I write like
Jack London

I Write Like. Analyze your writing!

Friday, August 18, 2017

Picking a Genre

Goddess, I feel old. I've only been doing this indie publishing a little over six years, and somehow I'm an old-timer. Lately, I've been seeing writers with no trad publishing experience and only a year or two of indie experience whining about how hard this business is and why aren't they making six figures a month.

When I take a look at their catalog though, I see one novel in romance, two in urban fantasy, three erotica shorts, and a young adult novel. All under different pseudonyms.

Can anyone in the audience name the problem? Anyone? Bueller?

*headdesk*

If someone reads your romance novel AND they like it, usually they want to read more of your romance. You aren't going to sell more of that same romance novel to that same reader.

Now, maybe that reader would have read your YA, too. But they can't find your YA because you put under another, totally unrelated name. So how are you going to sell a second book to your reader if they can't find you?

This is another example of lottery thinking. Jumping from genre to genre isn't going to win you readers because not everyone reads the same genre or the same sets of genres.

If you need to write in different genres, pick something related. For example, fantasy is a pretty broad genre. By June of 2018, I'll have 13 books in one series of UF, three books in a sword and sorcery series, four books in paranormal romance series, and three books in a superhero series. All these books are under the same name. There's quite a bit of crossover in readership.

On the other hand, I have fourteen books under the Alter Ego pseudonym under the broad genre brush of erotic romance ranging from hot paranormal romance to BDSM romance to ménage. Again, there's a lot of crossover among that readership.

Since there's not a lot of cross appeal between the two broad audiences, it doesn't make to have the same pseudonym.

Notice something else? Yeah, there's a lot of books for a reader to choose from.

I'm not out writing cozy mysteries, military sci-fi, or sweet romance. I'm sticking to a category and building it.

Now, granted I've slipped over the last few years in the production department, but I'm still averaging three figures a month in income. Why? BECAUSE I HAVE A LOT OF BOOKS.

Okay, maybe not as many as say Amanda M. Lee or Kris Rusch.

But the more books you have in the same genre, the more likely it is a reader will discover one of them  and check out the rest.

One thing I haven't done is genre-jump in an effort to hit the lottery. Also, I'm sticking to genres I love to read. Why? Because the last thing I want is to hit the jackpot on a genre I hate. I don't want to be stuck writing stuff I actively dislike. Life's too short, and frankly, I don't want to earn living at something I hate. Hell, I can go back to farming if I want to make myself miserable.

When someone asks, my advice is to write what you love. Write the types of books you want to read but can't find. I guarantee you there's someone else out there, just like you, wanting to read the same stuff you wish were on the bookshelves or your e-reader. You'll make everyone a lot happier, including yourself.

Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Hiding in Plain Writing

DH and I often laughed that [deity in which you believe] should have an instruction manual pop out of the uterus along with the baby. Of course, if Murphy is truly the one and only god, the manual would be written in Ancient Sanskrit.

We've managed to muddle through the first seventeen years, but this last year is looking to be a doozy. Why? Because we've brought him up to think for himself, to analyze situations, and to make the best decisions he can.

The events of this last weekend in Charlottesville, NC, forced DH and me to have a long, uncomfortable talk with our son. He asked smart questions, ones that not even sociology and cultural experts have the answers for. The legal questions about constitutional law I could answer. And my answers unfortunately made my son even less sure of his path going forward in life.

Today, GK starts his senior year of high school. I hate not giving him some semblance of stability on which to make his future choices. I talked about his great-great-great-grandfather who fought for the Union in the original Civil War. I told him the story of his great-great-uncle Ralph, who at 16 lied about his age to join the Army during WWII. But deep down, I know I can't make GH's decisions for him. I can't make this easier.

Normally, I self-soothe by reading, but I overslept this morning. With some (granted self-imposed) deadlines, I got to work.

Or tried to.

I was still mulling over last night's conversation. So, I went back a chapter in the current wip and started reading to catch the thread of the story again. And it hit me.

Maybe I was dealing with my emotions through my work. What had started as a simple fantasy adventure story in 2013 had turned into a world mired in a political morass. A world that ignored their external danger in favor of in-fighting. A world that wasn't just in danger of losing its moral compass, but of losing its very existence.

If thoughts can change a universe, then maybe my heroes' literary battles will change the tide of thinking in the external universe.

Nah, I'm not that conceited. But it will change my personal thought pattern, and hopefully, relay that positivity to my son.

Monday, August 14, 2017

Monday Movie Mania - Atomic Blonde

Even though Atomic Blonde didn't do well during its first couple of weeks in theaters, I believe it will become a sleeper hit once it's out on streaming and Blu-Ray a la Keanu Reeves' John Wick. The film did cement Charlize Theron's place as an action star, which was what she wanted when her production company picked up the rights to The Coldest City, the graphic novel on which the movie is based.

Atomic Blonde is a fun, popcorn thriller that harkens back to the off-the-wall action flicks of the '80's, in particular the Kevin Costner career-booster No Way Out.

Guess I should have said, "Spoilers!" before mentioning Kevin, huh?


* * *


SPOILERS


* * *


PROS
1) Charlize Theron was perfect as the world-weary MI6 agent, Lorraine Broughton. She faces betrayal on every side, especially from her own agency, and manipulates the betrayers in a ballet of deceit.

2) James McAvoy continues to amaze me every time I see him on screen. He has the charisma to make you like and hate him at the same time.

3) The realism of the action rocked. In a martial arts class, we had discussed hand-to-hand combat between men and women, and how to compensate for women's lesser upper body strength than men. Basically, women need to use any weapon they can and be brutal and dirty, or they're going to lose in a straight-up fight. The stunt people and actors used the very techniques we'd discussed to make Lorraine taking out the KGB agents believable.

4) When the film hit a point near the end, I thought all the cool shit was for naught and the film makers would go for the No Way Out ending. They surprised me a little by adding another plot twist in the last seconds of the story.

5) The soundtrack of my formative years!


CONS
1) Gratuitous lesbian love scene. Yeah, I know they would have done the same damn thing if Charlize's character was a man, and that's why it pissed me off. Hell, the same shit with Strawberry Fields infuriated me when I was watching Quantum of Solace. It's the fucking 21st century, people!Can't we have a spy do their job without getting some poor innocent schmuck killed?


Overall, Atomic Blonde was a fun "B" movie that I think would have done a little better at the box office during the off-season, instead of the height of the summer blockbuster period. I give a 7.5 out of 10 stars.

Saturday, August 12, 2017

Music I've Been Listening to Lately

I'm still on an '80's kick as I try to finish writing A Modicum of Truth this month. And Michael Jackson did epitomize that era!


Friday, August 11, 2017

Channeling Speedy Gonzales!

For those of us a certain age in the United State, Looney Tunes was a Saturday morning staple. Especially certain heroes such as Speedy Gonzales. Not only could he outrun his foes, he outsmarted them, too. When I was a kid, I wanted to run as fast as Speedy. Now that I'm a middle-aged writer, I wish I could type as fast as him.

Actually, I'm pretty much in the middle as far as writing speed goes. That's somewhere between a novel every ten years and three novels a month (yes, I do know someone that fast).

However, I need to go a little faster than usual since I made the mistake of promising that A Modicum of Truth would be out by my birthday, aka Halloween.

Oops!

As of last night, I have a little over 20K written on the second volume of the Justice series. I'll need to write 60K by the end of the month (or pretty damn close) to meet my original deadline. Is it doable? Yes. Have I done it before? No.

But I'm determined to get it done because I refuse to disappoint any more readers, including myself. So time to nibble a little cheese, and ARRIBA! ARRIBA!

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Reviews and the Jealousy They're Written On

Reviews have always been fraught with spilled ink and hurt feelings. It's bad enough when any Joe/Jane Public slams your work. In fact, I try to adhere to the rule not to read reviews of your work.

But when it's someone more famous, it's harder to avoid. There have been public feuds between writers through the ages. Gore Vidal and Norman Mailer. Ernest Hemmingway and F. Scott Fitzgerald. Stephen King and far too many authors to list here.

In fact, Christoph Paul wrote a guide on how to start a literary feud.

While Mr. Paul suggested ripping the other writer on a podcast, the trend among indies today seems to be deliberately attempting to start a feud by leaving a horrible review on a rival in the same genre. And personally, I believe it's done out of jealousy with the justification of the First Amendment and/or a piss-poor attempt to gain attention, aka any publicity is good publicity.

Which goes back to my original advice regarding reviews on your books--ignore them.

Feuds occasionally happen over innocent misunderstandings, but you’ll have a better success rate with willful misunderstandings. - Bill Ferris

Even if you cannot ignore your reviews, DO NOT ENGAGE! Seriously, that's exactly what some of these bad reviewers want.

Sometimes, for whatever reason, you cannot disengage from the bad reviewer (like family or good friends). Because of course, they're only trying to help you be the best writer ever!

That's when I smile and say, "Thank you for your feedback! Which paragraph/sentence prompted your insight?" And then pursue that help with specifics until the friend/family member runs in the opposite direction.

Worrying about and/or dealing with someone else's jealousy is a waste of your time and resources. Focus on your writing, and ignore the idiots.

And if all else fails, sue 'em.

Monday, August 7, 2017

Monday Movie Mania

Yes, it's summer which means it's time for one of my guilty pleasures, SyFy's  campy Sharknado series of made-for-TV movies. Believe or not, this year's release is the fifth flick in the franchise.

Yes, the Sharknado plots are so stupid they're fabulous. I give the producers, directors, and writers credit for finding new ways to destroy world landmarks. And especially, props to actors for having fun with the story.

To me, the biggest thrills are the pop culture references and the cameos. Sharknado 5 had Nichelle Nichols, Chris Kattan, Fabio, Dolph Lungren, Olivia Newton-John, Margaret Cho, Tony Hawk, Charo, Bret Michaels, and as always, the cast of the Today show.

Once again, the movie ends on a cliffhanger, but one that will have you grinning as Lundgren does his best Doc Brown impersonation.

If you didn't see it last night and you love campy, crazy fun, you can pick it up on Amazon or On Demand.

Saturday, August 5, 2017

A Handy Reminder

This video seems like a good reminder of grammar rules while I edit novels over the month.


Friday, August 4, 2017

Makin' Hay While the Sun Shines

There's an alfalfa field to our apartment complex (one of the joys of small town/rural living). We aren't supposed to have any appreciable rain until today, so the farmer cut the alfalfa Tuesday, raked it on Wednesday, and baled it yesterday. You can't bale wet alfalfa. It will literally rot from the inside out, leaving you with nothing to feed the cows come winter. So the farmer has to go by the universe's schedule, not his/hers.

*sigh* There's nothing like the smell of dried alfalfa.

Why the hell am I bringing this up? Well, like the person farming the next-door field, I needed to go by the universe's schedule lately, which is the reason for no blogging the last two weeks.

We had some family things, like Genius Kid's birthday and a planned road trip to see the sister-in-law who's a professor in Indiana, and we took FIL with us. We're still dealing with a few emotional things from the aftermath of MIL's passing in June, which is why we have a big family dinner with everyone on Wednesday nights for FIL's sake.

Then there were work things. Like the page proofs for Sword and Sorceress 32 arriving. Finishing the paperback proofs of the Bloodlines series. Getting some new writing done. Realizing I'd planned to have A Modicum of Truth finished in September so it would be out before Sword and Sorceress 32. And I haven't even started editing Ravaged.

Rather than get scared and throw up my hands in despair, I realized this was do-able if I buckled down and worked. Which meant something needed to be put on the backburner.

And the blog got elected.

So if WWW goes dark for no apparent reason over the next five months, I'm hip deep in words, chocolate, and tea. But trust me, it's all good.

P.S. Sword and Sorceress 32 will be released November 2, 2017!

Saturday, July 29, 2017