Friday, August 11, 2017

Spreading two more once-exclusive stories wide / Happenings In The Outhouse 11-Aug-2017

As of todays' date, two more short stories are no longer exclusive with Amazon and their Kindle Unlimited program.  They should be available on as many e-platforms as possible.  Note: the links go to my website, where links to the various e-retailers are located:

Last Requests (a time loop short story)
What would be the most horrifying day to repeat over and over again?
For PETE HARRISON, that day is his final day on Death Row.  Convicted on multiple counts of murder, Pete has little opportunity to change his last day before walking down to the lethal injection chamber.

How often does one get a chance to change someone’s life? MAGGIE SIMMS has never had such an opportunity. That is, until she meets a hitchhiker named CLIFTON BAGGS.

What else is going on?  I have another short story I'm working on.  I finished the first draft on a non-fiction diabetes travel book.  Both of these should be published in roughly a month or so.

Friday, August 4, 2017

All characters have a story / Happenings In The Outhouse 04-Aug-2017

I recently finished all three (current) seasons of the Netflix show The Ranch.

Reflecting on the show--and many others, from Friends and Criminal Minds to How I Met Your Mother and Orange is the New Black, for example--I discovered that the better shows have stories surrounding each character.

For simplicity purposes, let's focus on The Ranch.  I will try not to spoil anything, but some things can't be helped so be warned.

The father Beau is married to a wife who doesn't live at home, and works on a ranch with his two sons.  Throughout the series, his love for his wife shines through, although circumstances arise that end up with divorce.

The mother Maggie owns and runs the local bar.  She constantly deals with her sons, who aren't treated very well by Beau.  In the divorce process, she wants everyone to be happy and wants to give her half of the ranch to her two sons.  Beau, of course, doesn't see it this way and bucks it.

Colt, one of the sons, is a former high school football star who comes back home.  His fame isn't what it once was, and bounces around between ladies, a high school sweetheart and another attractive blond, one of which he gets pregnant--and that drama is drawn out across several episodes.

Rooster is the other son.  He's had to deal with living in his brother's shadow and running the ranch with Beau while Colt was away following his short-lived football career.  He also doesn't feel he gets the respect he deserves and ends up working on another ranch for a much higher pay.

In the end, each character has their own story aside from the overall stories.  The more one can twist and turn these stories, the better.

Friday, July 28, 2017

What's Next? / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-July-2017

I have finished the first round of edits for books two and three of the Shadowkill trilogy.

What's next?

Before I run through the final (I hope, crossing my fingers) edits, there are 2-3 smaller projects I want to tackle: a non-fiction book centered around travelling with type one diabetics, and a few fiction short stories.

I love the freedom of being an indie author.  I can write exactly what my heart desires.  If I want to write a romance or a cozy mystery or another thriller in my Central Division series, I can--and I will.  Those are tentatively scribbled in for 2018, at the very earliest.  For the romance, I'm going back and forth about a pseudonym.  I'm weighing the pros and cons carefully.

On the short story front, I have a few I had written before.  So with those, I want to do one pass-through to get a feeling about it being ready to go or not.  There is another short story I had written the bones of before--meaning, I have written about three pages, just to get the idea out of my head--and I have a strong feeling to write it.

Friday, July 21, 2017

Create A Character List Early On In The First Draft / Happenings In The Outhouse 21-July-2017

I'm in the middle of editing the last two novels in the Shadowkill trilogy, and I've come across something that may be helpful to fiction writers: as early as possible, create a character list as you write.

This may seem like a no-brainer to some and a "oh I don't need that; I'll remember all of my characters" to others, but trust me when I say that for most, you'll thank me later.

No matter how minor a character may seem, it's good to jot their name down and maybe add a note on how they're relevant.  About a third of the way through book 2, I discovered I had a different name for an extremely minor character.  I didn't have a note on this one.

This list doesn't have to be some Wikipedia page or anything.  Just a name and anything relevant to the story.

Friday, July 14, 2017

What Does A Break Look Like To You And Your Art / Happenings In The Outhouse 14-July-2017

Here's the scenario: you've worked on your manuscript for months and months, and have finally finished it.  You lean back, both exhausted and relieved.  You may even be a little apprehensive and scared.  It's your baby.  It's not quite ready for the world, in your mind.  How long do you wait before tackling any rewrites/edits?

Stephen King has advised to put your manuscript away for a minimum of six weeks before looking at it again.  Dean Wesley Smith doesn't rewrite at all (he has a circular writing technique that is very clever and I want to give a shot at on future projects).  In fact, Smith doesn't even look at the manuscript again unless his wife Kris tells him to fix a few things.

Where do you fit in?

Brandon Sanderson, between his enormous epic fantasy novels, writes shorter books.  I think I read once that Stephen King does the same thing with his novels, but don't quote me on that.

What does taking a break look like to you?  In the past, I've read much more than usual.  It's something I call "recharging my batteries," because I feel like I haven't read as much as I should (which is probably not the case) and I love reading new things.

I'm working on the edits for books 2 and 3 of the Shadowkill trilogy.  It's going well, much better than I anticipated.  And, of course, I'm looking to see what I should work on next.

Stay tuned . . . the future is very exciting . . .

Friday, July 7, 2017

Stats On Third Novel In Shadowkill Trilogy / Happenings In The Outhouse 07-July-2017

On July 4th, while many Americans were celebrating our country's Independence Day, I not only celebrated that, I also finished the third (and final?) novel in the Shadowkill trilogy, titled Storming The Hill.

I started it on 3/19/2017
I finished it on 7/4/2017
Total days is 108

The novel came out at 69,916 words, averaging 647 words per day.

Unfortunately, there were 30 zero word days.  Over half could be attributed to our son's graduation and the vacation to Tennessee, even though I still could've found a few minutes here and there to write.  That's something I'll have to revisit down the road.

When I take the actual writing days into account, which were 78, my average words per day rose to 896.

I'm budgeting the next two months to edit the final two books, prepare covers, write the blurbs and product descriptions, research keywords.  I haven't decided if I will do any pre-orders or not.  I also feel I will publish this on all platforms.  I won't make these Amazon exclusive.

So, what's next?

No worries, I'm already brainstorming what to do next.  I have at least three short stories I may publish in the meantime--while I work on books 2 and 3--so there will always be something I'm working on.

Friday, June 30, 2017

Vacation vs. Writing / Happenings In The Outhouse 30-June-2017

For the first two weeks of June, my family, in-laws, and I were out of town, on vacation.  We drove down to the Knoxville, TN area--more specifically, Pigeon Forge, TN.  My in-laws rented a cabin--a very nice three-story, five-bedroom monstrosity--that overlooked the Great Smoky Mountains.

It was truly relaxing.

Wi-Fi at the cabin was spotty at best, which meant I didn't get much writing done--oh, who am I kidding, I didn't write at all.  I did get a lot of reading done, along with visiting relatives and seeing the sites.  Absolutely no regrets.  I feel like relaxing times are needed to recharge the creative batteries.

Now that I've been back for over two weeks, the third novel in the Shadowkill Trilogy is nearing completion.  I have over 63,000 words written so far.  How much is left?  I plan on finishing by next week--crossing my fingers.  I started this third book on March 19th.  The original goal was to finish by May 19th, but with planning for the trip and our son's high school graduation, writing took the back seat a little.  I still wrote up until the day we left, but it was less and less.

Again, no regrets.