Tag: Acradea (page 1 of 9)

Writer Report: The Inevitable Grind


As we recover from the recent stress of moving, the dayjob workload ramps up, and everything else competes for what attention I have left, it can be difficult to keep in mind that writing can and should be the foremost area of my interests. I don’t attend university for 4 years to design advertisements, after all. I did it, at first, to teach others about stories, and then decided I’d be happier telling stories myself. And some of the stories I’ve told since then have gone over pretty well.

Sales of Cold Iron have been very slow. I feel I need to do more promotional work, as nobody else is going to do it for me, and that means getting more people to review it, sending out more tweets, talking it up in person to people, and so on. I guess my reluctance to do so comes from the fact that I hate annoying people. I know how it feels to me when I get annoyed by someone talking at length about something of interest to them to the exclusion of all other subjects, and the last thing I want to do is inflict that on others. But I guess I need to suck it up and deal with it if I want to move copies of the book.

Progress on Cold Streets is, unfortunately, also slow. I’ve tried to unstick myself a couple of times in the last few weeks with moderate success. I’m not writing in the huge chunks I need to meet my end-of-year deadline, at least not yet. Time is running out for me and I really want to get another novella out there. I can’t get this thing to pick up if I don’t write, dammit!

Between some historical insights and inspiration from the likes of Martin and Kay, ideas keep rolling around in the back of my mind for attention regarding Godslayer. As much as good chunks of the plot are unlikely to change in their basic structure, so much of Acradea will be different in this new story that these ideas (which tend to crop up after I go to bed and the lights are out) will need to be laid out and sorted so I don’t get tripped up when I start writing the damn thing in earnest next year. Maybe it’s time to buy Scrivener and start cork-boarding things? The jury is out on that one.

More on this as things develop. And if you get annoyed when I start tweeting every day about Cold Iron and its sequels, I apologize.

Writer Report: Moving Forward

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

Cold Streets is a slow burner. By that, I mean it’s taking me a while to really get set on fire over it. I’m working on it, and I like what’s happening so far, I just haven’t carved out a great deal of time lately to put more words in sequence. I have a move coming up in the near future, and that’s going to eat in to my writing time. I have books and clothes to donate, old geegaws to bequeath to others, and the current place needs some sprucing.

My mind hasn’t been idle, though. What was once going to be a multi-novel fantasy series will, I believe, get compressed into one epic volume. After reading some other stories and watching a couple old favorite films, it occurs to me that not everything needs to be a serial. Not ever story needs a sequel. So Asherian and his world of Acradea will appear in a single novel. And, based on the timbre and themes of the rewrite, and how much more of the story I will be including from the very beginning, it’s getting yet another title change. For the time being, I’m calling it Godslayer.

Somewhere between the novellas of Morgan & Seth’s escapades and this fantasy epic, I want to work on a smaller novel, or perhaps novels, with a sci-fi bent. The arrival of the new version of Netrunner on my back step combined with classics like Blade Runner remind me that the future doesn’t necessarily have to be chrome-plated and shiny, or at least if it is, it need not necessarily be that way for everybody. What I like about futures with an even slightly dystopian bent is that super-advanced technologies, be they androids so life-like they act and feel like humans or faster-than-light travel or interstellar colonization, feel matter-of-fact, an aspect of everyday life that you don’t have to spend pages upon pages describing. And I’ve already written a couple of well-received short stories with this sort of bent, and I’m interested in seeing how I could expand the idea. Alien races, perhaps? Maybe a distant but superficially benevolent overlord whose dictates are at least partially responsible for the crapsack world our characters find themselves in? This bears further investigation.

More on these ideas to come. Also to come, more reviews of Cold Iron as well as some other surprises! Stay tuned.

Writer Report: Prizes & Perseverence

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

Today, the Cold Iron giveaway comes to an end. Ye Olde D6 of Fate has determined the following winners:

Nenad Ristic
Raine Barnes
Blair Turberfield

Congratulations! I will be contacting you individually to find out in what format you’d like your free copy of Cold Iron.

If you missed out on the giveaway, or didn’t realize I was even having one, don’t fret! The good news in the world of urban fantasy detective yarns doesn’t stop there.

For the next week, the price of Cold Iron is dropping to 99 cents.

This sale is happening on all three platforms: Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. It may take a bit for the big boys to catch up, but trust me, the price will stay there all week long. If you haven’t gotten a copy yet, now’s a great time!

Meanwhile this week has been very busy. Between the load at work, trying to maintain something resembling a workout routine, and looking for our next home, I’ve been struggling to carve out the time to work on Cold Streets. It’s like trying to get a cut of beef from a cow that’s still moving. Not that I would try to render an animal that’s still alive, that’s just mean and cruel. Anyway, I’ve been through patches like this before, and I’ll persevere. I have a goal in sight, and I’m going to reach it. Somehow.

Writer Report: Various Burners

Courtesy Fanboy.com

So, the wait is over. I heard back from the fine folks at Angry Robot about my submission for their Open Door. The response is that Cities of Light just isn’t ready for prime time yet.

Upon reflection, I can see why. There’s just something that’s too standard about it. Even changing the names and natures of the races that emerge in the middle of the narrative, it still boils down to a hero’s journey through a fantasy land with elves and dwarves in it. I still think the themes of xenophobia, propaganda, and the potential of the individual to overcome both can be explored quite well in this genre, but a shift in focus and setting may be required. I do have some ideas for a rewrite that could make it more interesting, less generic, and worth the time to read, but I don’t want to keep circling back to the same idea all the time.

So Cities of Light goes on the very back burner. The back back burner if you will. On the back burner ahead of it is Captain Pendragon and the Planet of Doom. I have most of my characters nailed down and the outline has taken shape. I plan on beginning to write this thing within a week, because I still think it’s been a while since a new raygun gothic story and setting have come along to offset all the gritty realism that has seeped into sci-fi. Don’t misunderstand, I love the aesthetic of Blade Runner and Firefly and the new Battlestar Galactica, but I love the look, feel, and energy of Flash Gordon and John Carter just as much. And I think it’s entirely possible to tackle big ideas and themes while having whiz-bang zapping fun.

With those back burners filled, you may be wondering, what’s on the front burner? That would be Cold Iron. I’ve retained the services of a graphic designer for the cover, and feedback on the test read continues to be positive. In the meantime, I want to look into what Amazon, B&N, and other vendors do to their offerings in terms of DRM and other shenanigans. I don’t want to saddle anybody interested in my work with stuff they don’t want. As a consumer, my experience with Amazon has been overwhelmingly positive so far, but what I don’t know could be bad for potential readers.

Rewrite Report: Submission Edition

Bard by BlueInkAlchemist, on Flickr

The fantasy novel sits at roughly 100,100 words.

As the time approached for Angry Robot to open its doors, I knew I had to make some decisions. The first one was to convince myself that this is not a young adult book. While two of the three main protagonists are in their late teens, a hundred thousand words is an intimidating number with which to start off a story. I also couldn’t convince myself that kids in their teens could get behind a protagonist who has a tendency to think and talk his way out of situations instead of relying on physical or supernatural prowess. Maybe I’ve just been too burned out lately to find the right angle to exploit, but what it boils down to is that Asherian, while pro-active in his words and deeds, doesn’t start out as the initiator of the story. Events happen to him and he reacts. It takes a few chapters for him to shake off the complacency he’s been taught. Once the scales fall from his eyes, so to speak, he begins taking more initiative. But I think a young adult protagonist takes the reigns almost immediately, at least when written well. Case in point would be Katniss volunteering in The Hunger Games.

In any event, I went over the first five chapters again to make sure the flow and setup are as good as I can make them, put together the two-page synopsis, and sent the whole shebang to Angry Robot. I also renamed it Cities of Light. Fingers and toes crossed.

While waiting for that to at least return with something resembling feedback, my attentions turn back to Cold Iron. This is a rewrite that still requires a bit of spit and polish, as timing of events within the story and some character beats have changed. It was hard for me to decide a decent scene between the lady detective and the murderer, set in the interrogation room, had to be cut. But I simply could not work the timeline properly to make it work without padding the story, and more importantly, making sure to empower said lady detective was far more important.

Cold Iron is, to me, the lean and energetic kitten to Cities‘ cozy but somewhat massive tomcat. It’s a novella and I want to keep it short. The cover is coming together extremely well, and once that is in place and I finish this particular rewrite, I’ll be sending some review copies of the draft to folks I know with platforms to shout from. I may propose said review drafts in the same manner as a pitch – brief synopsis, what makes this story worth the time to read, etc.

Anthologies may happen. Timeless Tales for the old myths made new thing, maybe a flash fiction collection. Not certain of that yet.

I also am brewing an idea I’m pretty excited about. I think there’s an itch out there not getting the particular scratch it needs.

But that’ll come later. Gotta finish what I’ve started already first.

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