Back to work, Edward!

I know it’s fallen out of favor with Comic Book fans, but I really liked Batman Forever when it came out. I think Val Kilmer’s time as Batman was too short. The best part, of course were the performances of Two-Face and the Riddler. At one point, Edward Nygma attempts to talk to Bruce Wayne. His boss keeps trying to dissuade him by saying, “Back to work, Edward!” For some reason, I think of that whenever I’m supposed to be working and other things have distracted me. Well, not every time, or that would be hundreds of times a day… but sometimes.

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Anyway, that’s what I thought today when after weeks and weeks of working on “side” projects, I finally got back to working on a novel. I had a couple of short stories to write, a few anthologies to start, and a role-playing game to flesh out. I’ve been editing, too. Also, I had a bunch of submissions to make for the Comic Book, Sundown. However, I finally got caught up today. So I dusted off the novel I’m working on and looked at it again.

To be honest, I was starting to worry that the novel wasn’t any good. As I took some time away from it, my doubts began gnawing at me. I started to wonder if I’d made a mistake and should just abandon it. So I threw myself in to the side work for months and didn’t face the reality of the situation.

Incidentally, In “On Writing,” Stephen King warns against this very thing. He points out that taking time away from a work almost always sours it, and one should loyally work all the way to the end of one project before picking up another. It would be great if I had the luxury of doing so. However, I have a day job and a family. Not to mention, if I didn’t take care of editing and side projects in a timely fashion, they’d never get done. When I got permission to do the second Actuator anthology, I had to jump on it. When Steven L. Peck agreed to an anthology (different one), I had to jump on that. So I don’t regret my choice, but as Mr. King predicted, I had soured on the novel I’d set aside.

Today, I decided to jump back in and see. I would just read through the eight chapters I had done and see what needed to be hacked and try to fix it. If it was awful, I would know. Luckily, I found I still love it. The characters drew me right back in and the story is fun. I didn’t get much new writing done, but I feel good about where I’m at and ready to push forward. Whew! That’s a relief!

So, now I’m back to writing THUG #1. :)

Friday the 13th

Fear of Friday the 13th is paraskavedekatriaphobia. I didn’t used to think this day was unlucky, but the more I look into it, the more it seems to be legitimately cursed.

Having an unlucky day? I recommend curling up with a good book and reading late into the night. I recommend Exacting Essence or The Actuator 1: Fractured Earth.

Actuator 1 Ebook Cover

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If you don’t feel like reading, I have some death themed comics you can try. Or a game where you play as the Grim Reaper. However you celebrate, good luck.

Grounding Myself

I am grounded. I must ground myself because I was bad.

Here’s the thing I’ve learned about me recently: when I am writing more, I think less. Thinking is sometimes bad, because it leads to more writing. So, if I’m writing a lot, I don’t really think about new things to write. The problem comes when I don’t have time to write much, because I starting thinking about things I want to write. Then I want to write them and my list of works-in-progress begins to grow like rabbits on an island without predators.

At this moment, I’m about 25% of the way through two novels (Actuator 3 and Thug #1). I put Actuator 3 on hold because I obtained clearance to do the second collection of short stories in that series: The Actuator 2.5: Armageddon Chronicles. I’m really excited for it!

By the way, in case I didn’t announce it anywhere else, I have a release date for The Actuator 2: Return of the Saboteur. It should be out on July 20!

So, in the midst of editing this anthology, I talked with Steven L. Peck about a story he published called A Short Stay in Hell. It’s very deep. We talked about other “hells” and decided to put together a short story collection of different hells along the same line. So now I’m editing two anthologies.

Oh, and I’m in the middle of a multi-author book project called Choose Your Own Apocalypse. Jason King and Holli Anderson are joining me for an experiment based on the game by the same name.

And, just to be goofy, I decided to work on another game: Shroud RPG. On top of all that, I need to write a short story for CQ’s next anthology. I just solidified the idea for something high tech involving a ninja.

So, if you count them, I’m in the middle of SEVEN writing projects. Yay!

And that will be most of the rest of this year. So I’m grounded. Until I get these done, I’m not allowed to talk about any other writing projects. If you see me brainstorming, pontificating, or talking about new ideas, please smack me and remind my I’m grounded. Thanks! :)

CYOA Cover

My Dream Come True

This picture is the literal fulfillment of a 26 year dream. My writing is on the same chart as George Orwell, Ray Bradbury, and Kurt Vonnegut. Thank you for helping me make it happen!

Amazon Top Author with Vonnegut, Bradbury & Orwell

#1 for 99 cents

Chronology is now 99 cents, and it’s #1 in several Amazon charts! If you haven’t gotten it already, you should! Draconic King is the first of 24 great stories by many bestselling authors.

Chronology #1

Anthology Angst

CQ Chronology Ebook

I started out to become a novel writer. I wrote books from the beginning, and always wanted to publish novels. After writing a dozen of them and not getting any kind of response from agents or publishers, I heard some advice at the LTUE writer’s conference which was very timely. They said write some short stories and get those published to pad your resume. That can help with getting your books noticed.

So I tried it. I wrote a bunch of short stories and started submitting them. Oddly enough, I only had one published before my first book was contracted by Curiosity Quills Press. Apparently, just that one resume item was enough to get me noticed. I continued getting the others published, of course. Some have been reprinted. I figure some day I’ll collect a bunch of them into a single author anthology of my own… but I haven’t yet. More than the publishing credit for the short stories, I learned that I love to write short fiction. I think my highest short story achievement came out this year: Chronology. My story, Draconic King, was placed first in the book and the collection includes several best selling authors, as well as the legendary Piers Anthony!

Actuator 1-5 E-book

The next step up in my short story journey was to edit a collection of short stories. Actuator was a perfect playground for a multi-author project, so I started with that one. Last year at this time I was making final touches to The Actuator 1.5: Borderlands Anthology. I realized it was as much or more work to edit that collection than to just write another book. I certainly don’t get paid as much for it (since the royalties are split 16 ways). But I didn’t go into this business to get rich… luckily. ;) Also, I had a great time working with all the contributing authors.

Now that it’s been out a while, I’m contemplating another Actuator anthology. The first one has very good reviews. The one repeated comment is that they felt the stories were too short, due to word count restraints. So I will fix that in next Actuator anthology, if CQ decides to publish it. (Incidentally, the first CQ anthology, Primetime, is really blasting the Amazon charts!)

CQ Primetime Ebook

By the way, I don’t much care for the wide use of the word “anthology” to describe every one of these volumes. I think the term “anthology” should be reserved for definitive collections (all that there are). For most books of this type, the term “collection” is probably more appropriate. I have several ideas for future short story collections I’d like to edit. One thing I’ve noticed, more than a random collection of stories from several authors, a group centered around a tight theme seems to draw more interest. Many of the reviews for the Borderlands Anthology state how much they liked the broad application of the theme.

How about you? Do you like to read or write short stories? Do you prefer to write to a theme or just contribute to an open collection?

X-Men Media Musing

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I’ve been a huge fan of X-men since I was introduced to them in college. I played a card game called OverPower, and developed an insatiable appetite for all things superhero. At the same time, they were running the X-men cartoons (the good ones with the bright colored outfits) on Saturday mornings. I’m not ashamed to say I saw every episode and loved it.

Recently I saw the latest movie Days of Future Past. It spurred a great many discussions, which I decided to bring to the blogosphere. I should start by saying I’m a big fan of the movies. I even liked the one (or two) a lot of fans didn’t. I have to give kudos to Bryan Singer, the director. He’s my favorite X-men movie director. Not only did I love the first two, but I think his recent work was nothing short of a miracle. Successfully fixing the bomb crater from #3, while tying in First Class and the Wolverine shows was incredible. I give him props on par with J. J. Abrams who did a similar save with the Star Trek reboot. In fact, I liked it so well that I’ve forgiven him for sidelining one of my favorite X-men (Bishop).

The Days of Future Past storyline has had one of the most diverse media re-tellings I’ve ever seen. The original comics in the 1980’s had Kitty Pride going back in time. The cartoons had Bishop going back in time. The movie uses Wolverine. Obviously they needed Wolverine to get more screen time to please the Hugh Jackman fans. But the bone-claws bit was pretty cool. I wanted to see him get those claws into Magneto.

What X-men does best, is to take the story to the next level, whatever it is. Time travel, extra dimensions, alternate realities, space travel… all of it. My books will attest to my love stories that embrace all the genres and don’t hold back on sci-fi tricks. This movie inspired me to kick it up a notch. I don’t know how it will look when I’m done, but I’m definitely itching to do something hyper-physical. I can’t wait for Apocalypse! Thanks, Mr. Singer.