm going to order it again.

And slowly but surely, I've built of a roster of evergreen books, titles I know will sell, either fast, or slow, but will sell.

At this point, the only thing stopping me is lack of space. I'm crammed, and with the other product lines, including comics, providing a self-sustaining level of business, I have no real incentive to replace them. So I keep looking for nooks-and-crannies to place my funky books.

It's fun and it's a challenge, and I feel like I've only just started.

Friday, June 7, 2019

My writing has evolved--or devolved...

My writing has evolved--or devolved--into a very basic form. Sparse, simple, straight-forward.

Maybe too much so, I don't know. It can be startling to go from working on one of my stories to reading authors who have huge chunks of inner dialogue or descriptive passages or explanations.

Part of my rewriting is just looking for places where I can extrapolate, explain, describe.

My simpler style is closer to the style I see in thrillers than in SF or Fantasy or Horror.

I'm currently reading a book with two authors: the son of a very famous SF writer, and another SF writer who I've read. So I don't do negative reviews, so I'm going to be somewhat vague.

It's a very mediocre book. Obviously trying hard to hit the motifs of the famous father's best book, but pretty much missing. I now suspect that none of the books by the "son" are actually written by him; indeed, I suspect they were all written by the second author.

Lots and lots of description of motives and attempts at subtle power positioning. (The thing the famous father's best book is known for) but comes across as heavy-handed and obvious. Pretty sophomoric, actually.

Anyway, this is all just to say that my writing is very different than this--it may be just as sophomoric, but in a different way. Less pretentious, I would hope.

Really, what it's come down to is that I have suddenly realized that I have indeed developed a style of my own.

I know the ways I can improve on it, but it requires a fair amount of work, which I'm always a little leery of--not because I'm lazy (though I am) but because I've had too many experiences of taking a perfectly good story and ruining it.

So that's the constant balancing act.

The biggest thing I'm adding to this equation is time. All my stories can benefit from sitting on them for a few months. Then, after some thought and research, doing a page by page rewrite.

And then setting it aside for another few months.

Thing is, I now have enough material written to be able to do that, and still hit my publication schedules.

This sort of patience is hard, and requires true diligence. I sometimes fall short, tell myself that the book is done before it is. I have to watch out for that,

Sometimes I come back and find the book to be perfectly fine. This happened with "Eden's Return." I thought I'd do some philosophical research--the story is sort of metaphysical--but upon rereading it, I realized that adding more would be too much. So I'm sticking with the spare, but hopefully elegiacal tone of the story.

So now that I sort of halfway know what I'm doing, I'm hoping I can combine the right story with the right style with the right working process, and write a book that is perhaps better than the sum of its part, synergistic and elevating. The perfect little book (or big book) if you will...

Every book I start, there is that chance.

Thursday, June 6, 2019

I'm still working through my heart attack.

Part of me wants to finish up my books as quickly as possible and get them out there.

Part of me want to take my time finishing up my books, make sure they're right.

Part of me wants to just write something new, that might be better than anything I've done.

And part of me wonders what the point is, why bother?

80% of what I've made in the last 15 months has been from "Deadfall Ridge." All my other books combined make up the other 20%, which just shows the power of BookBub, but even more the relative futility of plunking anything out there not using BookBub.

Who knows if I'll ever get accepted again, or if I do, I'll have the same results.

I've thought it over, and I suspect my first three books have probably sold ten times what even "Deadfall Ridge" has done, because they were mass distributed in the early 80s and that was a whole different ballgame. One of them was distributed in the British Commonwealth and showed up all over the world.This, despite my feeling that I am three times the writer I was back then.

Well, first things first. Finish Spell Realms: Castle La Magie. Then see what happens.

Put out "Eden's Return" and "Takeover at the Fossil Beds" and see what happens.

One step at a time.

Monday, June 3, 2019

Got crazy ambitious yesterday. I got an idea for a prologue to "Spell Realms" that would explain the underlying universe of about 5 of my unpublished fantasy books. Science fantasy, if you will, because I'm never completely sure of the science.

I've mentioned before, I seem to be fixated on this idea of worlds with high scientific achievement all of a sudden becoming magic.

I also feel like I should make these "Young Adult" books.

Easy to come up the concept. Not sure how hard it will be to do.

I've created a list of projects I'd like to complete by the end of the year, rounding out to about 12, each which should take roughly 2 weeks. If I can pull this off, I have up to 16 stories I can finish. It means not trying to write anything new until this is done.

I write these kinds of lists all the time, but some new shiny story usually comes along and I put everything else aside.

It's time to knuckle down and finish what I've already started.

I'm delighted with what I've done with the first Spell Realms book. I've figured out the ending, and it's simply a matter of finishing it.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

For the first time in a while, I'm writing new story, or rather, extending a previous story.

It's also the first time I've really picked up an abandoned book and continued it. I have three or four such stories around, but new ideas have always superseded them.

I have the same realization each time I write new stuff.

Nothing else matters. Doubts and second-guessing go away. Publishing, or editing, or reviews and anything else not-the-story disappears.

The story is the thing.

Basically, once I focus on the story, I'm thinking about how I can improve it. The writing world is contained within, without need of anything from outside.

A simple world of who says what, who does what, and where did that come from?

I live with the characters, and the characters are concerned with their world, not mine. Nothing alters the results in that world, but me.

Saturday, June 1, 2019

The nightmare lingers,
waiting for sleep,
its dominion smothering
all light.

Blinding my eyes,
squeezing my heart,
clawing my mind,
raggedly breathing.

A bully,
pushing to the pavement
all kindness and peace.
gagged and blindfolded.

I tear at it,
opening raw,
the nightmare bleeds,
flooding thought.

I rise from bed,
and turn on the lights,
but the shadow remains,
hiding, waiting.