Friday, November 17, 2017

It's Okay To Change / Happenings In The Outhouse 17-Nov-2017

There's the old adage that says, "If it ain't broke, don't fix it."  Well, something needed fixing.  And fast.

The last handful of novels I had written, I had maintained a daily spreadsheet to analyze my word count.  I was curious.  Nothing wrong with that.  Other writers would comment how many words they wrote on a daily basis and even a bestselling author has publically stated he writes 2000 words a day, even on his birthday and Christmas.

For my projects, I would notice that there were a number of days where I had a word count of zero.  My goal with my new current project was to have absolutely no zero writing days.  Even if I wrote one word, it still counted.

Seems good in theory.  And, under normal circumstances, it would work great.  Turns out, it was either horrible timing or not good at all when applied to real life.  At least, my life at this very moment.  My stress level had increased dramatically these past few weeks.  Now, some of this could be due to health reasons.  I get that.  And, on top of it, I chopped my current novel into three parts.  I'm at the very end, where there is an epic battle, and with a variety of superheroes with a wide range of powers, I was getting confused on what was going to happen.  I had to stop and go back, to see who I had written and brainstorm powers.

Enter: zero writing days.  Not just one.  But several.

This past weekend, again while sitting in my deer stand, I came to the conclusion that I had to scrap the spreadsheet.  Immediately, I felt relief wash over me.  I am taking time for myself.

In December 2016, I went on a podcast fast.  I needed that change.  It freed up my time.  Now, within the last month, I am listening to more podcasts than ever before.  But what podcasts I am listening to may surprise you.  While I do still listen to a handful of writing-related podcasts, the majority are of the true crime nature.

True crime?  Really?

Well, to put it simply: I am looking for stories.  I love stories.  Some true life stories are fascinating--I know, listening to the horrible things serial killers like Jeffrey Dahmer, Ted Bundy, Dennis Rader, Edmund Kemper, Aileen Wournos, and Gary Ridgeway did to their innocent victims are in no way glamorizing or fascinating.  But knowing what makes them tick, and injecting those into the characters into my own stories, is fascinating.

Friday, November 10, 2017

One book turns into a trilogy / Happenings In The Outhouse 10-Nov-2017

Okay, it's official.  I decided to turn my latest superhero tale into . . . a trilogy.  Well, it will be a long series of books but this first tale will be three books instead of one.

While I was sitting in the deer stand this weekend (in Minnesota, the deer hunting season is basically an unofficial holiday), my mind wandered on my conundrum for this book.  Keep it as a single tale, albeit a long one?  Or split it up into three?  I even thought of dividing it up into just two, but it wouldn't work with the flow of the story.

So, I drew a line in the sand and decided a trilogy it would be.

This is exciting as I will be able to get the first book out much, much sooner.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Thanks to a great sales month / Happenings In The Outhouse 03-Nov-2017

First, I want to thank everyone for an excellent sales month.  I won't disclose any sales figures, but this month was by far the best month this year.

One reason was due to my releasing the entire Shadowkill Trilogy.

For a complete list of my books, including the various ebook retailers, click on this link.

I am currently near the 39,000 word mark on my new superhero novel.  And, where it sits, I am at a conundrum.  I have so much of the story left (I know, what a problem to have, right?) that I am contemplating breaking this story up into 2-3 individual novels.  The way I see it, this novel may end up being between 90K-100K before it's complete.

For now, I'll keep plugging away.  It's a fun book to write and I can't wait to share it with the world.

Friday, October 27, 2017

The news that is not being reported (but should) / Happenings In The Outhouse 27-Oct-2017

If you watch the news, you'd think all that ever happens is whatever President Trump tweets, whatever celebrity is skirting the edge of sanity in regards to those tweets, and . . . well, anything related to politics or whatever issue seems to get the leftist media (please don't deny they're mainly slanted this way) all up in arms.

I rarely watch the news, except for the local news stations, and even then I limit my consumption.

Because whenever I see the meltdowns (and, of course, everyone with a smartphone and internet access is a political genius and can solve the world's problems in seconds, right?), I ask myself, "What is going on in the world that is not being reported?"

I do, believe, I have the answer.

Human trafficking.

Modern day slavery, in other words.

I first tackled this issue in the third novel in the Central Division Series: Discarded.

Human trafficking is a pandemic of epic proportions.

And it is largely being ignored.

Lately, we've heard about a variety of Hollywood executives called out for sexual harassment and the like.  Is it all related to human trafficking?


It all deals with people of power undermining people without.  I will tackle this issue again in later blogs.  If you have Netflix, check out the documentary I Am Jane Doe It's only one of many documentaries that examines this issue.  Just go on your favorite web browser and search human trafficking.  You'd be amazed at what you'll find.

Friday, October 20, 2017

Paul Harvey and Mike Rowe walk into a bar / Happenings In The Outhouse 20-Oct-2017

Paul Harvey and Mike Rowe walk into a bar . . .

Probably waiting for the punch line, aren't you?

I was listening to a podcast recently from John Grisham's Book Tour podcast and he was speaking with author Ron Rash about storytelling.  More specifically, oral storytelling.  The kind told after a long day of work, after the supper dishes have been cleared away, and the reminiscence of days gone by flow freely from one's lips.

I reflected on my own life.  I grew up in northern Minnesota.  Now, I don't know if it's a regional thing or a reflection of my Scandinavian upbringing, but there are many stories I have been told over the years, many of them repeatedly.

And I still love to hear them.

This is something I feel I've passed on to my children as well.  Our middle child keeps asking me to tell her about this or that.  These are stories I've told many times.  But she still likes to hear them.

When The Force Awakens came out in the theaters almost two years ago, I took my kids the second weekend.  While we waited patiently in line, there were a group of people behind us--okay, there was one heck of a line behind us, but that wasn't the point.  In the group right behind us was an older lady who had a voice that seemed to carry--we all know people like this, ones who can whisper and they can be heard several feet away.  I honestly can't remember what she was saying, but it was funny, for I said to my kids, "Hey, who needs stand-up comedy.  Just stand in line at the theater."  Our three kids burst out laughing . . . and it's a memory that they carry with them to this day.

I grew up listening to Paul Harvey on the radio.  Even though his bits were only a handful of minutes long, I still loved to hear the stories.  Mike Rowe has a weekly podcast, where he spins a tale in much the same way as Mr. Harvey.  Some days I can guess who he's talking about, others I haven't a clue.

This goes with songs too.  If there is a story behind it, those are my favorites.

I love hearing stories.  Funny, dark, it doesn't matter.

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shadowkill Trilogy is Complete / Happenings In The Outhouse 13-Oct-2017

The Shadowkill Trilogy is complete . . . and published.

All three books are, of course, published separately as well as the complete trilogy in its own box set collection.  Here is the cover for the complete trilogy.

Here is the link for all the ebook retailers for all three separate books as well as the three-volume collection.

Friday, October 6, 2017

I blame Stephen King for my first one million words / Happenings In The Outhouse 06-Oct-2017

In 1978, Stephen King published The Stand.  According to the Wikipedia page, it was 823 pages long, which was his longest book to date at the time (it was his fifth published novel), but it was republished in 1990 as the uncut and complete version.  This one was 1,152 pages.

In 1986, King published It, at a whopping 1,138 pages.  This was almost unheard of, for a horror novel.

My first two novels (both in the horror genre, and both at this time are unpublished) were over 1,000 pages long.  Keep in mind, this was on my Brother word processor, and the average words per page was between 250-350 words.  If my math is correct, that means my first two novels totaled 500K-700K.

Turn back the clocks a bit as these were the days of looking for an agent, praying someone would notice you, and then . . . well, sitting back while the royalty checks came flying in.  Okay, I know that's hardly ever the case.

When I contacted agents, I was proud that I could tell them I had a 1,000 page whopper of a horror novel.  Funny thing was, no one ever said it was too long.  But knowing more about word counts now, the usual horror novel is roughly 65-80K.  These were definitely too long.

But what King did was give us permission to write a horror novel that was longer than others.  I had no idea, at the time, that novels of this length were unusual.  Had he wrote It or The Stand before Carrie, The Shining, or Salem's Lot, chances are they wouldn't be published.

Since I had read the longer novels, that was what my mind worked out.  Did my first two books work?

Sort of.

I will tell you this: both have been pared down, and the second one will see publication around early 2018.