Working On The Latest Book – #AmWriting

I’ve made a start on turning my story notes for the as-yet-untitled SF novel(s) into a timeline. The reason for the (s) in novel(s) is that it looks like each of the four stories is going to end up being novel length, so they’ll probably get published as four separate books. But it’s early days yet; I’ll see how that works out.

And I really must try to think up a good working title.

Seventeen scenes done so far. That might not sound like much but there’s quite a lot of braining that goes into it; it can be pretty tough going. I’m taking a break from it for a while; going to watch a bit of Penny Dreadful.

More Books Are Good For Your Brain

In the previous post I promoted my own books a bit. And since I mentioned it, here they are again:

And I promised in that post that I’d promote a handful of other authors. No big names here; you guys don’t need my help to get your books out there. The intention here is to try to give a leg up to a few people with some excellent books that you might not know about.

So let’s start off with Craig Hallam, a fellow Brit. I read Greaveburn a while back and it’s one of those books I can’t help but pick up and read again every so often. (I think I’ve read it four times now.) He also has the Alan Shaw stories, and more. Check his work out here:

Now I must mention the great authors at my own publisher. While I don’t claim to have read everyone I have read Aly Grauer, Ben Ireland, Russell Smith, and several others. Don’t miss out on some outstanding stories:

That’s all I have time for today; I’m eager to get on with timelining my own next book. So until next time . . .

Books Are Good For Your Brain

Something I’ve been told I don’t do often enough (tooting your own horn feels wrong, somehow): promoting my books. You can find all the links here:

That’s it for now (the day-job is keeping me too busy to do more at the moment). In a future post (soon . . . very soon) the plan is to promote some books by other lesser-known authors. Watch this space.


I was at my local pharmacy earlier today, picking up a prescription, and as I was leaving I saw a big grey-haired guy. He looked about seventy-ish. He was wearing a military baseball cap—US Navy, I think, but I was a bit too far away to be sure—and everything about him said Veteran with a capital V. Looking at him, I’m thinking that this guy’s probably not quite old enough to have served in WWII. But I’m going to guess that there’s a good chance he had parents and possibly grandparents who fought nazis in that war.

And then he climbed into a big Chevy truck and I couldn’t help but notice a blue and white TRUMP sticker in the back window.

After everything that’s happened over the last few days, here’s someone who continues to support Trump after it’s plain to anyone keeping up with the news that he’s on the side of the nazis behind what happened in Charlottesville, and in fact nazis everywhere.

Just to be clear, since I haven’t heard a lot of people reminding us why we say nazis are evil: Those nazis in WWII were the ones that said straight white people like us are the best people and that gives us the right to murder the jews, and the gays, and blacks, and the disabled, and the mentally ill, and anyone else we think is inferior, which is basically everyone that isn’t us. And these nazis today—you can call them White Nationalists or Alt-Right if you like, but they’re still nazis—are just the same old shit in a dapper new wrapper. Same agenda. Same evil.

So here’s a guy who looks for all the world like a veteran, who should know better than most just how evil nazis are. Yet he’s supporting Trump, the nazi sympathiser. The nazi enabler. The nazi stooge who won’t say a word to condemn nazis because nazis got him into the White House and he doesn’t dare piss them off.

And in continuing to support Trump, this veteran guy is betraying the people who fought and in many cases died in WWII to stop the same damned nazis.

So I say to you: If you’re still supporting Trump after what’s been going on, then that makes you a nazi sympathizer too. If you can do that, knowing what the nazis were then and still are today, you should be ashamed of yourself.

#AmWriting . . . or am I?

THE thing with the Twitter hashtags is that they can often be a bit misleading. At this moment I’m working on the Untitled Sci Fi Novel project, but at the moment I’m not actually writing anything.

This project is four stories back to back, with the same central  character, set in the same universe. Each story is self-contained, but there’s a separate story arc that runs across all four. I’m using my own process (as described in Finish Your Book) and in a particular way; I’m developing all four stories in parallel, rather than doing the first down to scene level before I move on to the second, and so on. Right now I have the top-level structure for the first three stories pretty much done, and I’m getting the fourth one down; it’s coming along well, and I should have that finished in a couple more days.

In other words, I’m world-building, and I’m developing the story, and I’m developing the characters. But I’m not writing anything other than my notes.

And that leads to something that is probably extremely trivial but bugs me nonetheless. You see, Twitter has hashtags like #AmWriting, and #AmEditing. But I don’t see #AmWorldBuilding, or #AmDevelopingCharacters, or #AmThinkingAboutAStoryIdea.

So I gave up on those hashtags. I don’t use anything but #AmWriting. If I’m in the car, thinking about a story idea while doing 75 down I-25, then I’m writing. I’m writing if I’m making notes about a character, or working on scenes, or building the timeline. Basically, if I’m doing anything at all that’s moving a story from the first seed of an idea to actual ink (or e-ink) that someone can read, then I’m writing.

And on that note, I have to run out to the store. But you can bet I’ll be “writing” at the same time.

Until next time . . .

p.s. A few words about the events at UVA:

  • They’re not “alt-right”. The term alt-right was invented by a nazi to describe nazis without calling them nazis. These c*nts are giving nazi salutes and carrying swastika flags. They’re nazis. Call them nazis.
  • So far about 99% of the tweets I’ve seen are condemning what’s been going on. That’s an encouraging sign that most people are against these bigoted, spoiled, white trash. I take some comfort in that.
  • Meanwhile, as of about sixty seconds ago, Comrade Trump hasn’t tweeted a damn thing about it. Fifteen hours without a tweet has to be some kind of record for him. I’m wondering what mealy-mouthed bullshit he’s going to spout when he does bother to say something.

Contingency Plan

I have this book written; it’s a full-length SF/Steampunk story, around 90,000 words long. At the moment it has a working title of Smoke & Mirrors, but I can’t really use that (Neil Gaiman has a short story collection out with that name). I do have a better title but I’m keeping it under my hat for now. I might not be able to use that one, either—it turns out that it’s very similar to the name of another short story collection, this one from the 1970s. No matter; if I find a publisher they can make that call.

But that’s a big If. Right now I have the typescript out with some agents, and the indications are that all I’m going to see is rejection letters. It’s par for the course, really; only a small fraction of books get picked up by agents because they have to be picky about what they take on. After all, they have to bear costs until the book hits shelves and starts making cash, and even then their slice isn’t going to pay the rent if the book doesn’t sell. Fifteen percent of zero doesn’t go very far.

My problem here is that it could easily be December or even later before all the agents get back to me (and I don’t expect them all to reply, either—some agents only seem to reply to the few percent of queries that they want to pursue, leaving the rest to hang; one that I’ve queried this time round has a response rate of 4.4%, so I really don’t expect to hear a peep from that direction).

So here’s the quandary: If all the responses are going to be rejections, then I’m wondering: why should I wait for the bad news before moving? Why not just self-pub the book anyway? Then, in the event that one of the agents does actually show an interest, I can always un-publish.

Of course, there’s a danger that an agent might be interested, at which point I then have to tell them that I already self-pubbed—but hey, don’t worry, I can un-publish in thirty seconds with a couple of mouse clicks. But the fact that the book’s already out there and maybe sold a few copies might be enough for the agent to get cold feet. I don’t know what agents do in that situation, to be honest. I don’t know any agents to ask.

What to do, what to do . . .

So here’s the contingency plan: I’m going to start merging the chapter files into a single master document, ready for self-publishing. I’m also going to see about how much it’d cost to have a professional editor look at it, and get some idea of how much a cover artist might charge for an eye-catching cover. That’ll take a couple of weeks, at least, during which time it’s always possible I’ll get a good word from an agent. If not, then I can make the decision on whether to go forward the self-pub way, or continue to wait.

The plan is planned. Tomorrow, I’ll begin merging files, and researching editors and artists. I’ll post progress here. Watch this space.