About Me

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Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Independent author and amateur beefcake

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Nanowrimo 2013 - Simmering

The simmering stage, that's what I call this.

It's once you've gotten past that first bit that you've imagined the novel started with.  The opening scene introducing your characters has been written.  You've gotten past that first painful bit where you doubt you ever had an idea that could sustain a novel.

Suddenly as you're writing a drop of new knowledge is dispensed.  His sister's an alcoholic?  Really, I didn't know that but it sure makes sense with the stuff I want to write later.  He's suffering from depression?  Wow, that's great because I couldn't figure out to take them to those darker places.  This is the stuff novels are made of.  Happy coincidences.  They happen in life and they happen in books too.

I'm a bit behind on my word count.  Only *cough* ten thousand words or so *cough*.  I've got time to catch up though and suddenly, with a few 'happy coincidences, things look much more possible then they did yesterday.  I have some facts to play with now and I'm sure they were just the tip of the iceberg. 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Day three of Nanowrimo 2013

This is the post that's completely unnecessary.  I should be pounding out the words on my novel instead of creating a post for a blog.  I'm struck, however, at how similar events play out.  Every year before it's around this time that doubts begin to grow.

Once the first idea get's pulled out of your brain, the opening scene that you've ran over and over, in a loop, on your minds eye, and it finds it's way into the digital ink that you're throwing down, you don't know what to do next.  Sure there's other scenes, further along, that you can't wait to write but you can't do it yet because you haven't connected the dots.  It's those lines between the turning point that eventually create the picture, when it comes to connect the dots.  So, here too, it's the moments in between those big scenes that you're drooling over that will give your novel it's definition.

I know a couple of other characters that will eventually play a part, I haven't figured out yet how they enter or leave the story, I just know that they exist in some of those scenes I'm waiting to write.  I also know some of the sub stories that bob and weave through the book but, again, I don't know what or how they involve themselves with my characters yet.

Maybe, I should call the book...yet.  There seems to be a bit of that peppered throughout what I've written in this post, so far.

The trick is plodding along.  Sometimes the most painful work is the best work.  I've noticed in other things I've written that, at the time, when I thought I was just getting a word count in and that the pages I'd written would eventually just get tossed out, upon second review it was some of the better stuff I'd done.

So here goes, back into that breach....

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Nanowrimo 2013

Once again into the breach or something to that affect. (Is that the right use for affects? I shall google it toot sweet.....Apparently, I was wrong it's effect.  You can check out why, here.) Sooooo.....

Once again into the breach or something to that effect.  Nanowrimo is upon us and if you're not sure what that is, you too can google, I'm sure, it's the month of the year when I realize I'm not really a writer and I turn tail and run back under the covers to hide until it's over and I can go back to pretending.

Actually, things aren't that bad.  You wouldn't know that, since I never seem to post on my own blog, which exists so that I might reach potential readers.  I finished a short story a month or so back and it's heading out to be looked at by an editor before I put it onto kobo or amazon or something yet to be determined.  I've also gutted the first book I wrote, a zombie tale from the viewpoint of multiple characters, and have turned it into a series of shorter stories too.  One of those is novella length while the rest kinda remain at short story level.

This year, I'm pretty excited about my novel, a ghost story taking place in a hotel up in Alaska.  The tag line is...As the nights grow longer the bumps get louder.

Truthfully, I've already written about 500 words.  I know, I know, you're not supposed to write anything until Nov. 1 but I had to, the opening scene came bubbling up through the nether-regions of my mind the other night and, well, now it's been put down into digital ink.

I was beginning to get bogged down into the technicalities of it all, where does it take place, what gold rush town does it take place near but then I realized I'm the one writing it and I can fudge the numbers....a little bit.  I've traveled enough around Alaska, probably more than a lot of Alaskans have, to be honest.  I've been to Anchorage, Homer, Wasilla, Fairbanks, Seward, Aniak, Talkeetna and most of the smaller towns in between.  I muscled through two summers working at a Salmon Bake (exactly what you think it is, except we rented tent cabins and had a gift shop, as well.) at Denali National Park and I've drank a bulldog in a bar that Robert Service used to frequent and I've found myself in-between a Moose and her calf and lived.  The hotel and the small town that live in my mind are kind of an amalgamation of all those places and experiences.

So bring on November first.....I feel ready.


Tuesday, August 6, 2013

The Almost Neil Gaiman Book Signing (here in Toronto)...

I had bought a ticket to see Neil Gaiman on his very last book tour.  He's in Toronto, tonight, for a reading followed by a signing but I'm at home, wishing I would be there.

Why you might ask, am I home?  Because I'm broke, in short.  Sure I have books by Neil Gaiman sitting on my bookshelf, that would absolutely love to be signed, but Chapters/Indigo have sent out an email stating that only books bought through them may be signed by Neil.  Since, months and years ago, when I bought the books, I didn't know that I would need the receipt, in order to prove where they were bought, my only option is to buy a new book, there, at the signing. 

Unfortunately this is rent week and it's been a heavy month with issues, no need to go into my finances here but know that I can count the dollars I have with the digits I possess. 

My option is to go to the reading and when he's done with the chapter, leave, since I'm sure there's no option to just stand in line with nothing to sign, or go and watch him read and then watch him do some signings for other people.

Instead I decided to go home and read, all by my lonesome. 

I'm just resolved, now, to never accommodate something like this, when I'm a published author, where people have to re-buy books in order to prove their purchase.  I'm sure Neil Gaiman doesn't have a hand in any of this and I'm not upset with him, just upset with the bookstores that have this type of attitude.

I saw Anne Rice, last year, and she spoke at the public library and allowed up to three books signed, regardless of where they were bought.

Oh, well.  Maybe I'll meet ya at a convention or something, Neil?  When I'm pushing my book, too.  We will see.

Friday, August 2, 2013

On Stephen King's writing and Doctor Sleep

I have to say I'm truly happy for Stephen King finding his way back with these last bunch of books.  I think, starting with Cell, King rediscovered his story telling gifts.  Not to say anything was wrong with some of the books before that but, it seemed, at some point during the nineties and early aughts he was just writing to write, as most of us wanna be authors should be doing. Over the last ten years we've received a bunch of new classics from the horror master.  It's really a golden age of King books we're experiencing now.  (Now if only CBS had stuck to the book with Under The Dome)

Now with Doctor Sleep on it's way, we get an excerpt...

Check it out....HERE

All I can say is WOOT!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013


For a few hours, last week, I was a published author.  A self published author, that is.  I had submitted my short to Kobo Writing Life and pressed the publish button.  It took twenty four hours for it to hit the web and during that time is when the doubts happened. 

Was it ready?

Were there errors, I had missed?

What if nobody liked it?

What if nobody bought it?

I opened the sample Epub they send you on my Kobo and started reading it, for the hundredth time, and, almost, immediately found two spelling errors.  Even after I had sent it off to a few beta readers and even though, at this point, I'd read it so much I could probably do an audio version by memory.

So, even though it's only 8,000 words, I decided to send it off to an editor.  

I checked on Kobo and found that it had finally been approved and posted for sale.  I admired the image of my name next to the book cover and then went into my account and took the book off, until I can post a more polished version.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

The Dreaded Synopsis

You've wrote a story...now what...?  You get to write a synopsis for that story.  Easy, you say?  Not so much, say I.

I've been sitting here trying my best to come up with a small synopsis of my little ghost story and I'm finding this harder than the actual writing of the story, itself. 

Sure I know all the small plot points and character developments I've placed throughout the story but how do you give a small cliff-notes version of that without saying too much?

It's different with a novel, I'm supposing, since you can basically explain the opening chapter and then you can leave the rest of the book to do the majority of the talking for you.  With a short story, though, you can't do that.  I've got 60 pages, depending on your font size, that I need to condense into a small blurb.  A blurb that will decide if people hit the 'buy now' button on their ereader or browser.  Just a little bit of pressure.

Any ideas, out there, on the best way to go about this?

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Self Publishing Options and Beta Readers

So, one of the most frustrating things about deciding to self publish might have to be the options.

Yeah, who knew options were bad?!

KDP, Kobo, Createspace, Smashwords, etc and etc.  A few years ago you might have only had one or two places to go if you were deciding on going it alone. These days....not so much.

I'm tempted to go Kindle, simply because they simply 'own' the market when it comes to digital reading, even though I own a Kobo.  The deal is, however, that you can't have your stuff available on Kobo if you publish through Kindle and you can't have your stuff on Kindle if you publish through Kobo.  Smashwords is okay for both but I get the sense that there's doubt about the quality of a novel published through Smashwords.  Looking at their homepage certainly makes me doubt whats available there.

Currently I'm still inclined to go Kindle simply due to the amount of Kindles they've sold.

Now, on to beta readers.  I need some, pretty much.

I sent off my story to a buddy who's an avid reader and his response was.   "Yeah, it's pretty good."

I tried to get him to elaborate,  "Were there any spelling or grammatical errors, did the story lag, were characters developed enough that you cared about them?"

"It was pretty good, not spooky enough though."

I tried to explain that I wanted the story to be more about my character coming to terms with growing up and not about the horror, that the story also contained, but it seemed to fall on deaf ears.

I sent it to someone else, though, and he thought it was great, over the top great.  Scary and he loved the characters.  Still no negative feedback. 

I've read it and reread it and I can't really think of anything I want to change so maybe I'll just move forward and let the world decide?  I'm not sure yet.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Self Publishing

I've finished something.  Sounds crazy, right?  A writer who
can finish a story...weird.  But I did it, all the same.  It's a little ghost story that, I've been told, will give you the willies, not of the wet variety though so if you're looking for that there's a whole universe of internet sites out there to fit the bill.

It's a strange position to be in.  Back in the day, a finished short story would mean that I would start to send out manuscripts and hope some magazine, somewhere, would pick it up, or even better, an anthology of some kind.  Now, in this modern digital world, I don't have to wait for the approval of some person sitting in a cubicle.  I don't really know if those people sit in cubicles, it just helps, in my mind, if I imagine them sitting there, reading my work.  Now, though, I can, if I wanted, shove this thing onto the kindle store and people could start downloading it within minutes.  Doesn't mean people will, of course, but they could if they were so inclined to.

I'm of the mind that traditional publishing is dead.  Why publish when you can do it yourself.  Sure they give you some advertising, if you hit all their buttons right, but nothings guaranteed.  I know plenty of authors who got themselves an agent and then got signed and then got buried under the releases of other books, to never be seen again.

We live in a time when I'm surprised that big bands and musicians don't release their own work.  Imagine if U2 were to release an album on their website?  Cut out the middle man and you have complete artistic freedom and you get more of the dollars.  Win, win.  It's just scary to cut the cord, push yourself off the publishing rocket and spin out into zero gravity, all the while hoping that people decide to read or buy your stuff.

It's what I'm going to do, though.  I'm done thinking I can succeed at the 9-5 job, my mind is always in my stories.  I might be at work but, in my head, I'm wondering what that guys going to do with his new-found super powers, especially when the villain has just killed the city's previous hero. ( the current thing I'm working on.)

It's time for me to move closer to cutting the cord, see if anything can sell, see if there's a future for me as an author and see if the stories running through my head resonate with anyone out there.

Over the next few posts, I'll keep y'all informed of what it's like to push oneself through the self publishing hole.  I hope you read along and laugh and cry and shake angry sticks and preform publishing dances from long lost literary cultures.