Update – April 2015 – New Project, Stalled, Beta Reader Group

I mentioned in my post last month that I might try making this update idea a monthly thing, so here’s what’s up from me lately.

To begin with, I finally got back to writing! After finishing the first draft of A Man With A Gun back on February 8th, I took a break to recharge and maybe do some of the non-writing things I needed to do. That was supposed to be two or four weeks, but sickness, laziness, and just being busy with the things I’d let slide while focused on writing pushed that back. Still, on April 7th, I started on a new project! In fact, that day I put in 4,357 words on that new project, which is my single highest word count day so far this year.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t going to last. I’m currently 12,000 words into the new project and stuck. There’s something not right with the new story. It seems like something is missing. The writing seems okay, and I think I like the characters, but it feels like it’s meandering. That said, it was supposed to be a short story anyway, and it’s already 12,000 words. A Man With A Gun was supposed to be a short story as well, and it ended up being an 87,000 word novel.

So, what am I going to do about it? Well, to begin with, I’m going to stop and switch to some other things. I believe the new project needs to stew a little longer before I go back to it. The muse hasn’t finished chewing on that one yet. The “other things” I’m switching to are a little varied…

Those who follow me might recall that I mentioned another project I had finished earlier this year when talking with Armand Rosamilia on his podcast recently. As I said on the podcast, that was a novella (35,000 words) that won’t be released under my own name. Part of the reason for that is because it wasn’t written by me alone – it’s actually a story that was developed together with my wife. She and I hashed out the story (a large part of it being her creation) and then I wrote the actual manuscript from that outline/plot.

That story needs revision and editing. But, we are also working on turning it into a possible series. We’ve been brainstorming on that a bit. As a side note, I recently mentioned on Facebook that I had purchased the full version of Scrivener and that it is primarily aimed at writers who work from an outline. For me, that’s not how I normally work. But, for this project I’m doing with the wife, it’s been quite good since everything is plotted from the start. Not that anything I write stays on the plot for very long…

While I may talk about these side projects more in the future, for the most part it won’t be something tied to my own name in any direct way. So, no, I won’t tell you what it is. 😉

Aside from that, I’m also looking at some technical issues. As I’ve mentioned elsewhere, I built a computer last spring. It was an epic gaming rig and it was awesome. However, the motherboard unexpectedly died recently. Unfortunately, that computer is where I was storing my older writing files. The hard drive should be fine, but if the computer won’t run, there’s no way to access that drive, obviously. I plan to repair that computer soon, but haven’t had time to tear it down. In the interim, I may swap that drive to a working machine so I can get to my older files.

Why is this at all relevant to my current writing projects? Because among those files are the older projects I haven’t worked on in a long time. Among those projects is a little short story named Out After Dark. I’ve mentioned before that many people have asked for a longer, full-length story from that. What I released was a 2,100 word short – little more than a single scene. What’s written (and languishing on that hard drive) is , if I recall correctly, a 14,000 word manuscript that may someday become much more. I figure there’s at least a novella there, if not a full-length novel.

I’m not making promises on that. It may be that I’ll never release a longer version of that story. But, for now, I need a project to work on while the current one cooks a little longer. The project with the wife isn’t ready to move forward yet, so I may or may not work on Out After Dark – if I can get to my files!

Lastly, A Man With A Gun is still in the beta-reading stage. I’ve been thinking for a while that it would be nice to have a way to organize my beta-readers and bring things together in an orderly fashion. To that end, I have created a Facebook group! It’s called Brandon’s Beta-Reader Barn, because I’m bad at naming things and I like alliteration. If you’re interested, pop by and request to join. No promises that I’ll accept everyone, but that’s how you get in if you want in.

The group will be for people interested in beta-reading my work. Possibly, in the future, some of my author friends might want to seek beta-readers from the group as well. It’s entirely possible that the whole thing will just not work as intended – but, I won’t know until I try. Still, I think it will be faster and easier than doing everything by email, and this way the betas can all talk to each other about how silly my stories are.

That’s pretty much everything going on with me lately. Here’s hoping I actually get some stuff done soon!

 

OH! One last thing: I recently read an awesome book! It’s called The Martian, by Andy Weir and it was just amazing. You really gotta check this one out if you like science stuff, survival stories, or snarky, upbeat protagonists. Click the cover image to snag a copy over at Amazon! Note: There’s more than one version of the cover art. Don’t let that throw you off. I just like this version better.

TheMartianCover

Seriously, this book is EPIC!

 

 

Release Announcement and Giveaway – Stifled by Rainy Kaye

Stifled Release
Today we’re celebrating the release of STIFLED, book two in the SUMMONED series by USA Today Bestselling author, Rainy Kaye. A dark twist on genie folklore, SUMMONED follows a reluctant criminal as he unravels the mystery of the paranormal bond controlling him. In STIFLED, Dimitri trails an elusive jinn and finds himself in the middle of a community keeping dark secrets. The SUMMONED series is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA.

Scroll down to pick up your copy of STIFLED, get SUMMONED for free for a limited time, and enter to win a $10 Amazon gift card.

Stifled Final 2 PSDDimitri would like nothing more than to live a low-key life in Naples, Italy. His girlfriend, Syd, has other plans.

After three months of researching, she is positive she has found a jinn on a killing spree in San Diego, California. Since Syd gave Dimitri the one thing he thought was out of reach, he feels obligated to use his ill-gained talents for her cause.

A few hours back in the US proves that Dimitri and Syd didn’t quite make the clean escape they had thought. As they trail the elusive jinn, someone else trails them. What should have been a simple trip to confirm once and for all if the jinn are living among humans, instead reveals a community keeping dark secrets.

Unfortunately for Dim, the only way out is in.

Get your copy here!

Haven’t read book one yet? No problem! It’s currently FREE on Amazon.

 

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Twenty-three year old Dimitri has to do what he is told—literally.

Controlled by a paranormal bond, he is forced to use his wits to fulfill unlimited deadly wishes made by multimillionaire Karl Walker.

Dimitri has no idea how his family line became trapped in the genie bond. He just knows resisting has never ended well.

When he meets Syd—assertive, sexy, intelligent Syd—he becomes determined to make her his own. Except Karl has ensured Dimitri can’t tell anyone about the bond, and Syd isn’t the type to tolerate secrets.

Then Karl starts sending him away on back-to-back wishes. Unable to balance love and lies, Dimitri sets out to uncover Karl’s ultimate plan and put it to an end. But doing so forces him to confront the one wish he never saw coming—the wish that will destroy him.

 

summoned free banner

about_rainy_kayerainykaye

Rainy Kaye is an aspiring overlord. In the mean time, she blogs at RainyoftheDark and writes paranormal novels from her lair somewhere in Phoenix, Arizona.

She is represented by Rossano Trentin of TZLA. Someone told her she’s a USA Today Bestselling author. She thought there would be cake.

 

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Update – March 2015 – Podcast Appearance and Call For Beta Readers

Not much new to report, but a couple of things worth talking about.

First, you may have noticed that I’ve titled this one as the update for March. I don’t know if that’s going to be “a thing” or not, but I do want to update the blog more regularly, if only to keep you all in the loop on what I’m up to. So, maybe I’ll make this a monthly thing?

The first bit of news to report is my recent appearance on Armand Rosamilia’s Arm Cast Dead Sexy Horror Podcast. As usual, those of you who follow my Facebook page have probably already heard about this, but it was a fun little interview. One reason it was so enjoyable is because Armand doesn’t do interviews in the traditional sense. Instead, it’s just two authors sitting and talking about whatever for an hour or so. We talked about writing (of course), as well as music, Dungeons & Dragons, his upcoming wedding, and all sorts of stuff. Go check it out!

Arm Cast Podcast Logo

This is a fun show!

Another thing worth mentioning: As you know, A Man With A Gun is finished. While I do have some beta readers currently going through the first draft, I would like to have more folks giving it a look and giving me their thoughts. If YOU would like to be a beta reader, hop over to my Contact page and drop me a line. Let me know what format you would need it in (PDF, Doc, Docx, etc.). I can’t promise that I’ll accept everyone as a beta reader, but let me know why you’d like to beta read A Man With A Gun and maybe you’ll be in the list!

In case you’re wondering, A Man With A Gun is a near future sci-fi story with some dystopian elements, along with some paranormal/horror and western bits. Yeah, it’s a genre-bender. The manuscript is currently around 87,000 words (a little longer than Frostwalker was) and it’s a raw first draft – not even really proofread.

My first drafts do tend to be pretty clean, but I’m sure there are plenty of typos. However, beta readers are free to provide as much or as little feedback as they’d like. If you want to hunt down typos, that’s fine. If you want to ignore them and focus on story issues, that’s cool, too. If you want to just give me a few sentences telling me what you liked and didn’t like, that’ll do pig. It’s entirely up to you how much feedback, and what type, you’d like to give.

Lastly, if you do beta read the manuscript and don’t finish it, I’d like to know where you lost interest. That’s important info!

That’s got most of the high points covered. In other news, as I mentioned in my last post, I planned to take two or four weeks off after finishing A Man With A Gun. Unfortunately, coming down with the flu pretty much meant that my whole “break” was spent lying in bed wishing I could die.

In addition to that, a computer I built a year ago suffered a motherboard failure, rendering it inoperable. This wouldn’t matter too much, but that computer contains the hard drive where most of my writing files are stored. No data has been lost, of course, but I can’t access the things I need to work on certain projects. This has limited my options for when I do go back to writing, but I don’t think it will be a major issue. A story idea is brewing already, and it’s just about ready to break forth, spewing onto the keyboard!

Other issues not related to writing have been popping up. Some of it due to the illness and some due to all the time I put into writing in the first part of the year. Things I set aside in January and February are having to be dealt with now.

It will be good to get back to writing, but I have to admit to a strange uneasiness as well. Sort of an indistinct anxiety hovering around the idea of diving back into the writing. It’ll work itself out eventually.

For now, that’s about got it. I look forward to hearing from you, so feel free to drop me a line – not just if you’re interested in beta reading, but if you’d just like to chat. The best part of this writing thing is hearing from readers!

An Update – A Man With A Gun Finished And More

Hi folks! This is just a quick post to get you up to date on what I’ve been up to lately.

First and foremost, if you follow me over at Facebook, you probably have heard that A Man With A Gun is finished! The last words of the first draft were done during Sunday, February 8th’s writing session, although it was after midnight and technically Monday, the 9th by the time I finished. Begun as a short story back on July 12th of 2012 according to the title page in my manuscript, the story took on a life of its own. In the end, the short story became a novel of 87,500 words. By comparison, Frostwalker was around 81,000 when it was a first draft and the finished release version of Frostwalker is about 80,000 words after the cuts and additions made during revision and editing.

A Man With A Gun is a good illustration of the difficulties I had staying on task over the past couple of years. There are some good reasons for that and some not good ones, as I discussed in my New Years post last month. Despite taking two and a half years, according to my records there were only about 50 actual writing days involved in the creation of that book. Some of those days not spent on A Man With A Gun were spent on other projects. For example, The Card was begun in March of 2012 and, after editing and going through six revisions, it was released in January of the following year. But, far too many days were spent not writing at all. I won’t go over all of that again, as it’s covered pretty well in my post from earlier this year.

Speaking of that earlier post, how have I been doing with regards to my productivity? Well, up until finishing work on A Man With A Gun, I had gone every day this year without taking a single zero word count day. January 1st I only had 359 words and every day since then has been at least 1,000 word days. There have been several 2,000 word days, and the highest was 3,374 on February 5th. My goal is still to average 500 words per day, and up until I began my break on the 8th of this month my average was 1,656 per day. Total word count for the year is 64,589, passing the pitiful 48,000 words of last year on January 30th. Yes, I wrote more in the first month of this year than in all of 2014.

So what’s next? Facing burnout, I decided that when I finished A Man With A Gun, I would be taking two weeks off (possibly four). I don’t plan to do any writing during that time period. Instead, I plan to do other things that a writer needs to do. I still haven’t really finished the media kit for Frostwalker, so I need to do that. I also need to line up beta readers for A Man With A Gun. I’d like to get my mailing list sorted out and start making proper use of that, but I don’t have a lot to say that isn’t going to be posted here first, so I’m not sure if that’s a priority. Also, there is another project that I won’t be releasing myself but which I have worked on with someone else and that needs beta reads and revision as well. I’m also thinking about the next project(s). In fact, I woke up from a dream this morning that may end up being the inspiration for a new horror short!

Revision and editing on these two finished first drafts will take up a lot of time. Since those things can’t be measured in word count, I’m not sure how best to track productivity there. Just setting a goal for writing a certain number of words has turned out to be flawed. I want and need to get the next book out there to my readers, and now that the first draft is done, that needs to be a focus.

I do still think that shooting for an average of 500 words per day is a good target for the year. If I don’t write another word, my average output just from so far this year won’t drop below 500 per day until May 10th! At least, if my understanding of what my spreadsheet is telling me is correct. I should be eyeball-deep in the next project long before then! But, I still don’t know of a good way to measure productivity on those other tasks that don’t produce words. All I can do is try to make each day a day in which I did something to move things forward and hope for the best!

Next up: The long road to publication for A Man With A Gun. That means beta reads, revision, editing, revision, cover art, promotional materials, and all the rest! Stay tuned!

—————–

A quick reminder: The Card is still free and will likely remain that way. If you haven’t picked up your copy yet, go grab it!

“The Card” Is Now Free!

Just shy of two years ago, my short story The Card was released. The price point has been a steady 99 cents ever since. I’ve decided that now is a good time to transition this one over to free pricing. If you’ve been waiting for a good excuse to give it a read, now you have one!

The Card Cover Art

Free reading is always good!

A couple of things that bear mentioning: First, the pricing has just now gone into effect at Smashwords. I use Smashwords for all of my distribution except for Amazon. So, if you prefer Barnes & Noble, Kobo, Apple, or any of the others aside from Amazon or Smashwords, it may take a little while for the price change to take effect at those “downstream” retailers.

Second, the Amazon edition of The Card is released through their Kindle Direct Publishing platform. As such, it has a minimum price of 99 cents. I’m not able to set the price to free there. However, Amazon does have price matching! That’s why my other short, Out After Dark, is available for free from Amazon. Eventually, I believe they will do the same for The Card, but it may take some time.

Feel free to help them along by reporting the lower price to them. At the Amazon page for The Card, just above the Customer Reviews section and at the bottom of the Product Details section, there’s a link to report a lower price. You can just click on that, tell them the price comes from a website, and give them the link to the Smashwords edition:
https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/273583

Also, please do tell your friends! I’d love to share this story with as many folks as possible, and you can help make that happen!

Thanks, and enjoy!


UPDATE: Looks like the Kindle Edition on Amazon has been switched over to free as well! Nice! If you need that edition click here.

Wrapping Up 2014 – Lessons Learned And What Lies Ahead

Happy New Year, folks! I hope your 2014 was a good one – but let’s look forward to an even better year in 2015!

Last January, I made a blog post about my goals for 2014, and how I planned to achieve them. So, how did I fare? Well, the short answer is: not so great.

The upshot of last January’s post was that I hoped to average 500 words per day. This is just on fiction projects, no cheating by counting blog posts and such. A writer does a lot of things, but primarily we are producing a product. That’s what matters in the end. So, how much product did I generate? Good thing I tracked it all in a spreadsheet! Continue reading

The Boy From Buzby Beach – Last Day To Get It Free!

Fellow North Carolina author DW Davis knows his way around the beach – and a keyboard. Today is the last chance to get his latest book, The Boy From Buzby Beach for free! Davis writes young adult romance, but like all well-written YA, the stories work for everyone, not just the teen set.

The Boy From Buzby Beach

The Boy From Buzby Beach

Summer is when teenagers get to sleep late, spend lazy days on the beach, and hang out with their friends. But when your mom owns the only coffee shop on the island, summer means getting up before the sun and getting the job done. It also means meeting some interesting characters, including some cute girls. Just ask Jacques, The Boy from Buzby Beach.

This is your chance to check out what all the buzz is about and take one of his books for a spin. After checking out The Boy From Buzby Beach, be sure to dive into his River Dream series!


About DW Davis

DW Davis

DW Davis

My writing reflects my memories growing up along the North Carolina coast near Wrightsville and Carolina Beaches. I left that area when I graduated high school and traveled half-way around the world and back collecting memories and experiences which help shape my characters. Now back in eastern North Carolina, I enjoy bringing to life characters whose adventures take place in my favorite part of the world.

Good Guys – A Short Bit Of Fiction For Your Entertainment

Writers aren’t just supposed to write. They’re also supposed to put things out there for you to read. It’s been a while since I’ve done that, especially seeing how long it’s taking me to finish work on A Man With A Gun. So today, I thought I’d share a short piece (about 2,000 words) that I wrote a little over two years ago.

Good Guys started life as a writing exercise. I just sat down one day and tasked myself with creating a short scene, the focus of which would be to convey what it’s like at the height of summer here in rural North Carolina. As I wrote, it grew into a bit of a story, although a very short one. Ultimately, I ended up putting it through all the same refinements my other work goes through – it was sent to my beta readers, revised, sent to my editor, Pauline, and revised even more. So, despite its length, it is a “finished” piece.

Something worth noting is the mention of the cicadas. These critters make an endless chattering screech during summer and if you’ve never heard it before, you can’t really appreciate how pervasive it is. Have a listen:


I hope you enjoy this little jaunt, and I further hope you’ll share your thoughts in the comments as well as sharing this story with your friends. Without further ado… Continue reading

Win A Kindle Fire And 40 Books To Fill It With!

FreeKindleGiveaway.com is a cross-promotion effort where you get to enter to win great prizes. Right now, their current promo is your chance to win a Kindle Fire along with 40 Kindle e-books to put on it. Entering to win is easy and free – just use the Rafflecopter entry at the bottom of this post. But, before you do, let me tell you about a great book!

Continue reading

No Wild Oats, But I’m Sowing Something

Those of you who follow my Facebook page have probably noticed that I’ve not been posting a lot of writing updates lately. That’s because I’ve not been doing a lot of writing lately. Fear not, work continues on A Man With A Gun, but it’s been slow and the words aren’t flowing lately. The story needs more time to gestate in those lower chambers of my mind before it can be brought to the page. Yes, I am a writer – but I am also many other things. Among those other things, I’ve been getting my hands dirty.

It may be a genetic thing. My parents were farmers, before retiring in recent years. Their parents were farmers, too. Hogs, chickens, tobacco, assorted vegetables, and so on. I imagine those who came before my grandparents were largely farmers as well – it’s just what we do, I guess.

Then again, maybe it’s not just us. Maybe it’s something intrinsic to mankind. The days start to grow longer, and frost becomes less common. The sun shifts its path through the sky, cresting the horizon earlier, and from a point further north each day. The Earth starts to awaken, and something that had lain dormant within us through the cold winter months begins to stir.

Let me be clear about something up front: I have no desire to actually be a farmer. It’s not the sort of thing I can make a life out of, despite that call that I feel. Also, it looks suspiciously like work. Frankly, I’ve grown up farming and it’s not how I want to make my mark. I love the people who do it, but it’s just not for me.

But, I do feel that call. Also, I like fresh tomatoes. Usually, I have no luck. I get a late start, I lack the equipment I need, whatever. However, last year I was able to have a little bit of success. I built a raised bed, only 4 x 8 feet, and about 2 feet deep, and crammed it full of tomatoes and a few other things. Okay, a LOT of other things. It started out looking like this:

2013 Garden Bed Start

 

 

And ended up looking like this:

2013 Garden Bed End

It grew like a jungle! There were tomatoes everywhere, and the one huge plant sprawling on the corner (a German Queen) produced tomatoes nearly the size of my head and had vines spreading out over a 6 ft diameter area. It was insane – and very satisfying! Also, I discovered that if you have a jalapeno plant in your garden, your wife will put jalapenos in everything she cooks. But it was good, and we’re looking forward to more of the same this year.

This year, it’s not so crowded:

2014 Garden Bed Start

Just tomatoes and peppers in there this time, but several varieties. We’ve got Cherokee Purple, Cherry Tomatoes, Boxcar Willies, Jalapenos (both hot and sweet varieties) Aji Dulce, and one just for fun: Smokin’ Ed’s Carolina Reaper, the 2013 Guinness World Record holder for hottest pepper. This year there will be tomato cages as well. Tying them up to stakes was an exercise in futility last year, and it was way out of control. For those who are interested, all twelve of these plants were ordered through www.chileplants.com, and we’ve been quite happy with them so far. We’ll see how they fare in the hot North Carolina summer!

But, wait! There’s more! Since the raised bed is going to be tomatoes and peppers alone this year, there’s got to be somewhere to put the green beans, corn, potatoes, and other assorted odds and ends. This year, I made use of the tiller, and after this afternoon, I think the thing is going to kill me.

Yes, I cut my hair. Settle down. It will grow back!

Yes, I cut my hair. Settle down. It will grow back!

That little plot isn’t much, but it’s probably enough to get some stuff in the ground and maybe soothe that itch to grow things. Before this afternoon, that was grass and weeds. Now, after much sweat and some blisters on the hands, it’s a garden – or will be in a few days.

So, that’s what I’ve been doing instead of writing. Or, at least, some of what I’ve been doing. Do any of you out there feel that call? Does some primitive part of your brain pull you out into the sun, drive you to till the earth, and watch things grow at your direction? If so, do you answer that call?