Today’s blog post is a little unusual for me. Instead of the usual rant or the occasional marketing tip, this blog is part of a tour. Now, as those of you who listen to my podcast know, I’m not one for blogging – it’s just not my thing. However, this aspect of blogging, I can get behind. I love it when fans reach out and ask me to take part in blog tours. I love it when I can help out someone and maybe have a bit of outreach for the both of us.
And since apparently every blog tour has rules (you all know how I feel about those) I opt to follow the first and thank Jonas Lee for pitching up and asking me to participate in the My Writing Process blog tour. Like most artists I am a narcissistic bastard who cannot stop talking about themselves, so this fits right up my alley.
And so, without further ado:
1. What am I working on? Well, for those of you who follow my podcast, you get a little update about this every week. For the rest, you should know that I write as if my life depends on it (which it does since I’m make my living from it). What that means is that I’m constantly juggling projects.
2014 has been my most productive year so far: I just released Book 2 of the Legacy series Birthright, and a free short story called Hammer Time which I’m giving with every review I get.
Right now I have the first book of my sci-fi/adventure thriller series, The Pandora Chronicles, currently being torn apart by beta readers. That book will come out sometime next Fall. At the same time I’m currently writing the first 4 episodes of my thriller serialized fiction, Evil Plan Inc., which I wanna release for free in December and then have the full 10 episode pack (the first season) to sell early 2015.
And just before typing out this blog post I finished chapter 30 of the third book in the Legacy Series.
(There are also 2 more projects which I “started” and can’t talk about yet).
I also host the Lurking Voice podcast, where I discuss books, movies and other geeky things which inspire me, give out some marketing advice, and interview authors, musicians, the occasional actor and other artists.
2. How does my work differ from others of it’s genre? This is difficult for me to answer because when I write, categorization is the furthest thing from my mind. The Legacy Series has been described as “Jim Butcher with sitcom-type humor”, and to me there’s no higher compliment. I’m a huge fan of the Dresden Files, but I’m not copying Butcher’s work of course. Again, I love sitcoms but that is so not my writing style. The fact that a reviewer came to that conclusion by themselves makes me think I might be doing something right.
And since neither the Pandora Chronicles nor Evil Plan Inc. are out yet, I cannot properly comment. However that doesn’t stop me from giving a few hints. When I pitched the Pandora Chronicles to my publisher (AEC Stellar) I described it as “Assassins Creed meets Indiana Jones/Tomb Raider/Uncharted/Relic Hunter meets Clive Cussler through Lovecraftian aliens.” It’s a hardcore adventure thriller with deep elements of sci-fi. Oh and the first book has pirates. Nuff said.
Evil Plan Inc. is less complicated. Think Moriarty meets the Mentalist meets Lupin III and you pretty much got it. It’s about this group of people who try to rid the world of evil by creating as much chaos as possible.
If that doesn’t differentiate me from the rest of the crowd I don’t know what will.
3. Why do I write what I write? Because I have to. Because I can.
Let me elaborate. I write because everything else is either too boring or too insane. In all of sincerity I can say I truly began living, and enjoying it, on that faithful day when, either due to heat or lack of nutrition, my brain cells clanged together in such a way as to make staying up all night to plot out a book, seem like the best I idea ever had. And it was.
From then on it’s been a slippery slope, ending with a steep cascading waterfall. My own manager has described me as “addicted to writing and somewhat neurotic.” To me that’s a compliment. Heck, even my publisher said I am the most “from the hip author he’s ever worked with.”
I write because I don’t know how not to write. This is not just a job for me – it’s a lifestyle, it’s LIFE.
Here’s an example. For the past two days I’ve been really sick. Nothing serious, just low blood pressure and the heat here doesn’t help. The nausea and headaches drive me up a wall – unless I am sitting down, living in my imagination. As soon as I begin working, be it plotting out a story, writing a chapter or doing a blog post, I feel better. I feel right.
4. How does my writing process work? Well, it usually starts with an idea. I could go on and on about idea generation and what I like to call ‘muse triggers’ but that would turn this post into a 50 page essay and no one has time to read that. The key to it though is timing. Like wine or love, ideas need time to ferment and form in your head. And that’s the trick to idea generation: being aware of when an idea is formed and ready to be made real.
Following that I take out a pen and pack of paper and start plotting out the story (novel). This is a very messy process, with a lot of squiggly lines and arrows, and highly illegible handwriting (which by the way is a sign of high IQ, so get off my back high school teachers who would dock points cos my writing was in hieroglyphic form). I love this part – I get to sit back and live inside the story, getting the first full blast of the world and characters. I become the story and that is an EPIC feeling.
Once that is done, then it’s crunch time. One chapter a day, everyday, until the thing is done from start to finish, from the “once upon a time” to “the end.” Once that’s over then it’s usually off to some beta readers and I present it to my publisher. They give it a yay or nay and if it’s a yes, then it’s off to the editor. Meanwhile I work with a cover designer to get that all important cover done. This is also when I start thinking about marketing.
Once everything is done, all that’s left is to write an author’s note, a few CTAs, and the blurb, and assemble the thing like the Power Rangers and their Megazords (if you got the reference and smiled a little, you are awesome). Then we set a release date and it’s marketing, marketing, and some more marketing until the book is out and about.
Almost immediately after the book is done being plotted and written, I would already have parts of sequel (so far my smallest series is thePandora Chronicles with 6 planned books) novels and I would normally be well on my way into writing (and almost finishing) the sequel by the time the novel is released.
No rest for the wicked. Or the artistic.
Certainly not the insane.
So as part of the deal I have to nominate 2 other bloggers to participate in the tour. And here they are:
Amber Forbes is a fellow AEC author and writes in the romance fantasy genre. She was one for the first generation authors AEC worked with and I can speak firsthand of her talent. It’s a funny story: I have a very strict selection with regards to my reading. Reason is I don’t have time to read and when I do, I want to read something I know I will enjoy. I don’t like romance – never have, never will. But somehow, through a misunderstanding over facebook chat windows, I accidentally promised Amber a review of her novel. Never one to back down from my word I read When Stars Die from cover to cover and was so impressed by some parts, especially the masterful ending Amber pulled off, that it was one of the first things I ever reviewed on my podcast. Nowadays her blog is reinvented for the LGBTQ community and if that’s something you guys are interested in, Amber’s blog is the place to be.
My second nomination is KD Keenan. I like KD Keenan. I mean, sure she can write a really cool story (The Obsidian Mirror) but she, herself, is an amazing woman. I had the opportunity to interview her on my show and she is funny, intelligent and is a typical lady with a sailor’s vocabulary. I may also be biased in my liking of her provided she is both my proofreader for Birthright and a beta reader for the Pandora Chronicles. But like Amber, she is a brilliant writer, a fellow AEC author and an all round cool gal.
I hope you enjoyed this blog post and this little window to my process. You can look forwards to two more blog posts by the above bloggers on the 14th (a week from today) and of course you can always follow my blog and listen to my podcast The Lurking Voice to keep up to date with my writing and my releases.
Thank you for reading.
Peace out, stay cool,