February Update

Well. So, 2017 is certainly starting off interesting. I'll save the politics for a specific post sometime. I imagine that most of you who keep up with me in the real world and online know my political leanings, so it won't surprise anyone to know that I'm not enjoying the new regime.

Now, I'd love to be able to blame my lack of writing progress on that, and there might even be some credit to that, but it feels a bit like a cop out. I mean, not everything bad that happens can be blamed on Trump. Doesn't mean I can't try.

That being said, work on Impervious is progressing, though I have to say, I've been a little less enthusiastic about the project since I discovered I'd have a next to impossible time selling it, no matter how good the finished version turns out. Also, its becoming increasingly obvious that its going to need another fairly substantial edit, with a significant amount of world building going into the next draft. I'm having a hard time figuring out if shelving it until my career is at a point where I could have a shot at publishing it is the right move or just cowardice.

It's a good story, I like it…but the ending just isn't giving me the punch that I want. I'm sure that my author friends can relate to those feelings.

While all this is going on in my head, I stumbled back upon my NaNoWriMo project from 2014, a first-person urban fantasy about a novice vampire. Its nerdy, its fun, and (in my opinion) a surprisingly well written first draft. I spent the last week just reading it, wondering how in the world I'd forgotten about it. The project doesn't have a name right now, but I'm leaning toward punching out an ending to the first draft, then smashing out a second draft.

It would be a shorter novel, but something that would be much easier to shop around to agents and editors, or if that doesn't work, something much easier to toss together into an eBook and put up on Amazon to start a little self-published series. You'll undoubtedly hear me talking more about this in the next couple months, because I'm itching to do something with it.

I'm also going to be working on an Edge of December light novel: something the size of a novella that Glenn would then add illustrations to. Like last year, my New Years Resolution is simply to write more than I did last year. So far, that isn't working out so well, but I think if I focus on some smaller projects, things I can get done quicker and not get burned out on, I'll have a decent shot at increasing that word count.

I'm also regularly working on WordKeeperAlpha again. I know that progress on that hasn't been anywhere near as fast as it should be, but the features I'm working on are turning out to be bigger than expected. Still, they'll be worth waiting for. I've got a big update coming soon for Goals and Projects, and then I'll do some minor tweaks to the front page and a couple more small upgrades that I've been meaning to get to.

I've been promising social functions for a while now, and I'm still going to do them, but they might have to wait for version 3.0, which I'm planning to get to next year to really get going. Sadly, I've only got so much time in any given day, and its just really hard to fit in writing and working on WKA. Progress will continue…just slower than I'd like. For the most part I'm working on WKA on the weekends while I write during the week. At least that's what the plan is. We'll see if I can stick to it.

That's about it for me. My goal for the rest of the month is to average 500 words a night for the month of February. Right now, I'm not doing all that well toward that goal, so I'll have to kick it up a notch or two over the next few weeks. I'll check in with you guys in March and let you know how I did. Give me a poke on social media and let me know that you've got your eye on me.


The wonderful worlds of Seanan McGuire

My wife and I had the distinct pleasure of going to ConQuest in Kansas City earlier on this year. If you haven’t been, I can’t recommend it enough. The programming was excellent, the location (The Sheraton at Crowne Center) is awesome, and they had a game room the likes of which I haven’t seen before or since. We’re looking forward to returning this year, and probably for many more in the future.

One of the chief draws of ConQuest this year was the convention’s author guest of honor, Seanan McGuire. She’s someone who’d flown under my radar for a long time until I picked up Rosemary and Rue, the first in her October Daye series during one of my “Eh, its Urban Fantasy and I need something to hold me over until the next Dresden Book comes out” searches of Audible.com.

Spoiler alert: The next Dresden book comes out in exactly one hundred years.

Back on topic, though. Since that first book I’ve been hooked to just about everything that Seanan writes, and fortunately for me, she writes a lot. Not only that, but her panels at ConQuest were hilarious and mildly frightening. Through some of her books, she’s done quite a bit of research on genetic engineering and put a lot of thought into how she would end the world on the cheap. She actually consults for the CDC in one capacity or another along with some other authors. I’m assuming because it’s their job to think up worst case scenarios and then think up ways out of them.

All that being said, if you don’t know who she is, and what she writes, that’s what we’re doing here today. We’ll start where I started, with the October Daye series.

While I really don’t want to compare October Daye to Harry Dresden…there are a few similarities. Not in a “this is a copy” sense, but more in a “both of these characters could use a vacation” sense. October Daye is a Changling, half-human, half-fae. She’s had a rough last decade and a half. While searching for the kidnapped wife and daughter of her liege, his asshole half-brother changed her into a goldfish and left her to swim about in a lake for fourteen years. When the spell finally breaks, she has to pick up the pieces of her life and deal with all the problems she left behind. If that sounds a little rough…it is. Toby gets the crap beat out of her in just about every book, makes more enemies, gets in more trouble, and generally bites off more than she can chew. She is also a bad-ass, though. Seriously, check it out.

Maybe “hard-boiled fae-private eye” isn’t your speed. Though, if it isn’t I’m not sure we have all that much in common. Still, if it isn’t, maybe “monster conservation” is more your speed. Well, the proper term is Cryptozoologist. For Verity Price, Cryptozoology is the family business. In the first book in Seanan McGuire’s InCryptid series, Discount Armageddon, Verity is in the middle of a study of the Cryptid populations of New York while trying to decide if she wants to pursue the family business, or follow her heart and become a professional ballroom dancer. All that goes out the window when a snake cult starts murdering folks and a member of the Fellowship of Saint Giles (monster hunters and assholes) shows up. I like this series a lot, for the world building, the characters and the everything else. In a later book they go to Australia and I wish she had an entire series based there.

Sometimes you’re not in an urban fantasy mood though. Sometimes you feel like a little horror. How about some zombies? Well, under her pen name Mira Grant, Seanan writes a couple of different horror series that are both engrossing…and gross.

In the Newsflesh series, starting with Feed, the zombie apocalypse has come and gone. The world has changed in the last forty years. First, zombies are a still a thing. Just because the apocalypse ended doesn’t mean they aren’t still around chewing on people. Along the way, the traditional media dropped the ball, and the new journalists are bloggers. Some are pure journalists, while others go out into the wilderness and poke dead things with sticks for page hits. Feed joins the first blogging crew embedded with a presidential campaign. Go out and read this. Trust me. Just do it. I wish I could tell you more…but I really can’t spoil this. Its good.

Zombies too tame for you? How about a world where genetic modification has produced a tape worm that you voluntarily take to solve all your health problems. What about when that goes really, really wrong? Then might I humbly suggest Parasite also by Mira Grant, the first book in the Parasitology series. Also a great read full of conspiracies, and creepy parasites.

Phew… There’s almost certainly something in here for you. I highly recommend that you buy her books. All of them. Read and keep reading forever.

I’d like to do some similar posts with other authors who I’ve stumbled across. But I’m terrible at delivering on blog promises. So, you’ll get what you get and you’ll be happy. Besides, if you read everything by Seanan McGuire that you can get your grubby little mits on, you won’t need any more books for a while. For now, I can hear the sweet, siren call of bed. That and the cats hunger. Catch you next time!

 


I’m scared and I don’t know why you aren’t

“Trump's a political outsider.”

“Trump speaks his mind.”

“He's going to get the corruption out of Washington.”

“We don't want another four years of the same politics in Washington.”

“It's time we sent a message to Washington that they can't just ignore us.”

I've heard the arguments. I understand them. Congress' approval rating is lower than Ebola's (wish I was joking) and the “fly over states” feel justifiably like our concerns aren't important to the policy makers in Washington. Concerns that have been stoked and enflamed by a pompous, posturing, shit lord with corn-silk hair … I'm sorry … President-Elect Trump.

Continue reading…


Impervious: Everything you wanted to know and more

I know that I’ve been saying this for a while, but the second draft is nearly done. I’ve been hemming and hawing over the last couple chapters for far too long, but it’s time to just finish it. I know there are still problems, but that’s what the third draft is for.

The big question, though…is what do I do with it? Inkshares isn’t going to work…because screw doing all my own marketing. Bleug. No thanks. Twitter is a fun distraction, but I don’t want to spend all day every day “building my following” like some kind of cult leader. Chances are my Twitter is going to get me tossed in Gitmo by President Trump anyway.

Further complicating matters is the information that I got at WorldCon. Impervious is a big book and would present a big risk to any publisher, on top of the risk of taking on a first-time¬†author. While I fully plan to query it out and try to find an agent, chances are that Impervious won’t be able to sell until I’ve sold a couple other books to “prove myself”. Even Brandon Sanderson started off with Elantris. Sure, it was a big book, but it wasn’t a huge trilogy like the Iron Principles is. And if I did sell it, there’s a very good chance that I’d have to change the ending so that it could be a stand-alone novel, just in case it didn’t do well.

Plus, nearly every agent and editor I heard at WorldCon said to not write the second book until after I’ve sold the first. Apparently having three books ready to go in a series isn’t actually a selling point…at least for a first-timer like myself.

So, how does this affect my plans? Well, in the immediate sense, not at all. I’m still going to finish up this draft, and probably do at least two more drafts to get Impervious in enough shape that I can query it out. If I find an agent, and it sells, awesome! I’ll take it and run, and change whatever they want ¬†me to change. It’ll take a while, but you’ll get a book.

Assuming that doesn’t happen? Well, I’ve got a couple other options. The first is just to pay to get it professionally edited and put it up on Amazon, iBooks and elsewhere, go the indie route. I’m crap at marketing, but that’ll put an eBook with my name out there and then I don’t have to wait for a multi-book deal to write the rest of the series.

Something else I’m considering is seeing what I sound like reading it. There are a few authors out there who’ve gotten their start publishing their book in an audio format, one chapter at a time, recording themselves. I’m actually more than a little curious to give that a try and have been dipping my toe in the shallow end of that pool since WorldCon. You may or may not be hearing more from me on that in the near future.

 


WorldCon and Inkshares

Oif. It’s been a busy couple of months here in the Swanson household. First, with the initial excitement of the Inkshares fantasy contest, then with the even bigger excitement of my first WorldCon. Both of these endeavors were stabs at kickstarting my writing career…and neither has gone off quite as well as I hoped it would. Granted, both were longshots. Still, its important to admit one’s defeats and move onto the next phase. Not only that, but both were valuable learning experiences.

WorldCon

MidAmericon II was an absolute blast. Sure, I went in all starry eyed thinking that I just might run into an editor who would want to hear the elevator pitch for Impervious, or just make some contacts in the industry. Don’t get me wrong. I met some awesome people, and met some excellent authors. Just no magical happenstance that put let me break straigh into the publishing industry. And really, I never expected that to happen.

What I did do was attend every panel that I could squeeze into my schedule without starving myself and dropping dead from exhaustion. I learned a ton of things that I didn’t know before. I attended a couple panels with agents and editors that will give me a big leg up when I’m ready to start shopping Impervious around in a draft or two. I attended a writing workshop that gave a rather staggering blow to my ego, but I have managed to recover from that.

WorldCon definitely put a lot of things in perspective, especially if I’m going to try and make a career out of this writing thing. I’m going to have to do more, be better and probably write a bunch more books a lot faster than I’m writing now. How I’m going to do that, I’m not sure…

Inkshares Contest

After a strong start in the first day, Impervious quickly fell off the top slots. I’ve gained a lot of followers over the course of the contest, but haven’t sold anywhere near the amount of books I’d need to win it, or to achieve the lower of the Inkshares goals that would get me an eBook. Granted, the contest still has thirty days to go, but unless Neil Gaiman or Brandon Sanderson points at my book and says make this happen, it isn’t going to happen on Inkshares.

And really, this isn’t the worst thing that could have happened. While I didn’t learn as much about this contest as I did from WorldCon, I have discovered one thing. I don’t want to go the Indie publishing route. It was fun for exactly one week, before I got tired of trying to think up interesting updates. And I have no desire whatsoever to email people individually to ask them to buy my book. Ugh… No…I have no stomach for doing my own marketing. This is something that I will gladly have some one else do on my behalf. Traditional publishing my be a harder road to walk…but I think its going to be the one that sees me writing more book and not tossing my hands up in frustration, trying to constantly drive people to my book listing on Amazon.com.

If you’re reading this and you’ve already pre-ordered a book, don’t worry. Inkshares will refund your money, probably in the first week of November. If you haven’t pre-ordered Impervious yet, and are wondering if you should…wait a bit. There probably won’t be another Inkshares contest in my future, but there will be other ways to support Impervious coming soon enough.

To everyone who pre-ordered. I can’t thank you enough. Your support has been awesome and even though it won’t be coming through Inkshares, Impervious will be in your hands soon…ish. Which will bring me right into my next blog entry which is going to be all about Impervious. Stay tuned! It’ll be coming soon.

(I promise. I wrote it as part of this blog entry but that just made this way too long and I like you guys. … Most of you guys. … … Yeah, most of you guys. And nobody wants to read THAT much on a book I haven’t completely finished yet.)