I've put aside the Midget Death Squad piece for the moment and have been concentrating on this book instead. There's a couple of minor reasons for it, but it's mostly finances. I try not to put these out too fast because then it's coming out of my already empty pocket. With book 4 and Hitori coming out within a couple months of each other and then only being a couple months since then, I need to slow it down. So, I continue the writing of the next book.
For clarification, not that anyone except a lone person brought this up: It's not Lords War because that looks like a typo - Lord's War. It's not Lord Wars because its technically one large scale/world war sort of deal. I could have called it the War on the Lords, and I still may, but Lord War looks better on the cover I created....which may get changed.
So far, this has been an incredibly fun book to write. It's basically the same format as the last couple CoM books, but I wanted to do a bit more segmentation with parts of the story. Short chapters that serve the purpose of catching the reader up with the five years between books four and five, but without taking up too much time. I was hoping to have a specific name for this sort of technique (as it happens in movies a lot), but the best I can find is "disrupted narrative." It won't be as drastic as in movies, because I'd have to build and describe a scene for the cut away to be effective. Instead, I'll have a short chapter written years before that ends at some obvious point. Then the present time, disrupted chapter, with the short "disrupted narrative" piece linking back to the previous chapter and finally back to the meat of the present day chapter. Hopefully that makes sense to you, haha. It's not hugely different than the segmented, present time fight scenes, but enough to shift the flow. Don't worry, if it doesn't work and I can't fix it, it'll get tossed. :)
Hey look! It's one of those book updates. He still does these?
Yeah, it's been a while. For a number of reasons, mostly life getting the best of me elsewhere, I haven't had a lot to report on. Death Squad is going, slowly. Part of it is coming up with good mythology that I can work with that isn't highly grounded in fairy type stuff. I really don't want to add another dimensional layer to this already complicated world of aliens, magic, zombies, mutants, androids, pocket universes, etc. Maybe down the road when the CoM main story is coming to a close I'll bring in some new BIG ideas like that. For now, I think I have enough to run with. At any rate, Death Squad is progressing far slower than usual. I honestly should be done with this piece and moving on. As such, I am moving on.
I don't believe in writer's block. That's just fancy talk for being lazy. If I'm stuck on an idea and can't see a way past it, I don't pace my room, or stare at the screen for hours. I edit previous chapters, move on to the next substory, DO SOMETHING USEFUL. Doing those things gets the brain exercising.
Death Squad isn't being shelved, but I need to keep writing something. So, I'm starting in on Book #5 of CoM. At the moment I'm calling it the Lord Wars. Possibly Part 1, we'll see how the content comes out. I have pretty detailed notes on how I want the first 1/2 of this book to go, but what looks like 1/2 a book in notes could be 1/4, or 3/4, who knows. All I know is that it's going to be badassery of the highest order. No intro to the storyline and background info, no wasted time explaining who this person is and what their objectives are in life. No dancing around big ides by filling pages with details and short miniskirts....okay maybe some miniskirts. This book is straight into the action and the mystery. In fact, I need to get on it. Adios, amigos.
Normally I would be posting a book update for the week and maybe hinting at this, or that. Instead, I thought I'd change it up a bit and do something a tad more personal. Call it sharing with the class, call it therapy, it matters not. It is what it is and very few people outside artists really get these things. From that, I hope that my words will be understood and I'll get through to someone. Even if it's only one person.
I really don't consider myself an artist, although I'm told I should. I look at what I do as a "glorified hobby" because it makes enough to pay for itself, for that I'm grateful. I write for two reasons and two reasons only: my handful of devoted fans, who converse with me on a daily basis and push me to keep going and I write for myself.
I realize from the outside this probably sounds incredibly self-centered. It is, it has to be. My day goes something like this:
1. 5am - Write, not the easiest task to do when you're just getting up.
2. 7am - get my family ready for the day: dress the kid, give him his medicine (allergies), pack my wife and I's lunches
3. 7:30-5 - Either at work, or driving there. If I'm lucky, I find a few minutes here and there to jot book notes down
4. 5-6:30 - the usual stuff: laundry, dishes, groceries, etc. My wife tends to work 12 hours days, so i try to keep up on as much house work as I can.
6:30ish-8 - Make/eat/clean up dinner.
8ish - try to do some more writing, advertising, book covers, SOMETHING book related. My wife tends to get our son ready for bed, as he tends to want her to read books to him, etc.
9:30 - maybe watch a show or two with my wife before she heads to bed.
12 - sleep.
This is a somewhat typical day. This is as easy as it gets and that's not an exaggeration. Anyone who is a working parent is just smiling and nodding right now. The single parents I applaud you.
Generally speaking, I'm also fixing this, moving that, or doing some other activity for someone else that comes with being in a family. This month has been go to my parents AND my sister's house to check their mail, start their cars up and make sure nothing is missing while they are out of town. There's also the home remodeling, computer repair, yard stuff...less of you are nodding, but you get it.
I'm not at all complaining....at the moment. (lol) This is life. It is what it is. What I'm pointing out, something that the general population doesn't really get is that art, whether it be highly sought after, or hardly sold at all (I'm in the middle, luckily) is a labor of love. We do this for the fans, but mostly we do it for ourselves. Even if I could stop myself from writing, I wouldn't. I'm just as excited, if not more, about where the story is going as the readers are. I love looking back at the 5 books I've written in this past year and 1/2 and seeing how the writing has improved, the characters have changed, the world has gotten bigger.
For the most part, I just wanted to share. I usually don't get personal on this site, but some things have come up in the past months that has compelled me to do so. Part of it is simply what I said before: I felt like sharing and it's somewhat therapeutic. There are days where I wonder why I'm still writing. The pay is barely enough to cover the costs of professional editing and the little advertising I do. If I didn't have good friends and a workaholic, DIY attitude, I'd have to pay for book covers, formatting and a slew of other things.
The pay I receive for the actual work of each book is purely enjoyment and the occasional reviews I get. It's not a OMG SOMEONE LOVES ME sort of feeling that I get from the reviews, but that it's nice to see people get what I'm trying to do with this series. That someone took the time to tell me their opinion: good, or bad. Thanks for your time. <3
Word Count: 28,000
So, it probably looks like the writing has stopped. It hasn't. It has slowed down a bit, but that's for a couple of reasons. One, I've been going back and doing a first edit of what I have. I'm also taking a little time off to relax. Since I am no longer doing the local convention, there's no reason for me to write this book as fast as possible. At most, this slower pace will add a month to the writing, but also gives me the free time to work out my thoughts on the next book(s).
I'm currently completely immersed in the exploits of the Death Squad. I'm glad that I decided to this book before #5 simply because it's giving me a chance to really explore this team of characters and how they operate. It's also been fun seeing how this team of steampunk biker dwarves would be seen by modern day humans, who have absolutely no idea that these dwarves are a seperate race, rather than another human.
I didn't want this piece to come off as "alternate history" but more like unknown/forgotten history. Something that could have happened, but no one was really aware of it. I'm hoping that if I do any more of these side stories that they will come off in the same way. I believe Hitori did and I think this will too....hopefully. :P
There are a great deal of things I'd like to get going and/or finish this year. Let's get to it.
To publish this year:
1. Five Man Midget Death Squad - The history of the Tungri Dwarves: how they were pushed out of Germany and back into Scotland, their on going battle with the greenskins, their alliance with Balor, the forming of Balor's Elites and then following the modern-day exploits of the Elites better known as the Five Man Midget Death Squad. It is a standalone book, but ties directly into the plotline of CoM, beginning at book 4 and heavily into 5. This should be out by Feb/March.
2. Chronicles of M Book 5: The Lord War - picking up directly after #4, M and company face off against the four remaining Lords for dominance over Earth. Now armed with the armies and slayers of the Exiles and the knowledge of how to win, it'll be a non-stop action thrill ride that's been hinted at since the beginning of the series. This should be out by June/July.
3. Chronicles of M Book 6: The Purge (this title may change) - No description as of yet, simply because what I have planned in my head and on paper will probably change after book 5 is finishing up. Let's just say that certain things (like the Purge) are hinted at in books 2,3,4, and 5 man midget death squad. This should be out Oct/Nov
On the Back Burner:
Domitianus - I'd like to do a book entirely on the life and times of Domitianus. He plays a...strange role in book 4 and will show up later on in a more instrumental way. I really don't want to say a lot on this character simply b/c book 4 came out less than a month ago and I'd rather not spoil it just yet. Let's just say he's a very strange, dark man who could use an entire book.
Book 1: Comics - this one is requires time and money. I cannot draw, I can barely handle photoshop at this point, so to make a comic series out of this I'll need help. Unfortunately, help requires money that I do not have. For that, I'll end up doing a kickstarter. I suspect we aren't talking a lot of money, but to do it right I'd like to have several artists working on it, each handling a different character's perspective, so that the art style follows the writing style (if you've read any of the books, you know what I mean by that).
Review Website - This is a project I've only begun to outline. Essentially, I started working on a website for it and a few reviews here and there out of boredom. The site would cover movies, games, books, comics, basically anything I get my hands on. The games would mostly be older titles, playing them now to see if they fare well against modern games. I also thought about having a drunken review as well, since many games are absolutely terrible sober, yet prove to be hilarious drunk. The site would have plenty of videos and audio commentary, all the usual stuff except that the review structure would be different. Personally, when I read a review, I don't want a rundown of what the game is about, I want to know how it plays, if it's buggy and if it was worth the money. That's what I will focus on. This is a rather large undertaking and with CoM and life taking up all my free time, it will probably be a while before I really get this site up and running.
Untitled Grindhouse Horror book - I started on this about six months ago and haven't given it a great deal of thought since. Not because I'm disinterested in it, but because I don't have time for it AND it's grindhouse....you just don't overthink the plotline to such a piece. It's about a group of typical college kids who go to an uncle's abandoned cabin for a summer vacation and s*it happens. Ghosts, midget bikers, a mass murderer, all that weirdness that makes a campy, low budget grindhouse flick worth watching.
That's it for now, but I'm sure something else will come up. Keep in mind that Domitianus, Hitori, nor Five Man Midget Death Squad were planned pieces. They simply happened because I saw an oppurtunity to branch the CoM world out into new genres and new stories. Chances are, there will be more to come of that.
So, there's my 2014 so far. :)
I've been noticing a lot of people saying what they are grateful for, what they are regretting and their resolution(s) for the upcoming year. Personally, I regret nothing. Good, or bad, I try to walk away from a situation with knowledge that I didn't have prior to the event, this way I can either (hopefully) prevent it from happening again, or better my chances of repeating it. That's just me.
I was thinking of simply doing a "here's what I did do" post. I'll keep it book related so there's nothing silly like I GOT NEW SHOES, although I did get new shoes an they are black with yellow across the bottom....nevermind.
This year I had 3 publications:
Chronicles of M 3: A'loc - http://www.chroniclesofm.com/chronicles-of-m-aloc-book-3.html
Chronicles of M 4: Consequences - http://www.chroniclesofm.com/com-consequences-book-4.html
Hitori (A CoM Standalone) - http://www.chroniclesofm.com/hitori.html
Both CoM 3 and Hitori have bounced in an out of the bestseller list on Amazon (US and UK) and so far have been well received, which is nice to see.
I did a couple local events: Free comic book day and Comic book day of the dead via Elite Comics and met a number of fantastic artists (many found here: http://www.chroniclesofm.com/artists-corner.html) whom I will probably work with in the near future to start turning Book 1 into a comic form..providing a kickstarter is successful to pay them first. Damont Jordan is working on making me a cover for Hitori and The Five Man Midget Death Squad.
I was going to do the big comic convention here in KC - Planet Comicon, but through a series of happy accidents I will not be attending. Essentially, I gave the owner a CC that was going to expire next month. As soon as I realized the error, I messaged him about it and never got a reply, a couple weeks later the new cards showed up and my wife activated them (thus deactivating the old cards early). By this time I realized that, it wasn't financially worth the time to do the Con anyways.
Between the cost of the Con and the insane cost of printing books to sell, I'd be lucky to break even after such an event. To me these Cons, big or small, are about two things: getting my name out there and selling books. Every day I talk to people all across the world. Right now there are people reading this that live outside the US, much less this state. So, local exposure isn't that big of a deal with what I do, especially when it is going to cost me money. Because I tend to operate globally, it's much easier and cheaper for me to sell digitally. By keeping my costs down (avoiding costly Cons and printing books) I can concentrate my funds on editing and the occasional book cover.
Strangely, a lot people seem to think writers make fists full of cash off their creations. This is highly untrue. Even bouncing in and out of the bestseller lists I essentially break even on these stories. The biggest reasons for this are that I publish a book every 2-4 months and I haven't done any real advertising. What you see on the net from me on facebook, twitter, the occasional website was by and large free, or dirt cheap. I am not complaining at all about this. I am extremely happy that this glorified hobby generates enough cash to maintain itself. It means someone out there is reading/enjoying this stuff. So, thank you for that. <3
So, there we are: 2013 in a nutshell. Later today I'll probably post something about hopes and goals of 2014, then an update on my current project: Five Man Midget Death Squad.