Weekly Digest, Episode 4

Another good week with a lot of progress. As of Saturday I found myself nine days into the new novel, Familiar Lies, and having more fun writing this book than I thought I could have without an outline. I don’t know what Max’s son may or may not have done, I don’t know what’s going to happen next and I surely don’t know how it’s going to end.

And that’s okay.

As I write my tenth novel, I’m starting to feel a confidence level that I haven’t before had. I’m trusting the process and trusting that my subconscious will cook up what I need as I go. I’m familiar enough with good story structure these days to know if the book is going off the rails or not and my style is settling into patterns with which I’m comfortable.

In other words, I think I’m getting the hang of it.

As for the past week, here’s the word count breakdown of January 17th through January 23:

  • Sun: 1,368
  • Mon: 1,668
  • Tue: 811
  • Wed: 1,427
  • Thu: 1,343
  • Fri: 905
  • Sat: 1,350

Total: 8,872 words

On Tuesday I only managed one sprint, so that 811 number is actually a pretty good pace. Friday was exactly the opposite; two sprints netted me only 905 words. That happens.

Averaging it out, I hit 1,267 words per day, a number I’m noticing more often than not these days in my spreadsheet. I think I’m slowing down because I’m being more deliberate with what I put on the page. I’m much more concerned with getting it right the first time now, even if that’s slower. Outside of circling back the next day and giving what I just wrote a quick proofread, I won’t rewrite those words again. This is changing my pace, but ultimately since I’m not rewriting things to death I’m spending less time overall. A net gain in time and I don’t have to suffer through rewriting (which is the worst).

I’m 69 days without a miss as of today, including up through this morning. Writing every day has had a tremendous impact on me, keeping me in the story, allowing the words to accumulate at a pace I’ve never before seen and it has created a habit that I can hardly consider breaking now.

And writing is more fun than ever.

Powered by Baroness

purpleI’ve been listening to the new Baroness album Purple basically on infinite repeat  since it came out in December.

This one really nailed it for me, taking me from casual listener to super fan. What’s even better is that I’ve gone back and listened to the older albums with a new ear and realized how spectacular they all are.

The second half of my weird western novel was written almost exclusively while listening to Purple. Each morning at 4:30 a.m. I’d wake up, put on this album and fire up the word factory.

Good times…

So if you’re into eclectic, original rock n’ roll check these guys out.

Out of the Badlands Available for Preorder

Out of the Badlands Cover 251x400It’s finally here: Out of the Badlands, book #3 in my Badlands series, is now available for preorder.

This one has certainly been a long time coming. In 2014 I started what I thought would be the third book in a four book series, but it became clear after a few hundred pages that that book (Vengeance In the Badlands) really didn’t fit inside the story arc. So I decided to back burner it and write the last book instead, making the series a trilogy.

But then I got burned out on it and decided to finish my sci-fi thriller, The Crossover Gene. After that was finished in late 2014, I picked back up on the last Badlands book. But since I was so slow and inconsistent back then it took me seven months to make it halfway through the book and I got burned out again.

To take my mind off it, I wrote a novella called Yesterday In Black late last year and then got back to work finishing the last Badlands book. The time away did me some good and I burned through the last half quickly (and it was fun again).

You can preorder the book from the following booksellers:

Unfortunately Barnes and Noble can’t do preorders with their system, so I can’t make it available for preorder on the Nook. It will, however, be available there on or after April 16th.

I’d like to thank the folks waiting on this book for their patience and for not sending me hate mail on the matter while I stretched my creative legs in between releases. I like to think that the experience made me a better writer and more equipped for the job of tackling book three. We’ll see about that. Most writers, outside of those unfortunate narcissistic souls convinced of their own genius, think that everything they write is basically crap. I’m no different. While I’ve learned to get along with my critical voice (mostly by ignoring it) that nagging fear is always there. Either folks will like it or they won’t; it’s out of my hands now.

I don’t have any more books planned for the series, but I didn’t close the door completely. I left it open just a bit. I have an idea of where I could take the series should the urge strike me. This idea would take the series in a much different direction though. We’ll see. I say if you want more then write me and let me know. Reader demand has a way of nudging me in one direction or another.

So preorder Out of the Badlands today from your favorite book store or pick it up on April 16th. Either way, I hope you dig it.

Weekly Digest, Episode 3

Looks like I forgot to do last week’s update. It just never registered at all on my radar for some reason. I’ll have to set up a weekly reminder for the future, I suppose. For now, I’ll just cover the last two weeks in this update. Maybe I should take out the “weekly” part of the title, should I forget again. 🙂

Here are the totals for the last two weeks:

  • 1/3 – 1/9: 9,195 words
  • 1/10 – 1/16: 8,510 words

My unbroken streak continues; 60 days without a miss as of yesterday. I also finished up the weird western book and I suppose I’m sticking with the working title: The Saint, the Sinner and the Coward.

It’s worth mentioning that I can now see why so many people advocate writing every day. Even though it’s only an hour a day that I spend on it, I’m so much more engaged and plugged into the stories I’m writing by spending a little time each day with them. And I’m getting much better at the craft by doing it every day. I suppose it’s a form of immersion, similar to what folks do when they want to learn a foreign language.

In other news, I started a new novel a few days ago, as I mentioned here on the blog. I’m looking forward to it.

As for the sprinting technique, I’ve been doing it for more than five months now. It seems so long that it no longer bears repeating. I’m confident enough to say that I’ve developed the habit and it’s not going anywhere anytime soon. I suppose a major life event could derail me, but barring something of that nature I’m committed and plan to be for the foreseeable future.

I now have four novels in the can, waiting for copy edits. I’ll be sending over Badlands #3 to my editor by the end of this month, after which I’ll send her my Mothman novel in February. That’ll get two of them out of limbo, leaving only the extra Badlands novel and the weird western in need of edits. After that, I think I can maintain a regular release cycle of every other month. That would be ideal and would allow me my goal of publishing six books this year. And I’m super excited about that.

Now it’s back to work for me. I still have two sprints to get in today to meet my quota (and a pizza to get into my belly).


Into the Dark with Familiar Lies

I’m planning on writing Familiar Lies without an outline. I know I go back and forth on that, but I think on this one I should discover what happens to Max Williamson’s son the same way he does.

Dean Wesley Smith calls this writing into the dark. He’s even written a book on it. I don’t know that every book should be written with or without an outline, but I know know that every book is a little different. Sometimes, I think, the approach will vary. It has for me, at least. This will be my tenth novel, so maybe I’m getting good enough at this whole writing thing to feel confident enough to go at it with no map. 🙂

I honestly don’t know what happened to the son. Was it foul play? Not sure. I don’t know what Max is going to find out. I have some suspicions, but I’ll have to wait and see if they’re confirmed. I do know that Kevin Williamson was not the person his father–or anyone else, for that matter–thought he was.

I also know that Max is not who he thinks he is.

A lot of people are like that.

It should be great fun. I’ll post more about how the process is going once I’m further into it.