Sep 112011

Yep, it’s true.  Just look at the progress meter to the right over there.  The writing and editing phase of Half Past Midnight is 100% complete, and I have to admit, I don’t really know how to feel about this.  After what seems like an eternity, I’m finally finished. It’s a really odd feeling.  I mean, I’ve been working on this thing so long that it’s hard to accept that this phase of things is over.  This is a major step, and like I said, I’m not quite sure how to feel about it.

Of course, HPM as a project isn’t entirely completed.  There is still more to do.  I’ve submitted a rough book description to Lynn for her comments, but once we’re done with that, my business with the Red Adept is done for now.  (Of course, I’ve already put my name on her schedule for my next book – even though her next opening isn’t until May of 2012 :shock: .)

And now I have to concentrate on getting the book formatted.  I haven’t contacted them yet, but I’m pretty sure I’ll be going with Telemachus Press for their eBook formatting services.  There is a tiny kink in that their price includes creation of a cover for the book, but they want the client (that would be me) to provide the artwork.  Of course, they can provide the artwork for an additional fee, but that will most likely cause a delay in the process, and I want my novel ready in time for Christmas.  There is also the matter of writing the dedication and acknowledgements, and finding out how I integrate them into the final manuscript for formatting.  I suppose I’ll get details on all this when I contact them.

I also am about to get serious with the podcasting of HPM, and I have The Road to Rejas in the works.  Additionally, I dusted off the first Streets of Payne manuscript today.  It was the first time I’ve even looked at it in several  months, and after what I’ve learned working with Lynn, I can see a lot of room for improvement.  Streets is a planned trilogy currently consisting of two partial manuscripts: The Payne of Her Convictions, and A Glass Half Full. There are also notes on the third novel in the series, but I don’t have any real work invested in it yet.  As for work invested in the first two, I have about 12k words on the first one, and about 20K on the second.  I plan on running about 80K on each of them, but it’s hard to say where they’ll end up.

There is also marketing to worry about, and of course, there’s still that blasted bio to work on. :-/ But all in all, I’m pretty pleased with the way things are going.

In other news, I signed the contract last week for the story I have that will be coming out in an anthology next year.  They still haven’t made the public announcement, so I still can’t give any further details, but it’s another publishing credit under my belt.  As an aside, if anyone is interested, I actually have one previous credit.  I wrote a story for the now defunct Magazine of Unbelievable Stories, and was printed in the Summer 2007 edition, the last issue they ever published.  (Talk about your bad timing. :-( )

So for now, it’s back to work.  I can now say I have a novel that is nearly ready to be published, a short story that’s been accepted for an anthology, and another novel in the works.  Even more important, I have a deadline on that next novel, since it’s got to be ready for Lynn by next May.

Wow, it’s almost as if I’m learning to be a professional writer. 8-)

Well, that’s it for tonight.  Time for sleep.  So for now keep reading, keep writing, and stay safe.

Sep 052011

Sorry folks.  This post is a little later than I wanted, but I was out of town for the Labor Day weekend.  I began writing it last Thursday, but between getting ready to go out of town, and then being in an area where there was no access to cell phones or internet, the news here is a little old by now.  But still, here it is…

I got an email from Lynn late last week indicating that we’re finally done with the heavy editing passes on Half Past Midnight.  At this point, it goes to the proofreader(s).  So now to wait for that.  Don’t misunderstand, I’m not complaining about the wait by any means.  Lynn has been great with the turnaround times.  As a matter of fact, I’m the one that has held up production on the editing process here, as you already know, if you’ve read my previous posts (1 & 2) on the subject.  And if I were going the traditional publishing route with a larger house, it takes several months to years for the process to work its way through to completion.  Besides, I still have plenty of other tasks to keep me busy.

For instance, I’m working on a companion piece for the novel.  It’s a short piece, currently entitled “The Road to Rejas“.  It’s the tale of one of the minor characters in HPM, what happened to him on D-day, and how it led him to arrive at Rejas.  I’m guess-timating it will run around eight to ten thousand words.  What’s that, a novella… novelette?  Hmmmm…. let me look that up.

Okay, according to the Hugo and Nebula awards:

  • … a “short story” is 7,500 words or less
  • … a “novelette” is 7,501 to 17,500 words
  • … a “novella” is 17,501 t0 40,000 words  AND
  • … a “novel” is 40,001 words or more

Interesting – I had wondered for a while where those numbers fell.  If anyone of the rest of you were also curious, be curious no longer!  :-)  So, if I hit my eight to ten thousand word estimate, then “The Road to Rejas” will be a novelette.  Of course, we’ll just have to see where it actually ends up.  My stories often take on personalities of their own, and sometimes don’t want to cooperate with whatever plans I have initially made for them.  Any of you who also write probably know exactly what I mean. 8-)

I’m not entirely sure what I’m going to do with “Road” when it’s done.  I’m planning to release it, but how I release it is still up in the air.  Will I pay for professional editing on it?  Will I release it before or after HPM?  Will I charge for it, or release it for free as a promotion for HPM?  Will I podcast it?  If so, will that be before or after HPM?

Lots of things to consider still.

And there is still the matter of

  • writing a book blurb for HPM (shouldn’t be too difficult)
  • tweaking dedication and acknowledgements for same (almost done)
  • write my bio (which is a royal pain in the – um… back)
  • formatting HPM for e-pub
  • getting cover art and design done for HPM
  • get serious with the recording and podcasting for

On the personal front, as I said above, we visited my folks this weekend for Labor Day.  It’s been a while since we’ve been able to get away for a weekend with them, so this was a real treat – and of course, the dogs loved being able to run around out there again – lots of room! My wife calls it “Dog Heaven”, and the dogs seem to agree.

The trip itself was pretty interesting.  We have two dogs, Cricket and Bella.  Cricket is a dachshund/corgi mix, and unfortunately for us, she doesn’t travel well.  She’s one of those dogs that suffers from car sickness.  We love her dearly, but travelling for any length of time in a car with her gets pretty messy at times.

This time we thought we’d be smart and got her some Dramamine.  It probably would have worked better if we’d read the directions first.  Especially, the part about giving it to them an hour before travelling. :-?  Yeah, it was messy – again.  Also, an aside for any of you thinking about trying this for the first time, there is another interesting side effect that we found.  It seems that Dramamine causes little Dorgis to lose control of their facial muscles, especially the muscles that keep the drool at bay.  Poor Cricket was a veritable fountain of staggering slobber.  Still messy, but not anywhere near as bad.

In other news –

Elder Daughter is on her own vacation right now, visiting Utah, where she lived for several years before her husband passed away last year.  They (she and our grand-daughter) are visiting friends and family she left behind when she moved to Texas.  It’s one of those happy and sad situations.  She gets to see people she hasn’t seen in about a year, including her husband’s family.  On the other hand, it will be tough being around all those reminders.

Middle child is our son.  He’s house sitting for Elder Daughter while she’s away, has a new job, is broke, and waiting on the Marine recruiters to wind through his paperwork.  He’s ultimately trying to get on a Seal team, but the Navy wants him in their nuclear program.  So he’s going the circuitous route of enlisting in the Marines and going to BUDS via the USMC.

And Baby Bird seems to be settling into college life just fine so far.  She sent us a pic of her first still life study in class.  It was a two-hour project, and at the end, she snapped a pic on her phone and sent it to us.  When I first saw it on the phone, I thought she was taking a photography class.  When she told us it was a charcoal drawing, I had to zoom in on it to tell it wasn’t a photo.  Damn, she’s good!

On another note, it seems Baby Bird drove from San Antonio to Houston over the weekend to take a friend up to visit.  They had a fun weekend, but trying to get back into Houston today they got caught in a massive traffic jam between Houston and San Antonio.  It seem there was a wildfire blocking passage from here to there, and they had to turn back.  Better that, than they become a casualty of the wildfires.

Speaking of which, if you read this near the time that it’s posted, please send your prayers or positive thoughts out for those who have lost loved ones and/or property to the fires.

That’s it for now.  Keep reading, keep writing, and stay safe.

Aug 282011

Give me a freaking gold star!!  I finished the latest editing pass on Half Past Midnight and sent it back to my editor, Lynn O’Dell.  Depending on how this round goes, it may end up going to her proofreader next.  Once through the proofreading stage, I work on final packaging (formatting, cover, etc.), and marketing.  In other words, I’m getting close to publishing! 8-)

In addition to this, I also have an idea for a short story based on one of the characters in the novel.  In the novel, Mark Roesch is described as follows:

The man I selected had obviously been a body builder before D-day and had the physique I felt would be necessary, but he had only been in town for a week.  His name was Mark Roesch, a pre-D criminal trial lawyer. There wasn’t much demand for lawyers anymore, so he went into the pool. When I picked him for my trainee, it raised protests from Brad Middlebrook, an older man who had been in for two months. Two months was longer than anyone else, so he would normally have gotten the next shot at an apprenticeship based on this seniority.

Then shortly afterward –

One thing I had noticed about Mark, he didn’t talk unnecessarily. I got the impression that something had happened to him on the road to Rejas, but I hadn’t asked, and he hadn’t offered. Everyone had a pre-D story. Most of them dealt with the deaths of friends and loved ones.

I had also learned that everyone dealt with their losses in their own way. Mark had turned to reticence and was comfortable with things the way they were for the time being.

I kept an image of this character in my head, and it occurred to me that it might be interesting to write more about him.  What exactly had happened to this lawyer – slash – body builder to make him turn to silence and introspection?  It seemed there might be another story there.

So I’ve been “talking” to Mark, pulling his story out of him.  It’s a tragic story, full of pain and guilt, but I think it helps give an extra dimension to the character, as well as another view into the world of Half Past Midnight.  My big concern is that I don’t know how long Mark’s story will be, and if I take too long to get it done, it may not be ready as a companion piece for HPM.

So I suppose that’s enough for now.  I think I should quit writing here, and get back to my discussion with Mark.  :)

Take care, and keep writing.

Aug 172011

Just a short post tonight.  I’ve been working on the rewrites on Half Past Midnight for some time now.  No matter how many times I thought I would finish “any day now”, it always seemed to take longer than I anticipated. Well, as of this evening, this round of edits is complete!


I sent my revisions back to Lynn, and she will be going over them in the next week or so.  If I understand the process, what happens next depends on what she finds during her examination.  I believe the possible options are:

1. She reads it, finds something that I flubbed, and sends it back to me for more revision.


2. She reads it, finds it at least close to acceptable, and passes it on to her primary proofreader.

Then they make notes and send it back to me.  I go over their notes, accept or reject any remaining suggestions, and either go with another optional round of proofreading, or move on to the formatting stage of the process.

In the meantime, I have also contacted a graphic artist to begin exploring the costs of getting the cover done.  I have something very specific in mind for the cover, and will need someone with decent PhotoShop skills to do it.  My dad actually gave me the idea, and I’m pretty excited about it.  It is both simple, and iconic in design, and I need to get a few quotes and sample from some artists.  Once done, I anticipate that it will be a pretty unique cover that will be easily recognized.  It also presents an opportunity for me to develop a visual “style” for my covers.

So in looking at my “checklist” , here’s what I have –

  • First draft of the manuscript – Done.
  • First editing round of manuscript – Done
  • Cover for novel – In discovery phase
  • Formatting for publication – vendor chosen, waiting on cover art
  • Recording of novel for podcasting – process worked out, promo recorded, first episode recorded (but will likely redo, now that process has been refined and manuscript is through initial edits).

(Sigh)   Yeah, I still have a way to go.  But every day is a little more progress.  And as long as I keep moving forward, it is sure to eventually be completed.

Aug 072011

I’m a bit surprised to discover how many people are visiting my site.  Initially I thought this was going to be little more than my own little online diary, and as such, I wrote more for myself than anyone else.  There were, of course, thoughts that some people might find me later – after I publish, but here I am a month after launching this blog, and Google analytics tells me I’ve had 118 distinct visitors to my site.  It’s not really big, by any means, but it’s about 115 more than I expected just now.  8-) Checking the stats shows me that peak visitation usually occurs after I post to Twitter, and I imagine that if I got serious with my Facebook site, that would help as well. That is after all, why they call it social networking, right? :laugh:

It seems that I have become part of a network without even being aware of it.  As I’ve come to realize this, my posts have changed.  I no longer simply write for myself.  I assume that there may be other people out there who are as eager to learn about this new world of self- or indie- publishing as I am, so I write for them.  Now, since my current experience is mainly just with the writing and editing phase of the process, that means that all I can offer for the rest is to simply point out when I find a good resource.

Anyone who has read any of my older posts knows how much I recommend The Dead Robots’ Society as a place to meet fellow aspiring writers, and to learn about the trials and tribulations of the business from those who are going through the same thing.  And any of you who have listened to their podcasts, will have likely already heard of the lady I am about to recommend.  But if you haven’t, let me strongly recommend Robin Sullivan‘s blog, Write to Publish.

I first heard of Robin and Michael J. Sullivan in a podcast interview with The Dead Robots, and was delighted with their down to earth, no-holds-barred attitude. Michael is the author of The Riyria Revelations, a fantasy series that begins with The Crown Conspiracy (you will find it listed in my sidebar widget of “Some Books I Recommend”).  I am not a huge fan of fantasy, but I read this one at the recommendation of some people I trust, and was pleasantly surprised. Michael is a fine storyteller and author.

As fine as he is though, I would like to focus on his wife.  Robin Sullivan is a guru when it comes to understanding the changing landscape of modern publishing.  During that first DRS interview I heard her in, she was amazingly succinct and well versed, spouting facts and statistics that everyone else seems to view as taboo.  She was a refreshing font of information, and has been back on The Dead Robots’ Society for more interviews and Q&A sessions.  Now I knew her publishing company, Ridan Publishing, had a website, but I haven’t bothered to mention it because Ridan is currently closed to submissions.  What I never thought to search for was a blog.  It wasn’t until I began to follow her on Twitter that I noticed her blog posts.  At that point I discovered that this wonderful lady has been sharing her knowledge almost daily on Write to Publish.

So let me rectify my oversight here.  If you (like me) are searching for good sources of information from which you can learn about modern publishing, please do yourself a favor and visit Write to Publish.  You absolutely won’t regret it.