Inspired, but not in the right way

Yes, my habit of finding things to distract me is still going strong. Did I just see a squirrel, or something shiny? Anyway, I did manage to make minor corrections to a chapter of the novel over the weekend and when I glanced at the next, knowing some reworking needed to be done, I was happy to see I’d already dropped some relevant notes in the appropriate places. Then I got distracted, which lingered into the next day, such was my mania. What thing has so captured my attention?

I’m in the process of creating a cocktail based on the book. Oh yes. And not just any old thing with the usual spirits. This one has to be unique, with ingredients to match its personality. I’m very close, but I need to tinker a bit more. Fortunately, one of the ingredients I really wanted to use was easier to find than I thought. I even commended the shopkeep for having it in stock. Lucky for me, it blended nicely with the key spirit. Unfortunately, another item is not so easy to find. I ended up ordering it on Amazon. There was another sticking point of how to work in another spirit, something that has to be present, but not overwhelming. Then it hit me and the little hamster on the wheel kept running and I latched onto another thing. Once I pick up and receive all the necessities, the true alchemy can begin.

And even though it’s a lumbering ox of a story arc, I’m still watching episodes for the next guide.

Research can be fun

I’m in a strange place right now. I’m still at the mercy of one book retailer that moves at a snail’s pace when it comes to removing titles from their site. As a result, the episode guide e-books remain in limbo, save for Amazon, which I realize isn’t everyone’s choice when it comes to e-books. I’m trying not to get frustrated. I could re-publish the print edition of volume six, but for some reason, I keep holding off on that. Probably because of Ingram’s anal retentive file requirements. I don’t need, nor want, the hassle at the moment. Continue reading

Didn’t expect that, but okay

My attention lately has not been where I want it to be. I think it’s because sub-consciously, I know the work that’s lying in wait and I don’t want to tackle it. So, diversion! At least the distraction is a productive one. I’ve been working on the next DS guide, little by little. I tell myself it’s good to step away from the novel from time to time. Here’s the reason why.




All those colorful post-it notes with minor corrections. Is it any wonder I want to occasionally pour a cocktail and lose myself in the craziness of Collinsport? And yes, that one page has paragraphs bracketed with a REWORK  notation in the margin, for a full two-thirds of the page. Isn’t this fun?

The procrastination game pays off

It’s amazing how easily I can think up half a dozen things to do in order to avoid work on my manuscript. Though to be fair, one of the distractions was actually book related research, which paid off extremely well. I had cut some things from a particular scene that I wasn’t completely sold on, even though I liked portions of the old material. Now I can keep what was best of the old and blend it with the much better, newer idea. It just seems like there’s never enough time to do everything that needs doing. If only I could clone myself. Fear not, however, work is getting done, albeit slowly.

The episode guide relaunch of the e-book versions is in limbo because one retailer is taking their sweet time pulling the old versions from their website. I haven’t re-released Volume 6 in print yet because I had to make a decision involving photo editing software. Sorry, Affinity, I don’t have the time it takes for the learning curve and Ingram is so damn finicky about the files they’ll accept. Photoshop it is. I hate having to use the Adobe Creative Cloud, but Photoshop Elements doesn’t do what I need.

As for the Volume 7 episode guide……good God that Leviathan storyline. Brutal in so many ways.

That was encouraging

Needing a hard copy of my manuscript to work off of, I opted to get an early, incomplete proof of the book. After crunching the numbers, it was cheaper to buy two copies (with 2 day shipping, no less) than buying a ream of paper and some ink jet cartridges. I really have to commend CreateSpace. I submitted an Affinity Photo PDF/X-1a:2003 in the default SWOP profile and the cover looks great. When I first received the proof, I wasn’t sure about the image at first and considered a complete redo. I think because I’ve been looking at it onscreen for so long, seeing it in print was, I don’t know, jarring? I warmed up to it quick enough, though, and have dropped my plan to try it in a glossy finish; the matte gives it the vibe I want. I just need to tweak  one of the CMYK colors a little. Although I’m nowhere near using Ingram yet, why the hell do they have to be so difficult with file type submissions?

I’ve been lugging the book around with me, along with Post-Its and highlighters, hoping to get in some proofing here-and-there. I hadn’t planned on this, but today an opportunity presented itself to get feedback on the cover. Both people who saw it, liked it. I just hope they weren’t bullshitting me.

Nightmare Alley, book review

Nightmare Alley by William Lindsay Gresham, is a 1946 novel that revolves around carny-turned-charlatan Stanton Carlisle and his rise in the ‘spook’ racket, that is to say, spiritualism. The story starts well; the first chapter begins by painting an indelible image of a sideshow geek in a traveling carnival. This is followed by the thoughts of the other acts in the ‘ten-in-one,’ the strongman, a dwarf, the tattooed man, etc., as a crowd shuffles by. One of these sideshow acts is Stan Carlisle, a young man who does magic tricks, but longs for something bigger and better. By cozying up to slightly older carny Zeena, who does a mentalist act, Stan learns the tricks of her trade, including the use of codes and how to cold read. Continue reading

That wasn’t very bright

Every so often, we have the opportunity to learn new things, usually after engaging in, let’s call it, a bout of dumbassery. First things first. I’m not writing today because my brain needs the break; I don’t even remember the majority of what I worked on yesterday. Back to the idiocy…

When I started this writing and self-publishing thing, I went with Lulu because it seemed to be easiest, especially being a Mac and LibreOffice user.  I ditched them, however, because they a) have limited trim sizes and I detest 6 X 9, and b) cost, I had to hike up my retail price to cover the distribution fee. Once I got the hang of things, I decided to switch to Createspace and KDP. What could possibly go wrong? Faster availability, ability to check sales whenever I wanted, downloadable cover templates, a smorgasbord of trim sizes! (I’m partial to 5.5 X 8.5 for most projects) Sounds great, right?

Wrong. Expanded distribution is absolutely worthless. What’s more, ever since I moved everything over to CS, no more Ingram sales. Not a damn one. The episode guides are very, very, niche. I didn’t realize, until those sales evaporated, how much I messed up. I suspect it was small, independent bookstores buying them. So, yet again, I’ll be republishing the back catalog, using Ingramspark for non-Amazon distribution, starting with Volume 6, the launch of which was pathetic. Everything will be under the imprint  Abstruse & Louche.


Brief update

Still writing. Crossed a significant word count threshold last night that will fluctuate as I continue, due to the unusual way I’m working. The manuscript’s page count is also inching toward another threshold. I think the final page count number will fall within the range I calculated, making for a decent length book. Last weekend was surprisingly productive. I’m looking forward to another one this week.



A short update

The new approach seems to be working. I’ve set up shop in my old working space from days gone by. I work on something every day. Granted, it’s with mixed results, some days being better and more productive than others. Today, for instance, was a good day, having made some much needed headway in a particular chapter. I think, if I stay on course, I’ll be able to reach the first of several goals I’ve laid out for this year.

I’m also half-way through a novel I’ve been reading that I hope to review by next month, so keep an eye out for that.

Out of neutral

For the past few weeks, I had a difficult time getting any writing done. I shuffled through my notes, saying, I should work on that next, or, if I organize these notes a little more, I can finish this chapter… and nothing got done.

I came to realize I was too focused on trying to perfect the first several chapters of the book, chapters I’ve been immersed in since the fall. I was stuck in neutral; the scenes, actions, and conversations had become too familiar. So, earlier this week, I made up my mind to just do. It doesn’t matter what I write; snippets of additional or new dialogue, necessary tweaks, rewrites, new, yet eye roll inducing crap that can be fixed or ditched later. It doesn’t matter. And, wouldn’t you know, it’s working. Slowly but surely, I’m getting things done. I hopscotch all over the place, which is nothing new, it’s part of my process. I’m happy I was able to remove some of the needs-to-be-changed highlighted text. I was a bit tired of looking at those scolding colored blocks.