FayTown Calling Inventory

Spent the weekend taking inventory of FayTown Calling. There is more work than what I’m about to say, and I’ll get to that in a minute, but the majority of the inventory pointed out the last third of the book as needing the most attention. This comes from my last push at this where I took out most of the ending I had written. I wanted to take it in a different direction then and still do. Now I just need to write it. There are a few other parts, but that’s the biggest section.

Biggest section it may be, but not the biggest part. I said in my last post that I may not have been writing, but I’ve been thinking on all of it. That’s true, and I’ve got some themes I am going to need to streamline. Both from a storytelling perspective and from a Lore perspective.

Storytelling is a craft thing. I’m rusty but I’ll smooth that out with work and practice.

Lore, well, I cannot emphasize how seriously I take Lore. Virgil’s world is something I have been sculpting for seven or eight years. Things have been honed a lot, but it’s always been a living thing. In Sorcerer Rising, I introduced certain aspects of the world such as the Aether, the Guild, and the magic system (parts of it anyway). Mixed in were glimpses of things I intend to be larger, the Fay, the Order of the Ring, the Cathedral and the Sisters. The Fay and the Sisters of Truth play a central role in this story and in fleshing that out, I fleshed out more and more of my world, which changes some of the themes that I run into.

I want to ensure I get that right. I’m happy overall with Sorcerer Rising, but there were a few things about the end I just didn’t know how to wrap up. I obsess over my imperfections and have thought of a few different ways I could have handled that. I don’t want to paralyze myself with the thought that something could be better (because it can ALWAYS be better but never perfect, don’t let perfect get in the way of good, great, and done).

I have neither the time nor the patience for perfect, but it must be right.

Moving Forward

Looking at the last post in January and where I was then vs where I am now, I am shocked at how much has occurred. How much and how little. Two biggies, finished my MBA and witnessed the surprising early birth of our second child. All well on that front, couldn’t be better in fact, but little to no writing since then.

There are a number of reasons I could cite for not being more active this year. The two above took up a lot of my time but I could have made time and didn’t. Really and truly, my mindset has been the true deterrent. I posted on November 24th, 2015 that I would not be posting for the next few days. I needed to take care of some work stuff. There was a thing that was coming up and at the time I needed to focus until it was done. So I took some time off. That was true, but eerie to read now in August. Eerie because I have a visible indication of my thinking before and after that moment, with a massive eight month gap that painfully illustrates how long it took my to get past it. At the time I literally thought it was going to be a day. I realize I am being vague, and that is by design, just know I turned a milestone into a millstone and it has been weighing me down ever since.

That changed today. The millstone has been cut away and I have closed out an interesting chapter of a different avenue of my life.

I made a promise to myself that as soon as this thing was done, I was going to write. Tonight I began to take inventory of where FayTown Calling is. It has been a while, so I am looking at where all of this is to see what needs to be done. The good news is even though I have been reprehensibly negligent of my writing, I never stop thinking of this. Virgil’s world, his story, where I want this to go, has continued to evolve and FayTown Calling has been building up in my head. At some point in the past year I even outlined the series which helped me to frame the overall arch of Virgils McDane and where we’re going with him.

For the foreseeable future I will be taking inventory and developing habits again. I have to relearn some things and reboot. I will continue to post here to develop at least a few of those habits. I will also be writing. The blog is going to serve a big part of that, and in many ways than one. It needs to be a habit, even if I’m not writing about, well, writing. I always felt guilty whenever I posted something up here about gaming or movies or whatever because I was just leaving a visible evidence trail that I wasn’t writing fiction. The truth is though that I do more than write, and while I am going to be making a conscious effort to manage how much I am writing (or not writing), I also have other things I love to do and I want to write about them. Since I wrote my last post, I watched Mad Max and the Martian, went insane over the new Star Wars, binge watched House of Cards, Brooklyn 99, and Stranger Things, played Overwatch, Pokemon X, and Destiny, have continued to hate the execution of Pokemon Go and Nintendo’s business model as a whole, started reading comics in a real way, have read a ton of great books, and had all kinds of other thoughts on a wide range of shit.

Do you care? Hell if I know, but this is my damn blog and I’m gonna talk about it. Because I need to be comfortable talking again. Because I need to be comfortable about writing again and sharing where I am and using that to be excited about writing and telling stories and creating and making up shit and everything else. It’s all connected, at least the way I do it.

Gonna finish this up with an apology. Because a lot of people, more than I ever thought would be interested in my writing or care enough to ask, have inquired about Virgil and FayTown Calling in particular. I have been missing in action and ignored that reader base. I am not the most sociable person, especially when it comes to my work. Just the thought of considering these inquirers “fans” (note that I just called y’all a reader base) makes me uneasy because I feel it insinuates hubris.

So, anyone who has read Sorcerer Rising, and especially if you have inquired about FayTown Calling or anything else regarding my writing, I apologize for my lack of response or attention. Please know, I am honored by anyone who has given me their time and/or money. I am terribly uncomfortable accepting praise. Words always fail me in writing those types of responses, which usually leads to my neglecting to respond at all. What it always boils down to is simple this, thank you for reading my work and I am glad you liked it. Behind those words I am literally going insane with joy and could go on and on and on about how much these message mean to me, but that pretty much hits on the root of it.

As for the status, I am too early to give a timeline. Just know that I have reprioritized this in my life and am very, very interested in getting it done in published. Partly because I have a clearer idea of what I want novels three, four, and five to be.

As I progress, I will update here. Can’t promise pretty but one of the things I have learned in the past several months is that those first, stumbling steps are ugly and oftentimes painful. And that’s okay.

November Update: NaNoWriMo

Ugh, this is only the third post this year. I would start with some big, philosophical heartfelt communication about writing and creativity and discipline, but I think that’s mainly what the other two were. I’m tired of doing that (though I bet this post shifts toward that in the end).

So here is where we are.

FayTown Calling continues. Writing progress is painfully slow, mainly due to inconsistency. It’s been a busy year, my job, wife’s nursing school, the progeny, blah, blah, blah. Look, if you have read this blog at all, you know I’m busy and that’s why the second novel still hasn’t come out. All those things are true (though my wife is now officially done with school and I COULD NOT BE PROUDER!!!) but it’s real easy to use life as an excuse. I wish I could say all my free time was going toward writing, but it’s not.

I can find time, it’s just about discipline.

So, here’s how I’m going to deal with that. The keyword of the month is accountability. It’s embarrassing for me to be writing a post like this again, with publication still well over the horizon, but it’s a lot easier to do it when it’s only the third time this year, and that’s exactly why I’ve done it that way. It’s much easier to come on here and throw up a post with a bad status update every few months, vs keeping a daily tally.

Part of the original function of my blogging, and the website in general, was to serve as a log, so that I could record progress and make that information available to any who might be interested. High level, it’s a lot harder for me to not write if I am making said lack of writing a matter of public record.

Which sucks, but accountability usually does.

It being November, a month well known in our circles as National Novel Writing Month (an event I have always wanted to participate in), I thought it would be the best time to start with this.

So this post will go up roughly two in the morning on Nov. 1st (something like that, not sure how Daylight Savings will affect it) and my goal will be to write sometime Sunday. But whatever I do, or don’t do, there will be an update by tomorrow night. That will continue, these updates. Can’t guarantee they’ll be long, whether I’ve done a lot or not, but it’ll help in forming the habit and keep this on my radar.

All of this is intended on finishing out the month with a solid draft of FayTown Calling. I can’t even say where it is right now, but I know I’ve got some work to do. If I don’t finish, I’ll keep going.

Every day.

That’s a big promise, one I am very uncomfortable making. Not even really sure how I’m going to do it. Work hasn’t gotten slower, and all of the things I’ve referenced keep going, plus the holidays. But that’s my goal and I’m going to do everything I can to get as close to it as possible.

So here comes the philosophy damnit. I’ve used this before, and I don’t know that the attribution is correct, but it hangs over my computer at work and it’s one of the most important things I’ve ever heard. I’d rather fail trying to succeed, than keep ignoring this and let this continue to slip by.

“The greater danger for most of us lies not in setting our aim too high and falling short; but in setting our aim too low, and achieving our mark.” – Michelangelo

FayTown Calling is only the second Virgil book, and I have at least five other stories for him planned. A few of those, I know probably aren’t even sequential, that is, I know they are later in Virgil’s story and there will be other books I haven’t thought of yet beforehand. There are scenes I have thought of for years that I don’t even know where they fall, characters waiting to be created, villians ready to rise, and a world ready to be explored.

I don’t want to always be getting around to it.

So I’ll end with this.

See you tomorrow.

One Year of Being Published

My mother in law reads this blog (she’ll get a kick out of this), so I can’t use the expletives I wanted to when I realized what day it was.

One year ago, I clicked submit and began funneling Sorcerer Rising through the process of being published on Amazon through KDP. That was a big friggin’ day for me. I spent the night prior polishing and getting things ready, then spent that Sunday writing out six and a half thousand words (a record for me until a couple months ago). That was one of my best writing sessions, those words went into the book with almost no editing and are a couple of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

I spent Sunday night in a state of panic and euphoria, waking up throughout the night to search for the book on Amazon. I did that probably a dozen times between midnight and six. I dreamed, literally, that the book was selling thousands of copies.

Finally, around six or so, it was live.

I sold nine copies that first day. I’ve sold around eight-hundred since, making about $1,200. Not a lot, but not a bad start either.

This started out as one of those posts I hate. You know, the ones where the blogger/author/whatever comes on after a month of silences and says, “Hey, still alive, I swear.” They’re never fun. They usually signal the end of whatever enterprise the website is centered around, a lot of times because the Creative in questions has gotten bored, lost interest, been discouraged, etc.

That’s not the case here.

I know I haven’t been on the blog in a little while, and I haven’t updated anyone on the second book or anything else. That is a failure on my part and your patience is greatly appreciated. I am going to do better on that, both in updating and in actually writing.

So, for a quick update, I am extremely behind where I thought I was going to be by this time of the year. I had originally conceived of having FayTown Calling out in May, with the third on its way out by the end of the year. That has, if you go through my history, steadily crawled later and later into the 2014.

And that sucks.

It’s also life though. I’m not a full time writer. Hats off to those who’ve figured out how to do that, but I haven’t, so as a reader of my work, you get this kinda is it/isn’t it mentality of whether or not I’m going to hit my deadlines.

I have worked in one roles for my particular company for most of my legit writing career. Shortly after I released Sorcerer Rising, I went into a new position, a position that, much to my surprise, I actually find pretty damn fulfilling. It’s hard, work intensive, and occupies more time than my old job ever did. But I’m also getting to do work I really never thought I would get to be involved in.

In June, a big part of that work changed. Not in a bad way, actually that’s what made it more fulfilling, but in a way that nevertheless has demanded more from me, both in time and energy. Then I had a deadline for something looming and spent every ounce of focus I had making sure it happened right. Honestly, it’s been one thing after another, and I know you don’t want to hear about all that.

You want to hear about FayTown Calling.

You want to know, where the hell is it?

My answer is simple, it’s not ready yet. There are some big chunks that need to be filled in, then I need to apply a lot of polish. One thing that I’ve learned in my new job, one of the many things I’m applying to my writing life, is that the timeline is less important than making sure things get done well.

Anything else, would just be a disappointment. If you liked Sorcerer Rising, I am going to make sure that you like FayTown Calling. Now, that doesn’t mean it gets to languish on while I nitpick over everything, hissing at anyone who asks, my fist raised in the air, shouting about how “You can’t rush art!” The other thing I’ve learned is that you always, ALWAYS, have to have a date in mind, otherwise you don’t hone in on what you have to do to reach said date.

The date in question, by the way, is November 17th. I think that will give me time to finish, polish, give to Alpha/Beta Readers (because ya’ll are probably going to get mashed together) and then get it to publication.

I’m only really worried about one thing, and for that I’m going to give a quick appeal because I don’t really know what to do.

I have always been a proponent of the publishing world’s overemphasis on editing. Don’t get me wrong, I think the book needs to be as perfect as possible before people read it. I just disagree that it should cost $2,000-$6,000+ to make that happen. For Sorcerer Rising, I did it all myself. Overall, I think I did a pretty damn good job. And for the most part, my reviews would agree.

Except for a handful, and unfortunately, those handful were perhaps more perceptive than some others, myself included. I’m pretty good with spelling and typos, but homonyms and some basic grammar rules kick my tail. So, if anyone knows how to find a good proofreader, that’d be great. This is something I have to start pricing and allotting time for.

For now, I am focusing on writing. I will keep updating here and via my newsletter, something else I’ve sorely neglected, but I promise the results will be worth it.

Dracula Untold and Vampires in Virgil’s World

I wanted, so very, very much, to hate this but it actually doesn’t look half bad. Did Dracula need an origin story? No, certainly not, and definitely not as the hero, but it looks like it’ll be better than Maleficent or I, Frankenstein. I have yet to see it, but if the trailer and reviews are any indication, it was horrible. At least Frankenstein’s Monster is a bit sympathetic, I don’t know how they screwed it up so badly.

Trailer for Dracula Untold on TrailerAddict.

I’ve been wanting to write a short story about Vampires for a while, and this just might have goaded me into action. I hate that Vampires have lost their monstrous quality, that the only dynamic anyone wants to tell anymore is that of the sympathetic, abused, misunderstood, glittery, romantic immortal. Even in stories like Underworld, where the vampires are the baddies, they’re really just guys that fangs and guns that are a bit tougher. They downplay the raw power, the awe, of a legend that has haunted mankind for millennia, crossing across nearly every culture. At least with this, they seem to have gotten the Sorcerer aspect of that right.

From a purely emotional level, I think my favorite portrayal was Salem’s Lot. King said he wanted to portray the vampire as a monster, a ravenous unthinking beast, barely contained and concealed behind the facade of an elegant and dignified noble. It wasn’t a curse, not to the vampire, but the true source of his power. He celebrated that but was intelligent and stylistic enough to know that each had its place and time. This is a complete opposite from, say, a werewolf which is usually victim to their other self. Vampires, Dracula in particular, were rarely the victim, always in charge, unstoppable, a force of nature.

That’s a true villain of the night.

So, I’m gonna try and crank out a short story. Who knows how long that’ll take, but I’ll send it out in my email but may put it on the site as well. Like everything else in Virgil’s world, it reflects my favorite aspects of fantasy and how I see things, and in this case I want everyone to know how I feel.

I think I’ve got a fun take on how Vampires should be.