An artist friend visited today. She asked some questions about how my writing was going. When I showed her the original cover of Eaters and the Permuted Press website, she was a bit shocked and said, "You don't look that creepy." With a laugh, I replied, "I'm creepy on the inside." I sort of feel like Clark Kent during day, only revealing the big dark "C" for "Creepy" online at night. Since I'm not always walking around in goth attire, I guess it surprises some people to know that I read and write horror and paranormal stories. If I were unchained from the corporate world, I'd probably have a dozen tattoos, wear a lot of black, and rock some silver skull rings on my fingers...or maybe not. I wake up feeling a different flavor every day, so I don't know that I'd ever consistently look creepy on the outside. Maybe it's more fun to dress like plain Jane and see the wide eyes when I reveal my secret creepy center.
I cleared the deck to watch The Walking Dead season premiere on AMC tonight.
It really sucks to be Rick, doesn't it? He'll always be damned if he does and damned if he doesn't. It was interesting that with all the zombie killing there wasn't a single gun fired until the very end (making that shot more climactic.) And we don't know who the shooter was. I thought the terror and tension scenes were good, but I had mixed feelings about the rip-open-the-dead-dude-to-see-what-he-ate scene. (What do they make that black muck out of? I started out in college as a Radio/TV/Film major. If I'd landed in Hollywood, maybe I could have been in on some of this cool (gross!) stuff.) How many of you thought the Jesus statue in the church was going to move or speak? LOL. It did have a zombie-esque look to it. I think there has to be religion factored into apocalyptic stories. The hopeless situation either strengthens faith or dooms it all together. In Eaters, the main character doesn't believe there's any supreme being--but that makes her own will to survive stronger. Will Rick get a sign? I'm betting not until the very end of the series.
I finished the Eaters manuscript last night. I think I heard bells when I typed "The End". Or, maybe it was just the Dead Collector walking the streets:
Part III of the story is Eaters: Destination, the end of what was originally to be a trilogy of novellas. The manuscript for the novel has been sent to Permuted Press, and I'm anxious to go through the editing process and see it in print. Thanks to all my beta readers for your input and my family members for allowing me to be a hermit at the keyboard for so many hours.
Sometimes, it's the twisted things that make my day. (Thanks, Mark Buford.)
This Scary Gary was from 9/23/11.
I really am working diligently on the Eaters manuscript. I'm half way through going through it with a fine-toothed eye, and still on the fence as to whether I need to add a scene near the end to add more closure. I've gotten three very different opinions by beta readers on the current ending, so I guess I'll just have to go with my gut.
I got a present in the mail today. Shadow Bound by Erin Kellison. It was a prize in a blog giveaway by Dorchester Publishing. I look forward to stepping into its shadow world...
A couple of nights ago, I had an odd dream that was aborted by a strange occurence.
I'm sitting at a stop light. Traffic is jammed up from all the other people trying to get to the same writer's conference. A man who looks like Bruno Tonioli from Dancing with the Stars is directing traffic. He notices my impatience (did I honk my horn? curse out the window?) and comes over to the passenger side of the car. He sticks his head in, points to a flyer pasted on the outside of my windshield, and says (in a thick Italian accent), "Ms. DePaepe...what...is... that?" I look up and see that it's a bank advertisement. I confessed that I'd known it was there for weeks, but had been too busy to make a effort to remove it. Then, he tells me (with more than a little anger in his voice) that a mutual friend told him, "She would be great...if she would just...slow...down." I made note of the comment in my busy little brain, and the next thing I knew, he was gone, and I was walking into the hotel. At this point, it was late evening. The desk attendant said that my roommate had already checked in. When I opened the door to the room, I could see her suitcase in front of the dresser and her form lying in one of the double beds. I'd never met this person, and didn't want out first introduction to be a rude awakening, so I got ready for bed in the dark then slipped into the other bed as quietly as I could.
This is where the dream ends...because I was startled awake by someone squeezing my toe. There was no gray line between the dreamworld and reality here. Someone SQUEEZED MY TOE. With wide eyes in the dark, I looked over at DH. He was fast asleep, and his feet were on the far side of the bed, nowhere near mine. I was about a second away from making the effort to lift my head and see if anyone else was in the room when I heard FOOTSTEPS DARTING OUT INTO THE HALLWAY. As I lifted my head, eyes beginning to adjust to the darkness, I saw that it was 1:28 a.m., and there was no one in the room or lingering just outside the door. My intuition told me that there wasn't someone in the house (a toe-pinching burglar?). I knew that this was potentially a paranormal event. I wasn't scared. It seemed more like I had been awakened on purpose--to remember the dream and its message. SLOW...DOWN...
Life does seem crazy most days, trying to juggle so many responsibilities and find the time and brain cells leftover to write. How many other writers out there could use a ghostly kick in the pants to take it a little easier and hit DELETE on some of the items on the 'to do' list?
I finally got a chance to see Cowboys and Aliens. Damn--that was a good movie! I usually wouldn't gone for something with either cowboys or extraterrestials, but the combo was something that I couldn't resist, and I wasn't disappointed. Anything that Spielberg has hand in is sure to entertain, and I enjoyed the performance of Daniel Craig and Harrison Ford. Two thumbs up (three or four if you're an alien) and a "must see" if you haven't yet.
It's September, and it may still be 100+ degrees where you are, but if you are like me, the merest hint of fall on the calendar gets your spine tingling for pumpkins, black cats, and all that is Halloween and Horror.
If you don't get the comic strip "Scary Gary" in your local newspaper, I commiserate.
I was so disappointed when my local paper dropped it, that I now subscribe to it online. Hilarious hijinks from a vampire, a ghoul, and a ghost who are roommates.
Dorchester Publishing is one of my favorite houses of horror. They publish some of my favorite authors like Edward Lee, Richard Laymon, Ronald Malfi, and many more. For newsletter subscribers, they are offering chapter samples of John Everson's The Pumpkin Man every Friday, starting today.
Part III of Eaters is in the final draft stage and is in the hands of a few beta readers. I'm so excited to be wrapping up this year-long project that started as a novella after I had a terrifying nightmare about zombies. Look for a paperback and e-book copy at Permuted Press in 2012.
I was puttering away on Eaters: Destination, the last novella in the Eaters trilogy when Permuted Press offered to publish the story as a single novel. So, it's official. Eaters is under contract, and I'm working hard on finishing the manuscript. I look forward to working with Permuted Press. They are a leader in the apocalyptic genre and have a lot of talented authors in their corral. I can't wait to sink my teeth into some of their books. Check out their current titles.
Speaking of books...I just finished Brian Keene's Urban Gothic. As with any of Briane Keene books...don't read it while eating dinner. The gross factor is off the charts!
I didn't sign up for the current round of the ROW80 challenge. I've still be writing this summer, but decided to lay off the blogging for a while. The brain has been too zapped by daily thunderstorms and heat to eek too much out of it lately.
I'm about 30K into Eaters: Destination, the final novella in the zombie trilogy. The third one has definitely been the most challenging one to write, since all loose ends have to be wrapped up. There's definitely a little more character development of Cheryl and Aidan in this one...and the dangers are just as frequent. I should have my rough draft done and a cover within a few weeks.
I read in AMC's Walking Dead newsletter that they were going to be showing a preview during the Breaking Bad show tonight. I don't usually watch that show, so I forgot about it for most of today. As luck would have it, I remembered this evening and just happened to turn on the t.v. just twenty seconds before the promo aired. Note to self: you can kill zombies with a very large rock. Too bad Cheryl and Aidan won't have any of those out in the Arizona desert...
I have a new author to add to my list of favorites. I recently finished reading Ronald Malfi's Snow on my Kindle and was really impressed. The action & suspense were nonstop, and the descriptions were darkly beautiful. What more could you ask for in a horror/sci-fi thriller? Reading about a chilling snow-filled tale was perfect in the middle of July.
Speaking of dark things, if you are into paranormal romance, check out Lauralynn Elliot's Dark Relic: Vampires' Curse, the first in the Libby Fox series of novellas.
This weekend, I cranked out over 8,000 words on a new nonfiction project in just two sittings (probably my most prolific writing spree yet), but I'm only up another 300 words on my current novella. I guess you can't always tell what's going to flow, and what's not. Tonight, I'm going to put a little more metal to the fiction pedal. (Read: butt plastered to fit ball and fingers to keyboard until bedtime.) The stormy weather will help get me into that dark mood for zombie tales.
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I am about 1100 words up since Sunday check-in. Writing a creepy dream sequence tonight for Eaters: Destination.
I delayed my writing this evening to watch Haunted Collector on Syfy. I really like this show. Unlike Ghost Hunters (which I like too), they edit to focus more on the paranormal events (which are always attributed to some object in the dwelling). Tonight's episode was great. I'm not spooked easily, but I got a chill when one of the investigators was in a bathroom stall at a bar and saw the shadow of feet moving on the other side (though no one else was in there with her, and no actual feet could be seen). The shadow came and stopped right in front of the stall door as if it was waiting for her to come out, or watching her through the door. The bar owner had reported the same thing happening to her many times. The investigators eventually attributed the haunting (which also included events like a fireplace lighting itself, gas burners on the stove turning on, and beer taps flowing by themselves) to a Japanese dynamite blaster that they found in the attic (which may or may not have been involved in an explosion of methane gas in a mine that killed 7 people). Of course, the chief inspector got to take it away add to his collection. How many of us would be brave enough to hang out in his haunted museum with so many objects that have supposedly triggered paranormal activity? As a believer, I'm not sure I could do it. I prefer my fictional supernatural world and vicariously learning about real or 'real' events from the safety of my easy chair with the remote in hand.
I'm baaaack. I had a LOVELY vacation recently. Lots of sun, water, sand, and some seriously needed R&R with DH. So much for the pasty goth skin for this month. No worries--it takes serious effort to keep a tan on me. I come from a very long line of pasty mushroom-skinned Europeans. In the winter, if I was any paler, I'd be translucent.
I am definitely behind on my goal of 500 words/day. This is also due to a couple of nasty migraines again this week. The last one nearly put me in the hospital. I sympathize will all fellow sufferers. It's pain with a capital 'P' and the most misery you can imagine. I'm only up to about 15.5 k on Eaters: Destination. I will finish it this summer, but I'd rather take my time and make it the best I can, instead of just cranking it out to get it out quicker. Since a good chunk of this story is set in Arizona, I'll also need to do some research to get my geography and climate right. So, I guess my goal is still 500 words/day...but I know I'll be sporadic about it. Some nights I'll do 1,000 and some, none at all (depending on my busy schedule and migraine attacks). Ever wonder what it would feel like to have a zombie eating your brain? I think I know...
Is it Monday already? I got the 1-2-3 punch from a migraine again last night, so I am late checking in for ROW80. Since last check-in I've done 500, 200, 600, and 900 words/night.
Thank you, Lauralynn for the very nice post on life's curve balls and finding ways to anticipate them and get around them. (I can almost picture you on the writer's field...pom poms in hand. The fans in the stadium waving their pens and laptops!) It's so wonderful to have the support when friends and family members don't always "get" what all this obsession about writing is about. Honey...I'm not ignoring you...I'm not being a hermit (well, sometimes I am)...I'm actually WORKING when I'm up here typing. It's a passion. It's what I do. I can't not do it.Also...when I have my nose in a book...that's RESEARCH. Very important stuff...yes...even when it's the latest Stephen King novel...or yesterday's newspaper. So, this brings up the question...does your spouse and/or family support your writing? I'm not saying that mine doesn't, but I don't think they understand that stories have to simmer in the juice of quiet and solitude. In a busy, crazy house with lots of activity, it's often hard to carve that time out. Thus...I write at such late hours most of the time.
Blogspot has apparently been having some technical difficulties. I was unable to log in at all yesterday, and the night before that I could not add a comment. Obviously, I got in tonight, but the login was still a little odd. Yesterday, I found a tech site where a lot of Blogspot users listed the same problems. Whatever happened, I hope it's permanently fixed.
So...here's my late check-in for ROW80. Monday - 1427 words. Tuesday - 643 words. Wednesday - 500 words. Cheryl and Aidan are cruising into new trouble in Eaters: Destination.
I only read the comics in the paper each day for 'Scary Gary'. This week in monsterland, it's all about ZOMBIES.
A late check-in:
Yesterday, I sat down to write early and mentioned on Lauralynn's blog that I was going to get a good word count in. Mother Nature must have heard me and said "Oh, really?", because a few minutes after that the gloomy skies parted into brilliant sunshine and my family and neighbors beckoned me outside. 'Just a few minutes' suddenly turned into dinner, dishes, and a migraine. Tonight, it's been a long 12+ hour day after work and a family event to attend. Whew! Sometimes, I don't like checking in and just listing my excuses. There is good news though. I'm about 10K into Eaters: Destination, and I've written about 1300 words since last check in. I'm working on it each night as I can...
In order to raise more interest for survival preparation, the CDC (Center for Disease Control) has posted Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse. Supposedly, there were 25,000 viewers for this post on the first day it was up, and it crashed the site. I was finally able to get on it tonight after trying several times yesterday. It's interesting that they used the same photo that I did for the top of the Eaters: Dark Journey cover. It's good to know that our government is spreading the word about the possibility of a zombie apocalypse!
Are you ready?
Actual numbers to report tonight. My word counts for the last three days are 557, 524, and 528. If it keeps raining tomorrow, I'll have a big cup of hot tea (or a few) and rack up a bigger number. It's funny what odd research roads my stories take me down. Yesterday, I looked up how to skin a rabbit and 'necrotic tissue'.
I can't believe it's the midpoint! Tsk...tsk. I certainly haven't been making my 500 words/night goal. Details can be found in previous whines (posts). This morning, I had big plans of getting up and writing for a couple of hours before even touching the Sunday paper, but God (or the devil) had other plans for me. I think today was the true 'Friday the 13th'.
Reason #1 - I woke up feeling like a semi truck had rolled over my head in the middle of the night. The migraines that have been stewing all night are the worst. They have time to simmer and build to maximum pain, so when you wake up...the medicine doesn't kick in easily. I lost most of the day to this one. It was early evening before I felt somewhat normal again. Was there MSG in the Asian salad dressing from the restaurant last night? Inquiring pain-filled brains want to know.
Reason #2 - After stumbling downstairs to make the coffee, hoping the caffeine would help jumpstart the med, one of my cats puked in my kidling's book bag. Seriously...IN THE BOOK BAG. Why was her little furry head even in it? Teachers may not believe 'my dog ate my homework' any more, but will they believe 'my cat puked on my homework'? That was a fun clean up job.
Reason #3 - The other two cats were outside at this point when DH pointed out that one of them had caught a bird--a fledgling sparrow. DH brought it inside. It was a little freaked out, but seemed to be fine. This caused more stress to my woeful head. I've had no luck keeping baby birds alive. We ended up releasing it and forcing all cats to stay inside for the rest of the day. Hopefully, it's parents will come back for it. They were flying around scolding the two cats looking out the window.
I finally got DH to watch Shaun of the Dead with me late last night. He groaned when I suggested it, but he stayed awake through the whole thing and laughed more than once. (Zombie fans can be made!)
Yeah...I'm gonna stick to a 'set in stone' schedule...NOT. Why do I promise myself such things? Getting up early--not an option so far. Staying up late? That still works better for my dark brain. Who can write about zombies at 5am? It was such a damp and gloomy day today; it definitely put me in the mood to get back into the story. I have to wonder how much more writing I'd get done if I lived somewhere like Seattle. Seasons seem to make a difference too. My attention span for writing in spring is sporadic. During the dog days of summer, I just want to hole up in a cool room and read ghost stories. (It gets too hot in the house to sit and sweat at a computer too.) When autumn comes, I get supercharged for writing. In winter, I'm fairly steady. Does anyone else find the seasons affecting them like that? I've been a good girl tonight. 500 words down...and more go before I hit the hay.
Kait Nolan asked how the ROW80 participants are doing with summer distractions upon us. They're already here for me thanks to a gorgeous sunny weekend, and I definitely need a plan. Today, was Mother's Day. After sleeping in late, reading the newspaper, and getting in my workout, I succumbed to the lure of blood red and poppy-colored geraniums, brilliant gold marigolds, and silvery dusty miller. Darn you, Home Depot and your rainbow of seduction! I spent most of the day after that running around like a crazed rat in the garden, ticking off just a few of the gazillion chores to be done in May. I topped the day off by gorging on a delicious Thai dish with my family at a local restaurant. Needless to say, I'm exhausted, still very full, and perhaps a little bit sun burnt.
I still haven't decided if I need to work the late evening or early morning writing angle. I'm really leaning towards getting my butt out of bed early, so I don't feel anxiety all day about getting my word count in late at night (which often doesn't happen). With summer weather giving me a boost of energy, I think I can do this. Tonight...I write. Wednesday I'll report how early a.m. writing went for the first few days.
So here it is...10:19 p.m. I sat down at the computer about half an hour ago, read emails, glanced at some of the blogs I follow...and STILL HAVEN'T WRITTEN A SINGLE WORD (on Eaters: Destination). This is a pretty typical evening. Since I'm more of a night owl than a morning person and my schedule is so busy with work and trying to whip my body in shape for summer...I've always put off the writing until late in the evening. And sometimes...yawn...I'm too tired to even start by then. So, I'm going to have to issue myself an ultimatum. Either, I yank my cranky butt out of bed and write from 5-7am or I have myself a late cup of coffee and do it 10pm-12am. Last night, I tried the late thing and managed to rework the beginning of the story and add 200 words, but doing that sporadically is a far cry from my 500/day word count (1,000 in my insane perfect little world). So...what's the new schedule going to be? I'm going to have to sleep on it. Tonight, I'm going to dig in and stay up late to get my 500 words. (Note: It doesn't take 2 hours to write that little...but I'm including time in those 2 hour periods for warming up the 'ole computer, paying attention to demanding felines, dealing with a wandering mind, allowing for research time, etc.)
Eaters: Dark Journey is now available on Smashwords and was just submitted to Amazon. I feel both glorious and drained after publishing a new work. It's from all of those end game fingernail-biting hours where I poured over the text to make sure that I got the typos corrected that were pointed out by my beta readers and making sure that I haven't missed something important in the flow of the story. (Thank you so much Lauralynn for all your help!)
Needless to say, I am WAY BEHIND on where I thought I'd be by now on the third novella in this series. Maybe now that Eaters: Dark Journey is finally published, I can give Eaters: Destination my undivided attention.
Another writer (Sorry...can't remember who. Was it Kait Nolan or Zoe Winters?) recently commented that she has theme songs for her novels. For Eaters, mine is "Far From Home" by Five Finger Death Punch. I can't get it out of my head. I love it...but it's driving me crazy! In my mind-movie that song is playing in the background as Cheryl is on the motorcycle, holding on tight to Aidan, and they are driving down a winding mountain road, unsure of their destination or future.
No writing tonight. I'm going to do one final read through of Eaters: Dark Journey, so I can post tomorrow. Here is the short synopsis and an excerpt:
What could be more frightening than finding yourself alone in a world that has been overrun by zombies? As she wanders the streets of Golden, Colorado, Cheryl Malone’s only friend is the AK-47 that has helped to keep her alive ever since her fiancée, Mark, came down with the infection that turns people into Eaters and made her leave their shelter. The first survivor that takes her in is just as dangerous as the ghouls outside. After escaping from him, she meets Aidan, a saner companion, whose love for his Harley is only second to the love he had for his dead girlfriend. After barely making it up to the mountains with their lives intact, they meet a young couple who have to be convinced of the apocalypse that happened while they were camping, unplugged from civilization. The four of them retreat to Aidan’s cabin, but they soon find out that it is not a safe haven. The night has more horrors in store for them all...
They kept on driving as the rain pelted them and limited their visibility. Cheryl worried about Aidan taking the curves so fast as they drove higher. One slip on the wet pavement could send them careening over the edge, flying out over a couple hundred foot drop into a grove of pine trees and aspens. She closed her eyes and held on, trusting that this wasn’t his first time driving in such dismal weather and hoping that he knew this road like the back of his hand after commuting from his mountain home to his job day after day.
She didn’t open her eyes until she realized that they were slowing down. The rain was still hammering down as he came to a full stop in the middle of the road.
“What are you—”
She looked ahead, through the sheets of water pouring down. A dozen yards in front of them, the road ahead was a solid wall of Eaters—a small infected army.
“Aidan,” she yelled with a trembling voice. “Turn around.”
As the mass started shambling towards them, he revved the engine, but didn’t move.
“What are you doing? Let’s go…”
She screeched now. “What do you mean?”
“Look behind us.”
She saw them in his side mirror before she turned around. There was another group closing in on them from the rear. They hadn’t heard the approaching moans, because of the loudness of the motorcycle engine. Now, they were trapped between the two oncoming groups with a mountain on one side of the road and a sheer drop down the other.
Her heart pounded, and her breaths came shallow and fast—not enough oxygen getting to her brain. “What are…we…going…to do?”
He revved the engine again. “Go through them.”
“You’re crazy. We can’t—”
“No time to debate it hon’. Just tuck in and hold on…”
Just as the Eaters in the rear came dangerously close, he charged forward like a lone knight with a lancet…into a formidable army. With her head buried in his back, and her arms tight around him, she couldn’t see anything, but she could smell the stench before they hit. It was like a thousand rotting corpses with flesh decayed into a nauseating stew of blood, pus, urine, and feces all mixed together. There was no time to gag as they crashed into the wall of bodies. The impact almost knocked them off, and it was clear that the group hadn’t parted at all as they drove over arms, legs, …heads? But, that was only a few. The rest hadn’t fallen like dominoes—they were a sea of snapping teeth and bloody grabbing hands. They clawed at their clothes and their hair, pulling and yanking at anything they could. Then, the motorcycle began to slow…
Oh no. Oh, God. Please no.
An Eater had a fistful of her hair. She held on to Aidan, screaming with pain as the Eater pulled it and tried force her head back. She knew that if it succeeded, her face and neck would be an open buffet for the crowd surrounding her. So, just as if she was holding on for dear life to the edge of a skyscraper, thirty stories up, she held on…as the roots of her hair tore away from her scalp from underneath the helmet.
Aidan revved the engine, trying to break free of the hold of so many hands, but they were slowing down from the drag of so much weight. “Hit them!” he yelled.
She kicked to one side than the other, smashing her boots into shins and kneecaps. Then with one great exhale, she lifted her head and unshouldered the rifle. Using her elbows and the heavy gunstock, she began to hit left and right. She slammed into heads and chests, impacting some with a thunk, and into others with more rotten flesh with a squish.
She could see Aidan kicking as he tried to do the same. They picked up a little speed, but still weren’t free enough to break away. They were too close to try to shoot, and she was worried that they might grab the gun barrel if she tried, so she alternated between using the gun as a bludgeon and punching with her fist. Her knuckles cracked into jaws, sending teeth and blood flying. She bashed another on the head with the gunstock then was about to defend the other side again when a shirtless infected man, whose flaking gray skin and bald head, mottled with rivers of blackened veins, grabbed her wrist. She couldn’t get the gun around quickly enough to bash him, as he started pulling her arm towards his mouth. She felt his cold, sick breath on her wrist as the motorcycle leapt forward. He didn’t let go. He stumbled forward along with them, crushing her arm with a vise-like hold.
“Aidan!” she screamed as she was close to being pulled off.
He looked back and saw her plight, slowing the bike just a hair. “Hit him! In the face!”
It was a dangerous proposition—she’d have to let go of Aidan’s back in order to reach around and butt the Eater in the head with the gunstock. She wasn’t sure she had the strength left to hit him hard enough to knock him off, especially from such an odd angle. She had another idea, that upped the danger another couple of notches, but there was no time to do math and weigh the pros and cons, because he was leaning forward now as he stumbled along, jaws snapping, as he tried to gouge at her arm with his teeth. In another second or two, he’d find his mark if the others around her, clawing to get a hold, didn’t first.
Sophomore year in high school, she’d been on flag team—she’d twirled a flag on long poles with the band at football games and a few times—a fake wooden rifle painted white. She prayed that her muscle memory, after so many years, would still be there. Because, she’d only have one chance.
Clenching the sides of the motorcycle painfully hard with her knees to hang on, she let go of Aidan. Then, in one swift motion, she twirled the rifle around so the barrel faced away from her. She grabbed a hold of it like a spear then spun around and slammed it into the Eater’s cheekbone. As it connected, it slipped upwards and pierced through his right eye socket. She almost went with it as her knees popped up, but using every muscle in her core, she was able to swing back around. The gun barrel popped out of the Eater’s skull with a sucking pop sound, barely audible above the moaning and the whine of the engine. In the same instant, they shot forward, and broke free of the mob.
She had not even realized that the rain had stopped until she saw a bright streak of sunshine slanting down over the road. They drove through it, and for a quick second, were in a spotlight slicing through the gloom. She thought it was like God’s flashlight, shining down. You made it kiddo…didn’t think you had it in you.
Houston...we almost have lift off. The second installment of the Eaters novella series is almost ready to post. I'm confident that the final edits and formatting will be done in a few days, pending the final formatting and some technical edits involving correct gun terminology that I need to clarify with a beta reader. (If he didn't have sleeping kidlings, I'd give him a ring tonight.)
The good news is...I wrote over 1,000 words the other night. The not so bad news is...that it wasn't on Eaters: Destination. I've got another project cooking in the pot on my shoulders, and I had to get some some of it in ink while the inspiration was hot.
I haven't been to the local fiction writer's conference in a few years, and I though I'm tempted by some of the interesting seminars on this year's schedule, I can't decide if it's worth forking up $300 and the white-knuckled highway driving to get there for several days in a row. The first year that I attended, my novel, The Gardener, was a finalist in their contest. It was an amazing experience to meet a couple of agents and attend a dinner with so many other writers where I received my award for placing in the contest. Since I'm into e-book novellas these days, and I don't have a full length novel ready to enter in the contest or pitch to an agent, is it worth it just for the seminars? (I could buy an awful lot of books on writing for that cost.) Me thinks that a good bonus from work this summer might help me make a last minute decision...
My writing is slow this week, but at least I'm getting some in on most evenings. Last night, I tried to stir up the creative juices by getting back to a little fiction reading (which I haven't done in a little while). I started 20th Century Ghosts by Joe Hill. I am just always amazed by the creepy things that come out of his head, and being closer to my age group, I can relate to some of his interests (like rock music) that he often weaves into his stories. (Daddy King's stories in Full Dark, No Stars were awesome as usual, but didja notice that the main characters were all older? It makes sense...at some point in every writer's career, it's easier to identify with 58 and 68 year old protagonists than 18 year olds.
I've got a spiral notebook on the nightstand now! Last night, after reading, I did simmer up some good plot ideas for Eaters: Destination and jot them down. The framework is coming together...
Sales on Eaters: The Beginning definitely slowed this weekend. Maybe it's the good weather? I definitely found myself doing more gardening and spring shopping than reading. Although, I sowed few words this weekend, I did sow lettuce in some cute planters outside and got some squash and tomatoes started indoors.
My DH is done with his edits on Eaters: Dark Journey and found very few typos. (Woohoo!)
One half of my other beta readers are done with their reading. So...maybe another week to post. I insist on having this book 'live' in April. (Still a month behind my ambitious schedule.)
That's all for ROW80 check in for now. I gotta do some writing...
I'm sporadic on my 500 word/day word count. I'm up to about 3K on my story, though. So, I figure I've got a good snail's start. A lot of my progress seems to happen in my mind, rather than on paper lately. Don't you hate it when you lie awake in bed at night with ideas for your story racing through your brain, and you tell yourself that you'll jot them down when you get up in the morning or remember them the next night when you sit down to write...but then dreamland and the next days activities kick in...and you completely forget your brilliant epiphanies? I know many writers keep a notepad on their nightstand, but my DH would be a little put off by a blinding light interrupting his sleep, and my body is usually too tired during these brain flashes to get up and make that much effort anyway. Does anyone else have tricks for remembering these moments of insight that can happen late at night or while driving?
Rough weekend for the head. On top of a sinus cold (or allergy stuff?), I had a migraine so bad, it felt like shard of glass were embedded inside my brain, and blood was leaking out of the back of my skull. A couple doses of prescription med failed to knock it out. Thankfully, sleep overnight finally did. I felt one coming on again this afternoon. I took a half Excedrin, a glass of magnesium-infused water, and forced myself to eat a potato for dinner. I don't know if it was one of those or the combo of the three, but something worked, because the pain was aborted. Needless to say...I'm a little (lot) behind on my word count! I'm still waiting for comments on Eaters: Dark Journey to come back from four beta readers. Stay tuned for the excerpt...
Like last round, my goal will be 500 words a night. I know some nights I'll go over and occasionally I'll take a night off. Technically, I have over 1500 words started on Eaters:Destination with my notes and writing last night, so I guess I've got a good start. I'll be working a little more on character development in this one, since I think that was a weak spot before. I had sacrificed a little in that area for the sake of constant action, and I know that it's possible to have stronger characters reacting to the ever present dangers.
As soon as I get a copy of Eaters: Dark Journey back from one of my beta readers, I'll be posting an excerpt here.
With life so busy, I hesitated on doing ROW80 again. Lauralynn's nudge to be number 100 to sign up made me cave. Since Eaters: Dark Journey is in the hands of beta readers and almost ready to post, I really do need to get going on the final installment, Eaters: Destination. I got cranking tonight and will report in tomorrow.
Are you still following AMC's The Walking Dead? If you are signed up for their newsletter, they are making a token effort to keep interest up until the series begins again with interviews with cast members and production crew. Like Lost, the quiet vacuum between seasons will probably cause some viewer casualties. I did really like this show and look forward to it beginning again.
In the meantime, my new t.v. love is Being Human on Scyfy. I loved the last episode when Josh said (about Sally), "She looks like The Grudge", when she morphed into evil ghost woman about to attack her murderous husband. The end scene was pretty cheesy, though. Can you say 'plot device'? Spoiler: Sally's door to the Other Side appears and Aidan is suddenly attacked by Bishop crashing through a window. Whatever! The season finale is April 11th. I'll be tuned in and hope for a better cliffhanger than Aidan hanging on for dear 'life' with a wooden stake in his chest. Possibly, Aidan's only chance for survival will be to cave in to Bishop's dark side...or drink werewolf blood?
Finally...whew! Next year, I should remember not to make any promises for finishing anything in the month of March. It's a very busy time at my job, and I often come home and collapse aftwards. Eaters: Dark Journey is almost twice as long as Eaters: The Beginning, so it also took longer to write than the first one.
The rough draft is in the capable hands of my favorite beta readers, and I am anxious to get their feedback and edits. Depending on how long they take, I hope to have it posted online within a week or so. Now, it's time to start on Eaters: Destination. I have some notes already started...and I know how it ends.
I'm not 100% sure why I'm stalling so much on the ending of Eaters: Dark Journey. My many theories include: hair-pulling work stress and working on weekends, my main beta reader being out of town, Scott Nicholson's doomsday predictions for indie writers, change of seasons, and the thought that I've just lost some of my momentum. It's quite silly, really. I'm probably just 1,000 words or less shy of the ending and have been for a couple of weeks. Every other night, I manage to pound out a couple of sentences then I fizzle out or decide that I'm brain dead and go to bed. Last Wednesday was the first time that I didn't even check in for ROW80. I'd worked nearly 10 hours that day and just came home and collapsed. Last night, I was determined to make a valiant effort towards wrapping it up, but my head just wouldn't cooperate. I ended up watching The Other Boleyn Sister as I suffered through another migraine. I'm doing okay tonight and hope to make some more progress.
Not much to report. I had to go in to work for a good part of the day, so it did not turn out to be a writing day, despite the perfect gray and gloomy sky. I'm so close to finishing Eaters: Dark Journey. It's taking much longer than expected to wrap up the exciting, action-packed ending. But...I'm okay with that. I'd rather take a little longer and make it good than try to force it just to get it done. By next week, I'll be sending it to my readers to check for typos with their eyeball microscopes. (Funny. I just misspelled microscopes and had to correct it! What's happened to my English teacher mother's genes? I used to help her grade papers! Tired fingers, I suppose.)
As I was coughing my way through my progress on the postal machine at work the other day and complaining that I'd been sick for weeks, my co-worker asked with a smirk, "Are you pregnant?" I laughed so hard, Zevia soda almost burst up through my nostrils...from the glass I'd had ten days prior. (God bless her for the humor...I needed it at that moment.) I could also use some humor this week, since my bronchitis seems to be relapsing. Apparently, my immune system isn't fond of the all the working out that I've recently returned to. Have I been to the doctor? Hell no. How could I afford the $40 copay plus some useless antibiotics after my health insurance was just raised 40% !!!! That translates into a week of groceries and a tank of gas less per month that I can afford. I don't blame 'Obamacare' (a step in the right direction) or the mandatory maternity coverage required this year for every creature, male or female, from ages 0-109 in my state (stupid!). I blame the for-profit insurance industry and the unchecked monopolies that insurance companies have within many states. Where are the riots in the streets...the marches on Capitol Hill? I told my husband that we could afford a Hummer (or we could at least be stimulating the local economy a lot more instead of sticking to bargain brands and thrift stores) for what we pay the health insurance company each month. That's the end of my rant for now. If you can commiserate and want to start a torch-led mob with me...let me know.
So...last night I was so bummed about the health insurance sucking away my financial stability and my stressful day at work, that I lay in bed coughing my way through Ghost Hunters and Face Off on the SyFy channel (zombie makeup!) instead of doing my ROW80 post for Wednesday...or writing.
Bright news though...I was recently contacted by Eloise J. Knapp for an author interview on her blog site called, 'The Zomblog', regarding Eaters: The Beginning. See the interview here: http://eloisejknapp.wordpress.com/. She is the author of The Undead Situation, a novel that I really look forward to reading. Eaters also has new 4 and 5 star reviews on Amazon. Apparently, there are still some formatting/typo issues after a couple of re-uploads. I will check into that ...
"Are you done yet?" I'm getting that question almost daily from my Eaters: The Beginning beta readers. They want to know if I've finished the sequel, because they are anxious to read it. My goal for the ROW80 challenge was to finish Eaters: Dark Journey by around the end of February or early March-ish. I'm going to stop saying, "I may finish tonight or by the end of the weekend", because this novella is turning out to be longer than I anticipated. I'm good at starting with a hazy idea of point A and point Z, but filling in all that in between in a logical and suspenseful manner takes time and thought. I've nearly hit 31K on this one, so far. (Eaters I was only 2/3 that length.) I don't know for sure how much I have to wrap this up, but it's really nice to be on the home stretch. Writing one of the final scenes late last night, I told my husband, that "I'm creeping myself out." Hopefully, Eaters: Dark Journey will happily creep out a few readers as well.
Not much more to report tonight. I've only written about 750 words since last check-in. I'm really stewing on the ending of Eaters: Dark Journey. But, tomorrow I hope to have the rough draft done! I lament the loss of my main zombie fan and beta reader, who's going out of town for the next month to learn how to build an 'earth ship'. (With all their stores of rations and preparation, he and his family will surely be survivors of any future apocalypse while we waste away on my meager stash of grains and sprouting seeds. ) Meanwhile, DH finally read Eaters: The Beginning and had a lot of editorial comments that I wish I'd had earlier. He's one of my new beta readers now. I'll run Eaters: Dark Journey through his mental meat grinder before putting it out there.
I've read some pretty poor reviews of George A. Romero's Land of the Dead (sequel to Dawn of the Dead). But, I finished watching it last night and didn't think it was that bad. I really dug the scene with the newly cognizant zombies emerging from the water. (Too bad that in real life, the actors were freezing their can-cans off during the filming of that scene.)
Honestly, I don't know how Eaters: The Beginning ranks in comparison to other novellas in the genre by new authors, but I'm happy to say it's taken off pretty well, since I published it in late December.
It sure feels good to be working out a little bit again. Kickboxing today was a butt-kicker, though. The shiny Harley out in front of the gym made me smile going in and out. I have no idea who owned it, but I'd have to guess it was someone in the heavy grunting (lifting) section.
ROW80 Check-in: I haven't been keeping very good track of my word count progress this week, but it looks like I'm up about 2k. I'm slowing down a little as I'm working on the end of Eaters: Dark Journey. I intend to end it with a big bang and still hook the reader enough with an open ending that will want them to read the last book in the trilogy that comes after this. Anya Kelleye helped me create a fabulous cover! Anyone who needs a good graphic artist for their e-book should give her a shout. I really can't wait to finish this book and take a short break to catch up on some movies and reading while my beta readers give it a whirl. Hopefully...next weekend, I'll be at that point.
Not too much to report today. I'm working with a graphic artist to finalize the cover of Eaters: Dark Journey. (Thank you, Anya!) Writing has been a little slow this week. This is busy season at work, and I"m just so brain dead in the evenings sometimes, that it's hard to get the creative juices flowing, and keep my eyes open. Working on the tail end of Eaters: Dark Journey has given me a strange new interest in guns and motorcycles. There's this odd chemical surging through me lately that gives me goosbumps when I see or hear about either. Testosterone? I dunno. But, for the first time in my life, owning a Harley and a rifle sounds like something I might want to do down the line. I can see myself cruising down the road with both, listening to ACDC. Zombies and bad guys...beware!
Went out to an Indian restaurant for an early Valentine's dinner with my sweetie. Saag Paneer...and Vegetable Korma...yum yum! Eaters: Dark Journey is really on the downhill coast now. I'm narrowing down the final scenes. I didn't plan on taking Friday off of writing, but it worked out, since I did double on Thursday. Sometimes at the end of the week, your work-dead mind just says, "blub blub blub..." and needs a break. My zombie-loving neighbor is asking me daily with if I'm done yet with this sequel. Soon...I keep telling him...soon! It was sooooo....nice here today with weather in the 60's. I enjoyed watching the snow start to melt. Die snow...die! It really did feel like spring, and it's going to for the next few days. (Then, I'm sure Mother Nature will be back in full icy force for another few weeks.)
Here's my ROW80 word count for today's check in:
Wednesday = 515, Thursday = 1039, Friday = 0, Saturday = 517
10. Her favorite perfume is called, "Eau de Flesh".
9. When you serenade her with your guitar, she moans along.
8. Her arms are always outstretched, ready to embrace you.
7. She nibbled on your ear and bit part of it off.
6. You came back from your romantic stroll missing more body parts.
5. Her hot red dress didn't get its color from fabric dye.
4. She gave you a heart-shaped box full of chocolate-covered mouse brains.
3. When Cupid struck, it wasn't with a bow & arrow; it was with an AK-47.
2. She never says she loves you. She just says, "Brains!".
1. She asked you out to dinner--you're the meal.
Still singing the sinus blues. Ten days now. A coworker across the hall asked if I was going to live after listening to me hack all day. I'm still trying to avoid going to the doctor to beg for some useless antibiotics, so I went to a health food store tonight and bought some oil of oregano which is supposed to have some serious herbal antibacterial and antiviral properties. I'm counting on that and a few more gallons of hot tea to get me through this soon. As I'm in the final stretch of Eaters: Dark Journey, I'm trying to not let the box of Kleenex and cough drops keep me from writing too much. The biggest bummer is that I haven't seen the inside of a gym now for a week and a half, messing up my 'get back in shape for spring' plan. (Too bad you can't cough off calories. Maybe every cough expends .ooo1 calories, so it adds up to a working off a carrot stick by the end of the day :) For ROW80 Check in: Sunday = 1241 words, Monday = 652, Tuesday = 273. I have definitely set some new writing habits since this challenge started. I may not make my original 500 words/day goal, but it has become a habit to at least do something every night (really sick days and unexpected trips out of town excepted) on my story which keeps it plugging along and fresh in my mind--definitely much more of a priority than it used to be. Stay tuned for my '10 Clues Your Valentine Might be a Zombie' post coming this weekend.
Okay...cold weather...not such a big deal anymore. Being sick...bites. I thought I got my annual winter cold early in the fall, but I've got another one, and it's kicking my butt. Honestly, I have squeaked in a little writing about every other day this week, but I did not write down my daily totals. (I'm actually shocked just now to look back at my log and see that I managed to do over 4K for the week! I guess my infrequent writing sessions have been productive, despite my death rattle as I was typing.) Waking up at 4:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, lying there for a half hour, then finally getting up and writing for a while is about the only positive think I can say about sick person's insomnia. My wish for the upcoming week, you ask? Well...I'd love to see the sun come out, the snow melt (ain't gonna happen--I think one day has a high predicted in the teens), me cast off this cold, break into song (with no one around to hear), and write a few thousand words...typing so fast that smoke flies from keyboard.
Oh cruel winter, you're dangerously bold. The ground hog did not see his shadow, so let the cold release it's hold! It was minus 8 when I made my way into work yesterday. Our family has been knocked down by a virus going around, so I've literally feeling like some half dead bird that one of the cats dragged in. (Warning to all birds: Do not build your nests in our yard this spring. Have you not been warned?!?!?) I've been averaging 500+ a night for word count on Eaters: Dark Journey, but last night I cried 'uncle' and turned in around 9pm, completely forgetting that it was Wednesday and time for the ROW80 check-in. As a Valentine's special, I've put The Gardener on sale for .99 cents for the month of February. If you haven't read it yet, check it out. This story ranked as a finalist in the Rocky Mountain Fiction Writer's Colorado Gold Competition, and that was from an excerpt from an earlier version; it has been much revised and improved since then. Since it is a long novel, 114K, I'm going to make a print version available soon. Eaters: The Beginning, also available for .99 cents, has been selling well. Thank you, zombie fans!
Wednesday = 502, Thursday = 789, Friday = 812, Saturday = 873
Well, as you can see above, I'm not quite making the leap up to 1,000 words a night. But, I am moving along a little faster than I was earlier on. I came pretty close to downloading a virus last night as I was searching for a band name online. (Watch out for a site about a band named, Banshee.) I shut down quick and DH ran a scan for me after that. If not for that event late in the evening, I might have made it to 1K. I am half way through the second novella in the Eaters series, and I feel like the pieces are all starting to come together. I'm probably a slower writer than some, because my brain jumps around so much. I often have to back up and fast forward to add scenes and dialogue that pops into my head, then connect the dots after the fact. Hopefully, this makes for an entertaining and unpredictable read that's still cohesive. The main thing I love about writing is getting to indulge all of my interests, and even some that I didn't know I had. DH will scratching his head when the Cabela's catalog comes in the mail and sees me nose deep in the gun section. Even our night out last weekend to watch a rock band becomes fodder for fiction. (But, alas, I get ahead of myself again. That scene won't play out until Eaters: Destination, the last novella in the series.)
I saw this list on msnbc.com and thought it might be interesting for those of you considering essentials in the advent of a zombie apocalypse. (10 Essentials for Surviving Doomsday 2012 by Sean Fallon.)
1. Bed Bunker - Hmmm...might be zombie proof for you to hide in, but looks like it's just a large safe without air holes. Just think how much better you would sleep with your extra guns stashed underneath you, though.
2. Blast Boxers - Not necessary for the ladies. But, hey...if we want to keep the populationg going, these could be very important for the guys. How about a Blast Bra?
3. Wenzer 'Giant' Swiss Army Knife - For the man who truly has everything? Looks way too heavy and clumsy to be functional, unless you could throw it at a zombie's head and decapitate him.
4. BioLite Camp Stove - Definitely useful when escaping into the wilderness or holing up in an abandoned warehouse without power. You could break up some tables and chairs for fuel to cook you dinner and plug in you emergency radio...assuming anyone out there is still alive to broadcast.
5. Tactical Bacon - Bacon (and chocolate) might be precious commodities during a zombie apocalypse. If you don't eat it yourself, maybe you could trade a few cans for a gun or some ammunition.
6. MusucBag wearable sleeping bag - I like this one. Have you ever tried to get out of a zipped up sleeping bag quickly? During a surprise zombie attack, this could be helpful. Question is...how fast could you run in it? If you were wearing it and stumbling around in the dark, someone might shoot you, mistaking your clumsy movements for a zombie.
7. Soular Powers Backpack - Handy if you need portable power for something...like recharging your GPS unit. Hopefully, early in the crisis, you gave up the tweeting addiction on your BlackBerry.
8. Lifesaver Jerrycan - I'd put this at number one. Safe drinking water is critical to your survival in any apocalyptic scenario.
9. Gorilla Torch Blade - I'm not sure why this made the list. I guess it could be important to provide hands-free light if you had a limited window of safe time outside to fix a generator or a flat tire on your escape vehicle.
10. Knight XV Armored SUV - Speaking of escape vehicles, I get all tingly just looking at this one! For just $400K, we should all have one parked in our garage. (I'm not showing this to my husband. He may redirect retirement funds.) Sounds like the ultimate vehicle for a zombie apocalypse--not as safe as a tank, but much much faster! You'll leave the hungry hoards in your dust...
Sunday = 1,052, Monday = 424, Tuesday = 909
My goal was 500 words/night. But, due to lagging behind where I'd really like to be right now with Eaters: Dark Journey, I'm trying to push myself closer to 1,000 words/night, even knowing that I won't be consistent with that. I'm going to have to get my writing done early in order to do some "research" the next couple of nights. I've recently acquired The Zombie Survival Guide and got the movie, Aaah! Zombies!! in the mail. ( Cheap Friday night entertainment :) Sales of Eaters: The Beginning have been picking up lately. Zombies are still a pretty hot genre, ramped up by The Walking Dead series on AMC. It's funny to me, because I never set out to write a zombie story. I usually go down the ghost-vampire-witch-demon paranormal road. Eaters began from I dream that I had last summer, and once I decided to make Eaters a trilogy, so the main character's story could continue, I became committed. I'm really anxious to be done with this 2nd part of the series, because I have some super creepy stuff that I want to get to in the last one where Cheryl is in the Arizona desert. I'm hoping to publish Eaters: Dark Journey before the end of February, and I'm going to put the cover here on my blog very soon.
BTW...Project Caffeine Reduction was going well. I've been slowly switching out coffee for Teecino and herbal tea, but this morning, I was in a serious brain fog and had too way too much to do at work to be in that miserable state. So, I blended a Yerba Mate shot into some ice water. The energy boost was immediate and amazing! Along with some B vitamins, it had 140 mgs of caffeine. Knowing that, I didn't drink all of it; I just sipped it throughout the day. My head still feels clear. I just hope I don't have to pay for it later...
I'm not quite as exuberant as I was on Wednesday. It really has been a rough week. If you are a migraine sufferer, I know you can relate. If not, imagine someone pounding a railroad spike into your skull and blood dripping out of the back of your brain and over your right eye for hours. I've had several episodes this week, including a pretty bad one this morning that wasted half my day. It felt like punishment after having such a nice evening last night with my husband. We went out to dinner and then to see a friend in a classic rock band (they did some pretty awesome covers of songs by bands like ACDC and Pink Floyd) play at a club. I only had a glass of white wine with dinner and one Fat Tire later in the evening, so that really doesn't explain waking up like I had been hit by a semi truck. Mr. Pain has been dancing with me off and on all week, and I'm really thinking that I need to get off caffeine to see if that stabilizes my head. My migraines take a lot of hours away from writing, and a lot away from life. I'm going to wean myself off of coffee and black tea slowly, instead of going cold turkey. I'm also going to avoid chocolate for a while. Wish me luck. The powerful lure of caffeine usually sucks be back into its evil trap about a week after I get off of it. Once I'm off, I'll see if I can just stick to Teecino and a little green or white tea once in a while.
My word counts since last check in are Wednesday = 476, Thursday = 408, Friday = 503, Saturday = 0
Tonight = TBA. I hope to get crankin' a little harder next week, since I want to publish Eaters: Dark Journey in February.
Even though it's 10:45 pm, and I'm just now sitting down to the computer, I feel a little less stressed than I did last night when I wrote my check-in post. (Going to my first workout class in a week has probably helped my foul (sick of winter) mood tremendously.) I think part of my frustration with the other time commitments is that I know what I'm writing is just the tip of the iceberg of what I could achieve if I could give it more focus. I don't just mean word count--I mean creativity and quality. I need to remind myself daily that one of my 2011 goals is to be more positive instead of being Eeyore all the time, or I'll never have the motivation to write down all these fabulous and wicked stories in my head, even when I do find the time.
"Good morning, Pooh Bear," said Eeyore gloomily. "If it is a good morning," he said. "Which I doubt," said he.
"Why, what's the matter?"
"Nothing, Pooh Bear, nothing. We can't all, and some of us don't. That's all there is to it."
"Can't all what?" said Pooh, rubbing his nose.
"Gaiety. Song-and-dance. Here we go round the mulberry bush."
Time flies when you have no time! I think I wrote about 300 words late Monday evening before exhaustion made me 'cry uncle'. Last night was better--about 550. Being accountable with ROW80 is definitely helping me to make some progress, though I'd really like some tips on how to simplify life to be able to write more. So many nights, I can't even get a chance to sit down at the keyboard until 10pm. There's not much left of the creative brain by then, and sometimes I feel like I'm just throwing words onto 'paper' which is definitely not my goal. I want to have more time to really think about my story--where it started in the beginning, and where it's going in this sequel and the next. I keep waiting to 'catch up' on everything else (laundry, dishes, litter boxes, kid's homework, vacuuming, cleaning, working out a piddly 1-2 x week), but the day job and family take so much time alone, that I can't get to my writing before late in the evening. I still haven't ruled out trying to get up early in the morning to write, so it's priority #1 before everything else kicks in for the day, but saying 'I'm not a morning person' is an understatement. (Although, the older I get--I'm not a 'night person' anymore either.) I know there are a lot of other busy writers out there with day jobs and kids...and don't get me started on the amazing feats of J.K. Rowling who wrote with her brood!!! How do you do it? What's your secret to stretching out the day to make time to write and still find time to sleep?
Due to a visit to an ailing relative, I had to take a break from the keyboard over the weekend. I'll be back in the saddle by tomorrow, and will hopefully be able to catch up on my word count this week. During my visit, I got to meet some humongous friendly cats at a top notch nursing home where the residents are all geting very good care by a caring staff, and...to and from...I got a lot of reading done. But, I'm really glad to be back home where it's much warmer than where I was, the toilets all work, and everyone is currently healthy!
I've been chugging away slowly on my word count every night. My goal is 500 words a night. Sunday = 847, Monday = 453, Tuesday = 580, Tonight = TBD. I really wish I could get closer to 1,000/night. I'd say that I could do it if I had more time, but actually, it would have to be evening time. On the rare day that I have a few extra hours, I rarely choose to write. There's something about sunlight that beckons me to do other things besides write horror. Even when I try, the words just don't seem to flow as well. So, if I ever won the lottery or was able to support myself by writing, I'd still probably write at night. I'd just get all my other stuff done during the day, so I'd be free to do that.
Last night, I added an excerpt from Eaters: The Beginning to its Amazon page. Of course that took it off line temporarily. It says, 'publishing' now, so it should be live again by tomorrow. I did this at the request of my neighbor. She was one of my beta readers and said this scene included her favorite line in the book.
“Hey!” Ed yelled as he dropped the cigarette and batted the gnarled hand away. “Back off, buddy!”
They surrounded him, closing in like a pack of wolves.
Cheryl panicked. “We gotta do something to save him. Mark…go out there and shoot them!”
But, Mark shook his head. “If I did, the sound of the gunfire might draw attention to us. He was stupid—he shouldn’t have—”
By now, any window of rescue was gone. As the Eaters began ripping and tearing at his clothing, skin, and hair, Ed fell down to his knees and curled up into a defensive position with his hands covering his head.
Cheryl looked away, with tears streaming down her cheeks as they tore him apart, one fistful at a time, like they were the devil’s two-year-olds, and he was a blood-filled birthday cake.
I've had a pretty good week for my first ROW80 challenge. I'm often getting more than my 500 word/day minimum writing done, because once I get 'butt in chair' in the evening and get started, enough ideas flow for me to go further. Friday night was the only night I took off (watched a silly Quentin Tarantino 'Grindhouse' movie, 'Death Proof', and spent a long time on the phone with my Mom who is caring for my ailing grandmother). I made up for it last night by writing 974 words. I'm at 4,577 words for Eaters: Dark Journey, and I should cross over 5K tonight. This will be another short .99 cent book, so I envision wrapping it up around 20-25K. I've never written a sequel before, so I'm finding it challenging to figure out how much back story to include. I'd like each story in the trilogy to stand alone, but also inspire a reader to read the 'before' and 'after' to find out what they've missed. I figure it's kind of like a soap opera, you can jump in at any point and get into the story, but without knowing the history all of the characters, you really are missing out. After I get my word count in each night, if I'm still conscious enough to read, I read a little more in the current nightstand book. Right now, it's Joe Hill's Horns. Gritty and dark, it's definitely an interesting story so far.
You know how you'll do something on your own, and then someone tells you to do it or there's a deadline, and then you procrastinate? Well, Monday started out like that. But, once I finally sat down to the keyboard, panicked about having lost my file, recovered it a half hour later, then settled in to the story...I was fine. My goal is 500 words/night, but I did 817 on Monday and 824 on Tuesday. Tonight may be a little slimmer, since I'm getting a later start, but I'll have some time tomorrow to catch up if need be.
Happy New Year! I had a really fun time last night, and fortunately I'm not one of the sad people in hangover land today. There's too much to do to be feeling icky and blue...
I've been watching the sales of Eaters: The Beginning over the last few days, and it's exciting to see that zombie fans are discovering it in the U.S. and the U.K. I've started a little groundwork on the sequel, and will be hot and heavy on the keyboard with that story, starting Monday, Jan. 3rd, when ROW80 begins. My goal will be 500 words/day. With my busy schedule, that's not too easy, not too hard--it's just about right to challenge me and make steady progress with the intent of publishing Eaters: Dark Journey in February, and hopefully make a good dent in Eaters: Destination. I've really been more of a sporadic 'when the mood hits me, and the time and energy cooperate' type of writer. This year, with the help of the ROW80 challenge, I'm going to instill a little regiment to make me a 'write a little every day and git 'er done' kind of writer. I have a quote on my bulletin board above my computer: "Goals are dreams with deadlines." --- Diana Scharf Hunt. Rebel that I am, I realize that a little discipline is the only way I'm going to get all these stories in my head into print.