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!

 

 

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

Get My Short Story “The Card” Free – But Act Fast!

So, here’s the thing: I know what it’s like to shop for books. I also know what it’s like to have a very limited budget for entertainment. This is why I understand the difficulty people have with taking a chance on an author they don’t know. For most of the Earth’s population, I am one of those authors you just don’t know.

Because of this, I think it’s very important that relatively unknown authors such as myself get their work in front of readers. Until you know me, and know that my work is worth your limited entertainment dollars, I can’t reasonably ask you to risk your cash on my work. It’s going to take some give and take – and I have to give before I take anything.

That’s part of the reason why my short story Out After Dark is free. Another reason is that it’s rather short, and I don’t really think it’s long enough to charge for. Granted, publishing it through Amazon means that I can’t set the price to free – but Amazon does price matching. That story being free at Smashwords and all the other places that Smashwords distributes to (iTunes, Sony, Kobo, B&N, etc.) means that Amazon makes the price on Out After Dark free – at least, on the US Amazon site. Not entirely sure where they’re setting the price elsewhere.

The CardHowever, that’s just one story, and it is rather short. The Card is a longer piece, and it’s not in the overdone vampire genre (even if I think Out After Dark is a new twist). The Card is a very original piece. I do think The Card warrants a price, and 99 cents is pretty much the lowest you can go.

Now, in an effort to get my work out there, and give readers a chance to get to know me, and a chance to enjoy my work, I’m posting this coupon code to get The Card for FREE. However, this coupon code is only good for the next day or two. It expires February 14th, but I’m not sure if that is midnight (California time) the morning of the 14th, or if it will be good until the end of that day. Smashwords wasn’t entirely clear on that when I generated the coupon code. Bottom line: get it fast while you can! Here’s the code:

TQ57Q

To use this code, go to Smashwords and add The Card to your shopping cart. Input the code in the space provided, then check out! You may need to create a Smashwords account, if you don’t already have one. It’s free and easy to get a Smashwords account, so don’t let that hold you back. Using this code, The Card will be yours, and on your account, for as long as you want it. No strings attached!

After you’ve read The Card, if you liked it (or even if you didn’t), I hope you’ll leave a review at Smashwords. If you’re so inclined, you can review it at Amazon and Goodreads as well.

If you like my work, I hope you’ll try my full-length novel, Frostwalker. Again, I don’t feel like you need to spend your money without knowing you’ll like what you’re getting. You can read the first 33% (one third) of the book for FREE at Smashwords. I hope you’ll check it out!

Lastly, please share this with your friends! I really want to reach as many of you as possible. Someday, I wouldn’t mind writing full time, paying my bills doing what I love. But even if I reach that goal, I hope I never lose sight of what is important: This isn’t about making money. It’s about telling great stories and entertaining readers!

Thanks, and enjoy!