Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Another Round of the Quotes Game

Once upon a time, I made a little blog post where I put one quote from each of my books, both released and unreleased. I enjoyed it. Did I ever! Let's do it again.

Here is one quote from every single book I have written since 2009, both published and yet-to-be-released.

"Mark my words, the ever-night is coming, and when it does, you'll be glad you've got some wild nutters at your side." --Cakey, Shadows of Tockland


"It’s a miserable thing to be helpful—to be needed, to be essential—and someone can’t see it." --Aleas, Bloodstone, Deep Water: Book One


"There is a heaviness in me now, like something coiled around my intestines. I hope to make it go away. I don’t want to feel like this anymore. I don’t want to be the person I have become." --Jeren, A Whisper in the Void, Deep Water: Book Two


"You’ve lived in the shadow of this Garden all your life. And you had no idea what was here. None of you did, not even the caretakers. This will be to our everlasting shame. While we lived outside the wall in the dirt, we had everything we could ever need in here.” --Adhi, Garden of Dust and Thorns


"If you hold on, we will live. If you let go, we will go down, down, down. Do you understand how important it is for you to hold on?" --Ekir, Children of the Mechanism (Coming in February 2014)

“I never want an explanation for any of this. Never. I don’t know what you did. I don’t care what you did. The whole world has gone crazy, and I don’t want to know anything." --Kristen, Mary of the Aether


"I’ve been selfish. I see that now. I wanted a happy little life, but I was entrusted with this power by people who loved me. I’ve wasted so much time whining when I should have been learning." --Mary, Mary of Shadows


"Quick to violence, paranoid, cruel, all of you, all of you! How dare you! Don’t you know who I am? Don’t you know what I’ve tried to become? How dare you!" --Mary, Mary of Starlight (Coming in April 2014)
"The world will burn out like a torch, but the light will shine brightly, and I will rise like the brightest ember into the stars at the end." --Somebody, Mary of Cosmos (coming in November 2014)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

So. Much. Writing.

Oh, people, I have almost worn my fingers down to little nubs from all the writing. Honestly, I'm about done with the SEO content writing. Mentally and emotionally, I mean, not actually. There's only so much you can write about dental veneers, urological supplies and complex commercial litigation.

More book sales and writing workshops, that's the answer, and that is the direction that I am bending my efforts. In fact, I just did another full day of writing workshops over in a nice little town called England, Arkansas. I spoke to every grade from 4th to 12th and had a great time. Every once in a while, you see a real creative spark in some kid that hints at genuine potential, and that really makes it all worthwhile.

In other news, I continue to work toward the publication of Children of the Mechanism and Mary of Cosmos.

The opening paragraph of Children of the Mechanism has changed. Let me share it with you. By the way, while we're on the subject, this might be my favorite book that I've written, so be sure to check it out when it appears in print in February.

First came the screaming, the sound of some monstrous thing crying out from the darkness. Then came the babbling, a boy wordlessly pleading for help, and one sound melted into the other. Bik fled from it, fighting his way out of the dream, but the noise chased him, turning at the end into the blare of the morning alarm. Finally, he opened his eyes in the dim, red light and heard it echoing off the metal walls, a singular note, high and harsh. 

People, this one's gonna be pretty intense, I do believe. I can't wait until you get to read it.

As for Mary of Cosmos, it will be the final volume of the series that began my whole writing career. The series goes like this: 

1) Mary of the Aether
2) Mary of Shadows
3) Mary of Starlight 
4) Mary of Cosmos

The first two volumes are out, so if you haven't read them, get to it, friends. The tale of Lightbearers, Lookers and Devourers is waiting to sweep you along to its epic conclusion. In fact, here is the opening sentence of the final volume, Mary of Cosmos, just to whet your whistle:

It took five days of healing to get her right eye open, another three for the left.

Well, now, if that's not ominous enough for you, I don't know what is.  

By the way, here's a recent review of Mary of the Aether, if you haven't read it yet and need a bit of convincing. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Writing Workshops

Periodically, in between endlessly churning out SEO articles and working on novels, I do writing workshops at area schools. Here are some pics from the latest one at a middle school in Springdale.
So before I get into the weird stuff, let me share the gist of what I do at the workshops. First, I introduce myself and talk about how I decided to become a writer when I was 13. I talk about my books a little bit, encourage them to see reading and writing as more than just "school work." Then I discuss some of the elements of good storytelling, including 1) what makes a good protagonist, 2) creating conflict, 3) making the setting feel real, 4) writing a compelling opening, i.e. the hook.
Along the way, I let the students share their own ideas, and together we craft an idea for a novel. Some of the ideas from the last workshop: a dwarf painter who is being stalked by an obsessed fan who is stealing his paintings, an adventurer who stumbles upon the lair of a mad scientist in the jungle who wants to extract his DNA for his monster-making experiments, a lonely hunter who must track down bandits in a rainforest to avenge his family.
Occasionally, I meet actual future writers who want to ask questions and get advice. But at the last workshop, things got downright unusual. Somewhere along the way, I guess the kids got the idea that I was a bona fide celebrity rather than a mere local author, so they began asking for my autograph. But all they had were pencils and notebook paper, so I stood there for fifteen minutes signing tattered pieces of notebook paper with a mechanical pencil. Some kids even sneaked back in line to get multiple autographs or asked me to sign their notebook covers more than once.

I hope the kids don't think those autographs are actually worth anything. Oh well. Nevertheless, I enjoy doing the workshops, even though my voice is shot by the end of the day. I've got another one coming up next week and then a few more potentially lined up next semester.

In the meantime, when I'm not writing endless SEO articles about cosmetic dentistry, criminal defense attorneys, toenail fungus and country clubs, I am trying to finish the editing of Children of the Mechanism. And that is what I shall go do now.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Writing So Very Many Things

Well, the problem I'm having (which is a good problem to have) is trying to find enough hours in the day to do all the writing I want and need to do.

First, I am working on the editorial revisions of my novel, Children of the Mechanism. Fortunately, my editor is taking it one section at a time, so it's not too overwhelming.

Second, I am revising Mary of Cosmos, so I can send it off to the publisher. I'm about halfway done with that.

Third, I am attempting to write another novel, a YA urban fantasy called The Figment Tree. Of all the projects I have going on, this is the one that is getting most neglected. Sorry, Figment Tree. Don't take it personally.

Fourth, I have about 38 SEO articles to write each week, so I can make a little bit of money and live. That's sort of important, for some reason.

Anyway, it turns out that there aren't quite enough hours in the day for all of that writing, but I'm not complaining. I would much rather do this than sling tires or deliver mail or sell advertising space for a magazine (all of which are jobs I have done or almost did in the recent past).

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Northwest Arkansas Author Book Fair

Well, I had an interesting time at the Springdale Public Library today. It was the Second Annual Northwest Arkansas Author Book Fair. A whole bunch of local and regional authors were there from 2-4pm, selling books from a variety of genres and chatting with folks. Here was my spot.

I wound up sitting next to an author named Dusty Richards. You can see his name and his books in the picture there, but that's obviously not him sitting beside me. That is his wife, Pat.

Anyway, I spent most of those two hours talking about everything under the sun with Mr. Richards. For those who might not know him, he is a fairly accomplished, award-winning author of western novels. He told me he's written somewhere on the order of 197 novels, so it was fascinating talking to him, hearing stories about meeting people like Larry McMurtry, talking to the ghost of Zane Grey, and seeing a lynx walk across his yard out near Beaver Lake. He gave me a free signed copy of one of his books before he left. Oh, and here's his Amazon page, in case you want to peruse his many, many books.

In between stories, I sold a few books and talked to a few readers and some other fellow writers. It makes me realize I need to be more plugged into the local writing community, so I guess I'd better get out of my little box here and start attending conferences and such.

Thursday, October 3, 2013

The Life of a Full-Time Writer

Well, folks, for two weeks now I have been a full-time professional writer. What does that mean, exactly? It means I earn 100% of my necessary income from writing or writing-related activities. Now, what does that entail? Chiefly, it involves three things.

1) SEO Content Writing - I actually do quite a bit of SEO content writing for income. This is basically creating content for various companies' websites. It can occasionally be interesting, but it is also sometimes pure drudgery, depending on the particular article I have to write.

2) Writing Workshops - I will be a doing a bit of this over the coming weeks and months. Basically, I visit schools and do interactive writing workshops, or talk about the art of writing, or read from my novels. I have a few of these gigs lined up and more planned for next semester.

3) Selling Novels - Of course this is the part of the writing income that I want to see increase greatly. Ideally, this would be most of my income, and maybe someday it will be. Speaking of which, I will be selling and signing copies of Mary of the Aether and Mary of Shadows at the Springdale Public Library on Saturday from 2-4pm. Stop on by and hang out and meet some local authors.

So that's basically it. Those three things, when their powers combine, create a full-time writing profession. Of course, I am always open to new opportunities, so the list might grow in time. We shall see.

Currently, I am in the middle of editorial works on my next novel, Children of the Mechanism. I posted the opening paragraphs a while back, but they have all drastically changed since then. Anywho, the novel is on track for a February publication date, so mentally prepare yourselves!

In other news, there is a neat little website called Find, Read, Love. A couple of my books are already listed there, with more on the way. You should check it out.