Misadventures in writing a second novel

Oh, wow. How far is it into January again? I’m pretty sure the year just started yesterday.

Unless I’m actually a time-traveler who doesn’t realize he’s a time-traveler…

It goes without saying that I’m a little dazed and confused. I’d like to shift the blame to being a time-traveler, but I think this gloomy, post-Christmas gray-and-frozen weather is to blame for my inability to remember what day it is. What I do know, however, is in this haze of work and naps and new things brought along with the changing over to a new year (or a New Year) has also got me working on something new and exciting, and that’s lead to an interesting couple of revelations.

The something new is a new novel-project-mess, which I may have mentioned. It’s another new novel. I lose track because I start too many projects only to let them wander around My Documents, alone and bored until I remember they exist. All of this is especially worth talking about now because it was around this time last year that I went absolutely crazy in terms of cranking out new pages of material for Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King, a title I have grown to regret as it might as well read Joshua Harkin and the Paragraph-Long Title.

Progress is a bit more slow than with Joshua’s Nightmares (I’m aiming for brevity here, people), taking into consideration I have a different job than I had this time last year, complete with different hours, responsibilities, and so on. I am also, I’ve found, more prone to taking naps. That’s something I still need to work on.

What I’m also noticing, however, is that this novel has already taken on enough of a life of its own that it’s impossible to really compare it to its predecessor in any real, meaningful way. Joshua’s Nightmares was general fiction in the broadest sense. It features elements of sci-fi, fantasy, humor, horror, and so on. Current Novel Without a Name (the file name, which doesn’t really betray much in terms of plot, is currently The Princess, The Lich, and Some Murders) is more restricted in that it’s a blend of humor and fantasy, skipping out on sci-fi (read as “this will be lacking in epic battles between space pirates”).

The plot itself is taking more time to unfold, as I don’t want to rush getting the major players where they need to be. Events need to unfold over the right amount of time, and getting that figured out is taking up…well, more time.

Fortunately, I can say I’m starting the year off with plenty of writing instead of plenty of slacking, as even on my worst days I’m still adding to this project’s word count.

Of course, there’s always Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King to keep busy with until this book is finished (and eventually published, I hope). Definitely just a little proud of having a four-point-three star rating for my first novel. Please check it out and, if you’re feeling extra generous, write a review once you’re done. I’ll be donating 50% of the money I earn from book sales to the American Cancer Society via Relay for Life.

Wherever you are, whatever you’re creating, and no matter how many days you forgot just what point in the week it is, I hope you’re all having a good start to this new year so far.

Today’s big book-related news

Better known as the post I have deliberately been shuffling my feet towards writing because I wanted to make a few key people wait. Probably not the nicest thing I’ve ever done. Moving on.

For anyone who missed it, Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King is now available for purchase on Amazon. That’s a tidbit of information that still makes me want to weep in a mix of joy and terror; joy because ohcrapohcrap I’m a published author (though that point was made true earlier this year, but not in terms of being a published author who has a book available), and terror because I’m already stockpiling comfort food for my first one-star review. Ben & Jerry will be my two closest friends, and I will run the risk of becoming the hippopotamus requested for Christmas in what I still consider to be one of the worst holiday jingles ever written.

Winning this publishing contract has been a great thing for me. It’s a step towards my dream of being able to say I’m a writer for a living, or at least for part of my living, and I’m still sort of in that weird state of disbelief. Continue reading

Once upon a time, I got a book published

Well, more specifically I should say that once upon a time I won a book publishing contract that resulted in getting a book published. As a quick, highly-related aside: my backspace key seems to be sticking, so correcting errors is a real treat. Already prepared to say screw it and have typos from here on out. We all know that isn’t going to happen.

Right.

“But Phil,” you might say, “why are you saying published in the past tense?”

What an excellent question, convenient question-asking post-device persona. That’s because, and I’m both very excited and slightly anxious (for no good, real reason) to announce, my first novel, Joshua Harkin and the Wicked Nightmare King, is now available for purchase here.

Needless to say, this is really crazy exciting stuff for me, even if I haven’t fully processed it because I’m still partially lost to my Thanksgiving feasting-induced food coma.

Check it out and please consider picking up a copy (or two or ten; it would definitely be a great non-denominational holiday gift). There will be a Kindle version available down the road, and I’ll be more than happy to link to that as well.

Attention span versus modern epic storytelling

I am one of millions of people who can say I read the entire Lord of the Rings trilogy (plus The Hobbit; no Silmarillion for me, however) from start to finish. It took over a year, what with school and life-related distractions obligations. This isn’t something I say with pride, pushing my glasses up as part of the standard act of nerdy superiority that accompanies such statements. They were some really magical books, and the way Tolkien built such a rich and elaborate world populated with many interesting characters has stayed with me since. Yes, I did see the movies. Yes, I loved them, but I’m also one of those people who really questions the need for The Hobbit to have been split into a multi-film event. That’s a topic for another time, however, when I’m more drunk and willing to draw great and terrible ire from fans. Continue reading

An off-day day off

Today was a monster, and so I’m recovering by doing some cleaning (yes, recovering by doing some cleaning; that’s a bit sad). I know I should do some creative writing, but my brain is a stagnant pool of disappointment. There is some good news, however, in the form of having a super-huge, super-secret project…that I can’t talk about because it’s a secret. It is, however, related to tomorrow’s planned post about making gifts out of creative stuff (writing, drawings, whatever). Serious business. Tonight, however, can be a small failure, no thanks to my mood and my laptop being an uncooperative assclown. Alternatively, I budgeted for days like this in my Hundred Days of Blogging madness.

Instead of enjoying my writing (hey, I can hope), here’s some music that helps me along as I write (and through life in general). Naturally, I claim no ownership of any of this music. It just helps keep me sane on days like today (when the internet apparently only works on devices I DON’T NEED THE INTERNET TO WORK ON; I’m looking at you, Wheatley, you lazy piece of circuitry). Anyway, onto the good stuff.

Coldplay – Viva la Vida

St. Vincent – Psychopath

Metric – Speed the Collapse

MSMR – Fantasy

(This one’s a bit trippy, but I love the song all the same.)

Delerium – Stargazing

 

Ding! Character’s done.

I’d like to say, dear readers, I wish you were all here so I could share some of this delicious hot apple cider I’ve mixed with Maker’s Mark, but I’m also a terribly selfish person and I don’t think Jason would approve of me having a ton of strangers in his house for no reason other than sharing my booze. I’m making today’s post right at the start of today, as it’s a most auspicious occasion. I get to meet Jason’s new girlfriend, which means it’s my duty as Jason’s best friend (or at least as one of the people who holds such status) to pass righteous, evil judgment on her!

My nefarious ways aren’t the focus of today’s post, however. Continue reading

Post-travel, pre-travel lull

I’m back in Carnegie after having a fantastic weekend at Intervention, and I’ve got enough down-time to prepare myself for the trip to Chicago. Sort of. I’m still screaming like Hell on the inside, as I’ve never driven that far before. Ever.

I consider it a great adventure, but I also know it’s probably going to be pretty taxing. What I do know is I have an abundance of hope for my time in Chicago in terms of how much creative stuff I’ll get accomplished. We’ll see how much I accomplish versus how much more self-loathing I’ve banked by the end of the week. Continue reading