Reading, writing, soon to be reviewing

Unfortunately, other things kept me from getting much writing done the last two weekends, but things are looking good going forward; pesky, specific errands are out of the way and my calendar is clear. In fact, last night, lying in bed, I had a thought that would make for a good sentence in a paragraph I had written earlier in the day. I got up, grabbed a flashlight, and made for the next room, where I jotted it down on a legal pad. All that for one sentence. Thing is, I knew I’d forget it if I didn’t make the effort. So many words, sentences, and paragraphs have been lost in the past due to inaction. I used to do a great deal of ‘head’ writing while lying in bed back in the day. Thankfully, I’ve moved away from that, it’s only occasionally that I have an idea in those moments. I’ve successfully retrained my brain to avoid thinking plot and character developments when I should be catching zzzs.

I’m also in the process of reading a fantastic book. I honestly haven’t been this engrossed, excited, or blown away in a long time. I’m enjoying it so much, I slowed my pace to make it last. Of course, I had to order another title or two by the author right away, convinced I’ll need another fix sooner rather than later. I’m holding off on saying anything about the title until I do a review, although I’ve mentioned the book and author on Twitter.

Hoping I get at least a little writing in tonight, then, back to reading.

This and that

Update on my goings-on.

One of the books I was reading really started to irritate me at about the half-way point, so I set it aside. It can be a problem when reading a story collection of one author. Problem is, I have two more collections by the same writer on the to-be-read list. I think it will be a while before I get back to any of his works. In its place, I started to read a novel. I like it well enough for what it is, but it’s not a page-turner. More of a slow simmer type of book.

All the re-issues are out, including e-books with active ToCs. Even better, a quick check of a couple of titles on Amazon shows the correct file in the Look Inside.

Now to the important stuff. In an attempt to jump-start my writing, I thought working on something else would help. Perhaps something in a different genre. It did and it didn’t. As I began thinking things through for the new project, I quickly realized I wasn’t feeling it. There were some elements I liked, but the story lacked a purpose. The general idea, I think, would work better as a vague, ambiguous short, with no resolution. A bizarre kind of day-in-the-life.

What did happen, however, was that I turned to my novel instead. Over the holiday, I worked solely on that. Did I make a lot of headway? No, but I tackled some of the things I had been avoiding and was satisfied with the results, at least until the next round of editing. It was a good day’s work.

 

Still in a writing rut

I haven’t done any work on the novel. I considered working on another idea, a horror novella, something lean and mean. Different. I made some notes one day, but I didn’t like the direction it was going. I need to think about it some more. I did, however, mock up a fairly decent cover that conveys horror/suspense. That counts for something, right?

I finally managed to get another book review out. It’s posted to my YouTube channel or you can find it here on the website under Podcasts.

“Whatever happened to that Silver Brook redevelopment plan? Wasn’t someone going to revitalize the resort, make the area shine again?” Connie asked.

“It was a disaster before it started. Herb Fenley and Lou Klaussen approached me about it. They were looking for investors. I turned them down, I know a dog when I see one. Then they promised me the moon and the MIlky Way. Exclusive listings of luxury condos and a handful of mansions they had planned. I told them Silver Brook is a limbo, a no-man’s land. Nobody would willingly live there, at least, nothing human.”

“Rob, don’t start that shit —”

“I’m not starting anything,” he soberly replied, and she thought he paled slightly. “The whole project fell through when Herb Fenley disappeared…during an excursion to Silver Brook.”

 

Books and non-books

Checking in with a quick update. With the reissues out of the way, I have some time I can devote to other things. One of them is reading, something I haven’t done much of over the years. Yes, years. The problem was I couldn’t find books I liked. Except for horror, I’m not much of a genre reader, and I gave up on contemporary fiction somewhere around 1992 (literary fiction that seemed only to meander and thrillers that were too formulaic). I read some 18th century plays, a penny dreadful or two, then basically gave up reading altogether.

But I wanted to read. Something new, different, that I would potentially like, rather than something I’d want to throw across the room or complain about wasting my money on. I finally found some authors that filled the void, Ray Russell and Charles Beaumont. Both 20th century authors and Chicago natives (curious, that), who wrote horror and weird fiction. Russell’s works tend to have invisible layers. When I’m finished reading, I find myself sitting and thinking and those layers slowly start to become visible. Many stories are like little puzzle boxes that, surprisingly, can have more than one resolution.

I’ve started to read the first of three Beaumont collections. I’ve read three distinctly different short stories and they were all good, ranging from horrific, to fantastically whimsical, to slightly gritty and depressing. An interesting observation I’ve made is that Russell tends to be careful with language, meaning he doesn’t usually use curses or obscenities. If he does, it’s rare and rather mild. Beaumont will use expletives more liberally, but not gratuitously, they feel right for the situation. I really want to savor these Beaumont stories, so I’m only reading a few at a time, and I have one other Russell book to read. Reviews will be forthcoming. Russell’s tend to take more time to review because I have to think about them more, and oftentimes, as I’m thinking, I hit on another aspect I hadn’t considered before. Those invisible layers again.

That’s the good news. The bad…I haven’t been motivated to write. I have ideas, I have notes, I have a pile of things that need to be addressed. But, damn it, the motivation isn’t there. I’m considering making some changes. Handwriting some things, moving to a different work area, something, anything, to jump start the process. Maybe I’ll become so frustrated and angry with myself, I’ll start working again out of sheer spite. Here’s hoping.

I need to focus

I finally got the third edition print versions of the episode guides out in the retail wilds. I was really just procrastinating, but the KDP Print uploads went off without a hitch. Received the IngramSpark proofs yesterday and, no surprise, I’m less than impressed with the quality. I considered a podcast/video about it, but deleted what I recorded. Maybe I’ll do one in future. I’d like to get the last available guide re-issued but can’t quite muster the enthusiasm to make those changes.

Since the guide project became a black hole that merely sucked my time and resources into a void of nothingness, I’m not continuing. Energy could be better spent on the backlog of novels and novellas I have.

I bought a microphone for audio recordings and think I’ve found the best settings and set-up. Still need a windscreen, but I’m making due for now. I rambled on for quite a bit last night on a new book review and still need to do a bit of editing.

More importantly, I need to focus on my novel. I kept telling myself if I just got those re-issues out of my way, I could dive back into it. Truth is, I find more distractions so I can continue procrastinating, like doing book reviews or anecdotal videos about writing.

So here’s my plan: get the last completed guide out by the end of June. The book review I mentioned is almost done, so I’ll post that in the next week or so. Another book I wanted to review I need to re-read. Since it’s a horror novel, I can always aim for a Halloween timed review. What’s that leave? Work on the damn novel. Here’s hoping.

 

Stuff and more stuff

I’ve been remiss with blog posts, I know. I was focused on updated editions of the guides. I have one more to go, but I’m not rushing it. I don’t know when I’ll get to it. For all intents and purposes, I’m burned out. Too much work, no real reward.

I’ve started doing some podcast videos on writing (using anecdotes of my own positive and negative experiences) and book reviews. I have two reviews on deck, so to speak (it is baseball season after all), and another review I’d like to do, but I need to re-read the book again. I’m holding off on recording the two because I’m waiting for a new microphone which I’m sure will make a big difference in audio quality. And it’s audio only, cameras don’t like me (not anymore anyway, time and age is a cruel bitch).  I have a face for radio, as the saying goes. And possibly a voice for silent movies.

Anyway, that’s where things stand at the moment. I’m Just trying to clear things off the over-filled plate and reclaim a bit of sanity. I’ll add a link to my pitiful fledgling YouTube channel in the sidebar. Below is the podcast (audio only) version of my latest YT post.

 

Getting closer

I’m finally nearing the end of this re-issuing business of the episode guides. I’m in the process of making changes to the manuscript for number five and am over the half-way point in re-proofing volume six. Things seem to be on schedule and it’s looking like I’ll finish around the time I expected. Then I can finally get back to the novel.

There’s still so much that needs to be done. I may have to start listening to my files again to fully immerse myself in that world and the characters’ lives. A thought recently occurred to me though; why is it, when I envision a certain character’s home, I always see it in very dim lighting? Always. Then I thought, I see a lot of this story that way. Maybe because of its setting, my mind is ascribing an appropriate sepia tint to things.

Well, onward. The sooner I get these last books re-issued, the sooner I can dive back into it. I’ve been pulled in so many different directions of late; resolving the CreateSpace issues, transferring to KDP, learning the IngramSpark curve, adjusting to Photoshop, using D2D, creating a Twitter presence, fine-tuning this site. I’m exhausted just reading about all that.

A productive day

It’s been quite a busy day. Last night was busy, too. I’ve been tinkering with the website. I opted for a slideshow on the home page, rather than a static list of books, as well as adding Author Page links and the Abstruse & Louche imprint logo. I’ve added a new menu category and created a couple of drop down menus for more streamlined navigation. Individual titles now have their own page with image, blurb, and a few other basic bits of information. I made some quick buttons and am in the process of adding purchase links to each product page. It’s time-consuming and I’m burnt out already.

I’ve re-published the newest e-book edition of DS Guide Volume 3 with the new cover. It’s already hitting a few retail sites. I’ve also got the new print edition in the works at CreateSpace, and I’m almost finished re-proofing volume 4. It’s always welcomed when things flow well. I think a bacon cheeseburger, a couple of drinks, and a cheesy movie are in order.

Making headway

Some good news. Thanks to a patient and resolute customer support person at Lulu, the Barnes & Noble e-book issues have finally been resolved. Really, this rep was great. We only communicated via e-mail, but she was always pleasant and definitely not a slacker. So ends my association with Lulu.

The plan, don’t hold me to it, is to have the books republished through a different platform by late March/early April. I believe I also need to update the files on KDP as well, at least that’s what the note on my whiteboard tells me. I know I need to update the print edition CreateSpace files, having finessed my manuscript template. I need to apply those modifications, or maybe I already have? I’ll have to check. I’ve had so much on my plate of late.

In other good news, the Photoshop issue I was complaining about is no longer a problem. I suspected it was more a learning curve issue, which it was. I discovered how to do what I want, it’s merely done a little differently in PS than PSE. It was my impatience that got the better of me. Taking a few steps back and focusing on other and/or fewer things can really be beneficial.

Transcribing on volume 7 continues, albeit slowly. I’ll be caught up by the weekend. I can’t let it get out of hand again.

The novel, for the time being, remains on hiatus. Which kind of sucks, but I think once I get these other things squared away, my mind won’t be so cluttered and I can get back to work.