Category: book

So how the writing is going

Fairly well, despite it all.

“Space B!tch” is with the final editor. I have a cover artist. We’re looking at a September-ish release for 2014.

I have submitted a few short stories.

I have been promoting “Trolley,” here and there, like at RavenCon and Balticon, with a brisk sales increase. Oddly enough, sales of my old “Punk Walrus Saga” book have been doing well as well, despite being out of print.

I’ll be hosting the Cosplay at Anime Mid Atlantic June 13-15, then taking a break in July for Camp NaNoWriMo. Then I’ll be back at Otakon, Intervention, and TCEP in August.

Beta Readers prepare red pens!

The confirmation letter to beta readers of my book, “Trolley,” has been sent out. If you requested a copy, and have not gotten the letter, let me know ASAP.

Man, my spelling! Sheesh! I will never make fun of Chance or Scarlet’s FB posts again. Talk about humbling. I ran my novel through a spellchecker, but I know it’s not perfect. One of the things I have found writing so vigorously is that I have started “muscle memory” while typing words, so I did a lot of “if” when I meant “of” and used other words that I meant to say differently, like:

What I wanted to say:
She was interested in finding a new teacher in her quest for knowledge.

What I might have typed:
The was interested in finding a new teaching in her quest from knowledge.

So embarrassing… And I can’t tell you how many times I had to fix the word “borken.” As I always say, “Spill Czech hers oar knot purr fact.” This is where my dyspraxia and dyslexia REALLY become evident.

Trolley is almost ready for beta readers. I have done the beta-preparing edits, and now it’s just combing through the chapters with a spellchecker and some rudimentary grammar checking (which does catch some issues, but probably not nearly enough).

If you have signed up to be a beta reader with me, you’ll be hearing from me in the next couple of days. I am drafting an instruction letter.

It’s at about 109k words. Depending on what edit, it could cross 110k, or drop down to about 100k, but I was right on target.

Well, my editing has picked up speed. I am still on target for having a beta release for the first of December’s wave of fannish editors. It’s been fleshed out a bit, a hair under 104k words as I type this, still on target for 105-110k.

When I was a kid, I wasn’t officially allowed to watch TV, so read a lot of books over and over. There were some books that, once I picked up, I couldn’t put down until I finished them. I just liked reading them THAT much. There was Judy Blume, Roald Dahl, Astrid Lindgren, and Daniel Pinkwater. I must have read every book I had by them more than 20 times. I am happy to say “Trolley” is now one of them. I get sucked into my own story. Does this mean it’s as good as those authors? Maybe not, but at the very least, I had as much fun reading as writing this book.

I really hope you all do, too. I am working hard to make this interesting and intriguing.

I am going to do Paraparanormal. Why? Well, apart from an outline, I haven’t really started writing it yet. I figure this book may only have 50,000 words in it and GOSH DARNIT, NANOWRIMO IS FUN! I love fellow authors, and this marathon is too good to miss. Yes, I’m busy editing “Trolley.” Yes I have Katsucon, three birthdays (including my own), work, podcasts, and other issues.


Also, truth be told, I had a dream last night that I should do this. Like, ghostly visions of the story and me finishing it. Sadly, none of these visions involved me sitting on sacks of money with $ signs on them, smoking a fat cigar, and going, “Yeaaaah ha ha!” But here’s my info:

Punk Walrus on NaNoWriMo

I am having serious issues with my NaNoWriMo account, however. Like, it won’t accept my password, but it lets me log in when it is reset, and then it won’t let me log in after I log out. Their help says to clear my cache, history, and cookies, but that’s not working. So I updated my account during one of these moments and I didn’t log out. Let’s see how long that takes before it fails.

BTW: The Balticon Podcasts are on hold because Paul got busy.

I am happy with the ending now. So the first draft of the book is FINISHED at just under 99k words, which is good because once I am done with the first edit, it should be about 105k I am guessing. I have already started the first edit, which will probably be one of three before the beta readers get hold of it. Thus, no NaNoWriMo for this November, either, I am afraid.

Boo, hiss.

In other SQUUEEE CELBRITY ZOMG news, I am giving advice to Alison Arngrim (author of “Confessions of a Prairie Bitch”), apparently. Back when I worked at Crown Books in old town Alexandria, we had some authors who would sneak in and sign their books like literary Ninjas. I have a few of them. I remember catching Joseph Girzone signing “Joshua.” He’d leave inspirational messages in his books, and I always told myself I’d do the same when I got the chance (which is hopefully soon). Here’s our small Twitter chat:

@Arngrim And my book is here…borders in airport

@punkwalrus@Arngrim You should secretly sign them with hidden messages. When I worked at a book store here, we had some authors do that. Ninja signing.

@ Arngrim @punkwalrus. Great idea! I’m sooo doing that next time! And write really weird things too!

@punkwalrus @Arngrim “Help I am being held prisoner in a book binding factory!” or “On certain nights, this book gives you secret frog-like powers…
@punkwalrus @Arngrim Or, “To the former abused child who finds this: we hear you. Come find us, we’re looking for you and can help. Bring cookies.”

@Arngrim @punkwalrus oh yes! Lots of cookies! Chocolate chip!

If anyone would have said I’d be chatting with the actress who played Nellie Olsen years ago, I would have said, “Who?” Alison is actually a HYSTERICAL comedienne, and I caught one of her shows on TV many years ago. Then I saw her on some “Remember the 70s?” show on VH1 and realized who Nellie Olsen was. I mean I was *aware* of the TV series, and had read the first book as a kid, but I wasn’t allowed to watch TV as a kid. Then USA networks was showing the series last year, so I pretty much watched the entire series in a matter of months for the first time with Christine, because she was a big fan when she was growing up. It was funny, I kept seeing Nellie as “young Alison who does raunchy stand-up” unlike the rest of the world who probably wonders why Alison doesn’t actually have curly white hair. And I was SHOCKED what a bitch Nellie was. But even worse that Nellie, I *hated* her mother. What an ass-tastic spoiled hag. I think in a real prairie town back then, “mob justice” would have found them both drowned in rain barrels one morning. At least Nellie redeemed herself in the end.

Alison was also abused as a child, and had a lot of parallels in her life that I did. If you’ve been abused as a child, please get a copy and read it. There’s a lot of hope in there. When I read her book, I was glued to it. I think I read it in 6 hours. Even if you’ve never liked the TV show she was on, I think her book is amazingly entertaining and thoughtful. I am glad I bought a hard copy.

She’s so cool!

Well, this weekend I finished the book. The ending needs some work, but it’s mainly a decision process. I am “letting it cool,” so to speak.

I won’t kid you, the book was rough on me. Horror is something I have written many times before, but never actually had published, unless you count my short story in Gateways Magazine in the 90s. I forgot the title, but the gist was monks trapped in a monastery on a dying world are getting murdered one by one, with the prophesy being the survivor will be the ruler of a new generation of life. Not really horror as much as apocalyptic fiction. But in this book, I had to put a young woman into some terrible, horrifying, and gut-wrenching situations. I could spare her no mercy. So I was not feeling very well by the time it was done.

Thus, I decided my next project would be a comedy. I wondered if I should revamp “The Saga of Punk Walrus,” but I am doing something different with publishing that one, so I pushed it further down the stack as a new story started crawling out of my head.

“Paraparanormal” came to me near the end of “Trolley.” The story has three characters:
– Lars Jackson: (pronounced “Yak-sen”) a Linux geek, anime fan, and avid gamer. Very antisocial and reluctant to be taken outside of his shell.
– Frank Griswald: a self-proclaimed paranormal investigator, Frank is the result of a lot of medical testing at a young age, and tends to be paranoid and bipolar
– Abigail “Kittenripper” Ephron: A Halakha roller derby girl who works for the Jewish “Kosher Nostra” mafia. Has yet to break it to her mother she’s a lesbian.

The plot is basically Frank runs afoul of some government project, and drags Lars into the fray trying to hide from them. They enlist the help of Abigail and her mafia connections. Hilarity ensues.

Well, then end is done.

It’s one of those ends I am not completely sold on. You ever listen to a symphony and then you think it’s the end based on the measure, only to find out it goes on for another minute? THEN you think it ends, but then it goes on just once more before it finally ends? Well, that’s what’s happened. So I am not sure if I will keep the end in its present form, as I think some if it is superfluous and waters down any impact I was trying for. So I have ending A,B, and C which are strung together.

1. If I eliminate B & C, it ends far too abruptly, and I wouldn’t blame my readers for chasing me with torches and pitchforks for all that wasted time.
2. If I just eliminate C, then it ends on a kind of sharp unresolved cliff.
3. If I keep B & C, (as it is now) it kind of drags on.

The ideal thing is to figure out how to end at B without the cliff. C was planned as sort of an “epilogue” to tie up loose ends.

On top of that, now I have to go and fill in all the place markers I wrote past. As I mentioned earlier, there was a lot of this sort of thing:

As Heather looked down the shaft, she saw [PUT DESCRIPTION OF SHAFT ASSEMBLY HERE] with the professor at the bottom. [INSERT DIALOGUE HERE EXPLAINING WHAT IS GOING ON]

But I think this will be about 100-110k of words when done. Stay on target…

Trolley at 90k – Home stretch

Part of the ending has already begun. I figure I’ll be a little short of the 120k mark, maybe 100-110k when I am done with some of my pass-throughs. Right now I have been writing so fast to get to the end, I know when I do my first editing pass, a lot will change.

I am also looking towards how I will market this book. Already, I know Balticon will be my big debut. The book may be out before then, but I hope to have a release… well, I won’t be able to afford a party, I am afraid, but maybe I can work out something with Balticon, even if it’s just an empty function room, a sheet cake, and some grape soda.

And I have a gift! The following post will be an excerpt from Trolley. Finally. Amirite?

Trolley at 85k – Rest time over

I took a few days off to cool down after our protagonist went crazy. She’s better now. Well, no she’s not. She’s been through a lot. I have been there with her. I spent some of this weekend just cleaning around my writing area, which was a huge mess of dust and papers. I needed to rest from the book, but by last night, I was back to writing again. I went through and fleshed out some stuff with notes that say something like:

Heather sat on the edge of her bed and cried. A lot. [put some stuff about self-reflection here questioning her motives, then at some point Anna will speak to her and make sure she’s conflicted due to the steampunk taco truck* and… well, make the story flow from this sentence to the next paragraph]

Then I massively re-wrote the very last chapter I had worked on. Completely altered it. Which meant I had to go back and alter some stuff in earlier chapters.

Now I am just tired. I’ll probably get to write more this week, and hope to reach the 100k mark by Friday. I might actually be ALMOST done by that point, as the book is about 85% to the resolution as it stands now. At this rate, the alpha version may be done by the end of October. Then a revision. Then some serious proofreading, a rest period, and then another re-reading and revision before I send it out to beta readers for December.

Right now I have a good feeling about the book. It’s rough, no doubt about that. Needs some serious editing. But I want to get the book DONE and then edit it.

I attended SuperArtFight on Friday night, where I was introduced as “the guy who wrote the fan fic,” but Chris Impink. “I am scared of you!” shouted Ross. And Bryan. Nice to be recognized, fellas. 😀

*PS: Sorry, there is no steampunk taco truck; I stole that from a SuperArtFight.