Friday, April 29, 2011

Pantser Plotting Techiques

This week the Wicked Writer team is discussing plot techniques. My hope is that by the end of this week, by the time we get to my little contribution to the debate, that you will have had some good instruction, dialogue, etc., because it is doubtful that you’ll be getting any from me.

You see, I have written two novels. Currently, the second installation of my crossover horror/Christian vampire series is somewhere within the bowels of the Vamplit Publishing building, awaiting its day in the sun, so it’s either one book or two, depending upon your point of view.

In any case, I practically wrote them from the seat of my pants, and I am not altogether sure that I know how to write any other way. If you have not yet heard this from me, then allow me to take a moment to explain.

The way this works is that once I have an idea for my next project, I begin a process where my mind begins to form scenarios which I either allow to continue or I mentally dispose of in my head. In the initial phase of this, I just keep playing with the ideas until I have enough and I feel that the project can continue.

It is at this point that I begin to type out an outline. I do this only to assist the process until there begin to be so many ideas pouring forth that I can foresee the the body. Once I begin writing what I believe to be the beginning, my mind simply begins to play the scenes inside my head. Each day, I write until there is nothing left. Then I go away from the computer, allowing the scenes, dialogue, etc., to have their way with me inside my mind, whether I am in the shower, driving to work, preparing to fall asleep or dreaming. By the next day, the next bit of writing has been loaded and ready to be recorded.

Not very helpful, is it?

What do you think of this type of seat of your pants kind of writing? Is there anyone else out there who writes this same way? Should we begin a support group? God forbid I lose the gift. Whose advice would I seek out? Certainly not my own.

On the other hand, as the photo above can attest, a lot can happen in dreams... 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Plotting Plots

Thanks to the A to Z Blogging Challenge, I find my topics repeating themselves. So, I hope you guys don't mind me recycling posts today. See, I just blogged about this topic on my personal blog, not realizing the same topic was on Wicked Writers. No harm done, though. Saves me time. :)


* * * *

There is a formula for correct plot structure. It looks something like this:

  • Introduce characters.
  • Introduce story goal or theme.
  • Characters create a short-term goal as a means to accomplish the story goal.
  • The short-term goal is thwarted. Characters react to this then create a new short-term goal.
  • The new goal is also thwarted.
  • This repeats over and over until the climax is reached (by making the failure worse each time until the tension reaches a breaking point).
  • The characters try one more time. This time they beat the opposition.
  • The story goal and subplots are tied up. The End.

Relativity simple, right? It's a great way to outline a story. The trouble comes when it's obvious that you used a formula. And there are several authors out there who's writing is formulaic. I won't name them, but you can usually tell who they are because they come out with several books a year and they all sound alike. But, this is a great tool for beginners who may need a little guidance or practice in building a strong plot arch.

As for Scene Structure, remember this sequence: "Action, Emotion, Reaction, Decision."

Seriously, memorize it. I have it written down on a sticky-note and posted on my desk. Allow me to explain.

Action: Always start a scene with action. Remember the saying "actions speak louder than words"? It's true for your characters as well. Act first, explain later. Action is what moves your characters forward. Plot is what movies your characters forward. So, action equals plot.

Emotion: Your characters have to have some sort of feelings about the action that just happened. This is usually their first reaction and it's usually the wrong one. That doesn't mean it's wrong for the character or for the book. What I mean is that this is usually a negative emotion, such as anger, sadness, etc. that will make your character do something dumb out of spite. This is good. This is deep point of view and makes your characters real.

Reaction: This is when your characters start to think more clearly and re-asses what happened. They're more level-headed here.

Decision: Your characters make a decision about what to do next, which leads into the action beginning the next scene. The cycle starts over.

This lesson is a quick summary of a long version from the book "First Draft in 30 Days" by Karen S. Wiesner and is hands-down the most valuable book in my personal library.

Friday, April 22, 2011

The First Piece of Memorable Fiction I Wrote!

No! Not War of the Worlds! Permit me to explain!
Technically the very first story I wrote happened to be science fiction.  I was eight years old. I remember the story depicted an invasion of earth by Martians. Apparently Mars had no more children and the Martians came to spirit earth's kiddies away.

My teacher sent for the Principal to come up. I didn't know what was going on, but I remember reading my story out loud to her.

After that I wrote another sci fi story about a large globe in a library. A child somehow manages to open the globe and finds that the inside is actually outer space. She is pulled inside and finds herself flying amongst the stars and planets! And no, she's not frightened. It's pleasurable.

I think there were good reasons for me penning these stories so early on. Both of my parents were sci fi fanatics. I can remember being taken to see every sci fi film that came out.

"Now this is a great film, Carole."

War of the Worlds, The Thing from Another World, Them, The Shrinking Man--yup I saw all of them.
So was it any wonder I wrote those sci fi stories? I don't think so.

Horror though would stay with me, although I still write some sci fi. I got into Edgar Allan Poe and began writing the most morbid poetry by age 12. It was heavy and dire, laden with the most morose thoughts and imagery.

My parents were worried. They went to talk to my teacher. My mother told me many years later. "We did go up to discuss it with her. We were concerned!"

Poor things. My teacher, Mrs. Leshne assured them it was a good thing for it to come out.
"Encourage her don't discourage her."

And so they did. If it wasn't for their huge imagination and their great fondness for incredible films and a good library at home I don't for a minute think I'd have begun writing when I did. I'm not even certain if I'd be writing now!

That's the most important point I'd like to say with regard to this post. Those of us that write are influenced and inspired by so much.  I think every writer has been inspired in their youth, though the actual writing might not have begun until much later.

I would say the Martian story of mine was the most memorable piece of fiction I ever wrote because it was the very first story I ever wrote. And as such it deserves to be acknowledged.

It was the day I took my first steps down the writing road and although life got in the way later on, I found my way back many years later and am I glad I did!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Time to Kill

Wow! A free topic this week. In what way can I bedevil C.J. this time?

Okay. She’s on vacation with the family, so I’ll let her slide.

Instead, I’ll try to be serious for a change. I think I will talk about taking my game up a notch.

Recently, I moved again.

Stone Mountain in Georgia (that's my house on top)
Initially, I came to Stone Mountain, Georgia from Fort Worth, Texas in December of 2008, looking for a fresh start. During that particular move, I was extremely worried about a lot of things – finding employment, looking for new friends, getting adjusted to a new area after 16 years in Fort Worth and, finally, if I would be able to continue my writing (not knowing if I’d be able to set up my computer to type).

28 months later and I can call the Atlanta experiment a general failure. Even though I did get to do a lot of background work in movies like Lottery Ticket, Life As We Know It and Detroit 1-8-7, the only steady employment I found was a temporary position with the U.S. Census Bureau (ironically, that job actually prevented me from getting a bunch of screen time as a bad guy who takes on Vin Diesel and Tyrese Gibson in the upcoming Fast Five).

Now, I am in South Carolina with more relatives, but with a definite time limit. Should nothing pan out here, I will continue north to my father’s house in Boston or maybe I’ll stop over with relatives in Baltimore.

Brice Stadium, U. of South Carolina
Again, now that I am in South Carolina, I have the same issues as in Stone Mountain. Which all leads me to the vital question – where does my writing fit into this new situation?

What I mean is what is my ultimate goal for writing and what must I do to get to the next level?

This task is difficult enough for those who have a permanent residence. But, what about those without one? As the economy continues to stumble and finding employment gets more frustrating, where does writing fall into this?

I will admit that writing, for me, is a great stress reliever. However, it is also creating pressure all around to curtail the fiction and concentrate solely on job searching. As you’ve read with C.J., sometimes it seems like there aren’t enough hours in a day to write, edit, design, etc. and, of course, the primary portion of my time must be devoted to job searching.

That old chestnut of devoting an hour a day to writing is, I think, all well and good for the layman. But, add in research time and an hour doesn’t quite cut it. Even more time is necessary to prepare writing to be sent out to potential publishers. And, again, as C.J. can attest, one must find time to do all that is needed to actually get a book to the bookshelves.

Am I reaching a point where I really need to be getting published and not just in e-zines? Is it wise to hold off on trying to get to that next level until my situation is more solid?

Should I be using this free time to throw myself deep into writing while I have the chance (if and when I get a full-time job, I might not have the time to devote to my craft)?

A lot to think about, eh?

What do you guys say?

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where and Where Not to Write

This week at Wicked Writers, our prompt was to explain what we considered to be the best places to write, as well as to describe some of the worst.

If one is fortunate, they have a private office somewhere. Perhaps it is removed from the house like a room out back. I always thought that I would love to have an office on a second floor with a marvelous view. I found this photo from one of my favorite films, Love Actually. That view isn't too bad, although I can't remember her name. Sorry, I couldn't resist.

If writing is one’s only job, perhaps a trip to the summer home or a winter retreat, all for the express purpose of getting away in order to remove distraction. Musicians do this all the time, but the successful ones can afford to do that, can’t they? They fly out to the Bahamas for 6 weeks and write and record a new album. Deep Purple famously went to Montreux to record an album and ended up coming up with perhaps the most famous song ever, due to a hotel fire, Smoke on the Water.

Speaking for myself now, I am in no position to go anywhere to write. I do have a laptop, however, so I can theoretically travel from one room to the next in my house as dictated by whatever house noise there might be. I can also take it outside and write while seated on the patio, where only the noise of the Finches will distract as they devour the food that we put out for them.

An issue that I have currently is I find it uncomfortable to write creatively on the laptop. I usually do not write anything but articles and posts on that thing. Both novels that I have written were done on the family PC with its traditional keyboard. I just feel more comfortable with that, so we’ll see. Hopefully it will simply be a matter of getting myself used to writing long works with my laptop. Otherwise, I will be having to share the family PC and that will be good for no one.

As those who have gotten to know me quite well can recall, I am firmly on record as having said that I need music around me at all times. This, however, is the one exception. Music is far too distracting, as some have commented this week. Therefore, the only time I need to resort to music is if the entire family is home and I need to drown them out a bit.

Both of my sons play instruments. I want them to get some practice time in, but when the oldest is playing his Baritone or the youngest his Sax, even if they are doing so down the hall in either their bedrooms or my master bedroom, it can be pretty loud. When my youngest isn’t on his instrument, he’s typically firmly plugged into his Xbox 360 in the first bedroom just off the living room, blowing bed guys or zombies to bits, yelling instructions into his wireless microphone to his buddies who are playing as well. My oldest is in Honor Choir as well as Honor Band, so he’s usually singing wherever he goes. All of these things, not to mention my wife potentially sitting before the television, force me to don the headphones and crank the Classical music.

If one is going to sit down to write with music, to me, Classical is the only way to go. Not only will it drown out whatever background noise you need removed from your creative mind, but it is fantastic at providing inspiration, too. Whether the scene that you are writing is sad, dramatic, horror-inducing, romantic, or action-packed, there’s plenty out there to choose from. I’m a power guy, so I’m usually listening to Holst’s The Planets or something similar.

Well, what do you Wicked Writers and Readers think? Where do we agree? Disagree? Do you have any suggestions for me or others? As always we’d love to hear them.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Anything, Anytime, Anywhere

This week's topic asks us what our best and worst places to write are. For me, I don't have a best or a worst. I can write anywhere.

I enjoy writing on the couch on our backporch while my son runs free in the back yard.

I love writing late hours at night hunched over my keyboard while everyone sleeps.

It's great to write in the living room with a great movie on the tele.

I love writing while I relax in a hot bubble bath.

It's fun to write in a crowded coffee shop or in a park where I can people watch at the same time.

Loud, quiet, crowded, empty, outside, inside, computer or pen and paper - doesn't matter to me. I might pick a particular place depending on my mood or the scene I'm trying to write, but that's on a rare occasion when I'm really struggling with something. Otherwise, I just sit down and let the words flow from my fingers!

This post is a little short for me. I'm normally so long winded it seems, but I am itching to finish this scene in my current WIP Cleanse Fire. Then it's off to the crit partners, then ready for submissions!

What about you guys? Any places you like to write more than others? How about reading? I love reading curled up with a blanket on the couch, but I enjoy reading outside too.

Monday, April 11, 2011

The Cave: Where I Get My Writing Done

Hello readers and fellow Wicked Writers.

I apologize for my absences, I've been enjoying the A to Z Challenge over on my personal writing blog as well as feeling the joys of editing for a piece that is actually going to be published. :-)

Anyway, I'm back in the Wicked saddle with this week's topic: Best and worst places to write.

Well, I can only speak for myself on this one. I know every writer has there own personal zen spot that might drive the rest of us batty. For example, I know authors who swear up and down that music helps them write. While the right song can put me in my character's head or get me in the mood to work on my book, I cannot, under any circumstances, listen to music while I am physically writing or editing. It's just too distracting. I start singing along, then next thing you know, I'm dancing around the room in my underwear. So, no ... no music. Music bad. *Nods*

So, on that note, the best place for me to write is in my room ... which is were my computer is. Yes I have a TV in my room, but I can turn it off and KEEP it off. I can close the door and block everything else that might be going on in the house. My mom lovingly calls it "The Cave".

"I got a lot of editing to do today, Mom, so I'll be in The Cave."


The only thing in my room that sometimes distracts me are my dogs who bark when they need to be let outside. Oh, of course there is the internet that is always a tempting distraction, but I can resist when I really need to buckle down and crunch.

I've never tried writing at a cafe before, either by myself or with a group. Many a author have sworn to me that writing at a cafe is bliss. While I LOVE coffee, I just cannot picture myself writing at a cafe. I imagine it would be like when I was a teenager and hand a "study" group at the library or at a friend's house -- yeah, it was fun, but never really got an studying done!

But I would like to try it sometime, just to mix things up a bit. I don't think it would be then worst place to write.

For me the worst place (or time) to write has always been while watching television. My brain turns off while I watch T.V. It's an automatic reaction or something.

I'm sure there are worse places to write though. Like out side in the rain ... your paper would get soggy and the ink would run. That would be a bad predicament.

Readers, where's your best and worst places for writing?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Sources of Inspiration!

The topic this week for me was: what books or magazines do you turn to for inspiration and or writing help?

I'd say I turn to books for inspiration. When I started to write my novel, The House on Blackstone Moor I re-read all the Daphne DuMaurier  books I loved. The House on the Strand, My Cousin Rachel, Rebecca, Frenchmen's Creek and Jamaicia Inn.

YESSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!! I said to myself as I read that sweeping, beautiful and haunting narrative.

'Last night I dreamed I went to Manderley again...'  (Rebecca)
'They used to hang men at Four Turnings in the old days...' (My Cousin Rachel)
'The first thing I noticed was the clarity of the air and the sharp green color of the land...' (The House on the Strand)
'When the east wind blows up Helford River the shining waters become troubled and disturbed and the little waves beat angrily on the sandy shores.' (Frenchmen's Creek)
It was a cold, grey day in late November (Jamaica Inn)


Emily Bronte's Wuthering Heights:
1801: I have just returned from a visit to my landlord. The solitary neighbor I shall be troubled with.'

Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre
'There was no possibility of taking a walk that day.'

Why those lines, you may ask!
They set the mood. They pull me right into the story. I have questions I want answered! What dream and why? Hanged men? Where is this going? The clarity of the air, what does that mean? Is everything different? And what about taking that seemingly much longed for walk--what was that about?!

The most haunting of them is the opening line from Rebecca. For what is more haunting than a dream? And why did this person dream she went there again...what happened there?

The other lines not only set the mood they intrigue us about the story. In short, they touch my soul. I feel those words, I really do. And because I do they inspire me to write the best fiction I can possibly write. Hopefully I succeed.

I think also that inspiration to write comes from everything around us. I am inspired by the walks I take with my dogs, the walks on farmland and moorland. The wind, the stormy skies, the sound of angry gusts blowing in the chimney are all inspiring.

Further, people are inspiring, a conversation I overhear--an accent. I am greatly inspired to create characters based on people I have seen and heard.

Television and film can also be inspiring. I see something remarkable in a film. Perhaps it's the story or the general atmosphere. One thought leads to another and another and another!

Inspiration can indeed come from the printed word. But it can come from the world around me, the world I am apart of. Stand back writers--take a look and you will open many doors! The road to inspiration lies just ahead!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Re-charging Your Batteries

Ahhh.... here I sit, groggy at my keyboard, trying to get back on to eastern time after traveling to Vegas for four days. And figure out what to write. I think blogging on topic is often easier, but a part of me truly wonders who we are blogging to in this group? Is a writer-focused blog the best way to reach readers? How many readers actually read blogs? And why would they read ones that focus on writing?

Getting away is good. It often opens your mind up and helps you to re-examine a situation and evaluate the best course of action. I looked at some hard facts this weekend:

Are you working too much on the business end of things in publishing? Yes. Without a doubt I can say 'yes'. The amount of hours I spend on learning how to upload files at various locations, reformat existing ebook files to acceptable formats, designing covers, working on effectively worded ads, posting interactive "status updates", managing creative personalities in groups (which I don't always do with success), analyzing sales figures across multiple retailers, working on new strategies to monetize wisely.... Good God, it is exhausting.

Are you writing enough new material? No. Now, let me be clear-- we must all be honest about what we can produce and what should be a good personal goal. I finished Johnny Living Dangerously in January. I had about eight thousand words done prior to the winter holiday break and wrote the remaining twelve thousand words and polished the novella up within the month. I also did the cover and got all the files ready and out to launch on February 4th.

My girlfriend got her novella out the week before and it did gangbusters. I was truly inspired. I sat down and wrote my next erotica novella, More Than Tolerable, in about three weeks and got it polished and up for sale within the same month - it released on Feb 24th.

March arrived and I was so busy uploading new files to various retailers, and correcting mistakes I didn't know existed in the various nine ebook files I'm responsible for, that I never did much new writing. I started a new short story collection in the Patriotica line, but haven't done more than about 5k words.

And now, the realization that I've worked on other projects more than the novel I have broadcasted everywhere I'll be releasing the end of June hits me square between the eyes. There is no doubt what I need to focus on, right? The novel that is due. But you know what's really hard? When you have such a long project with intricate subplots and layers combined with memory issues. It is making the big project a HUGE challenge.

Are you using your blogging time to reach readers? Yes and no. As a writer, we are told to build a platform. No one really tells you how in a short period of time, but lots of people have advice on it. We try lots and lots of things and then see what sticks. Want to know the number one blog post on this site that drove thousands of readers here for weeks? One Greg did a few months back that mentioned Jennifer Aniston and had a picture of her. No, I'm not joking.

Are you utilizing social networking well? Sometimes I think "yes, I am." Other times I think it's a big time suck. I like the people I've met and have connected with, but I lose "fans" on my page whenever I post anything. Sure, I gain a few to replace them each week, but I have no idea why the others left or their name to even follow up and ask.

In the end, it all comes to balance. Balancing the time I spend on other people's work - be it editing, cover design, file upload, maximizing profits through research, building a website I never wanted, "branding"... the list goes on and on... with what I need to do to be a writer. I need to write, plain and simple.

Figuring out all the aspects of the Everything Erotic site and Red Hot Publishing has been time consuming. Have I learned more than the average writer in a very short span of time? Yes. Have I managed to sell books and release new titles while doing so? Yes. Have I worked my ass into the ground for other people, while not earning a dime on them? Yes.

Would I change a thing? Hell no. Life is about learning and moving forward. I've come so far in such a short period of time and yet I've poured so much of my life into it in the process. Is it worth it? Who can decide and how is such a thing measured? Simply in book sales?

Getting away helped me to relax and pry myself from the computer where I constantly check email, do social networking, obsessive researching of sales, marketing, promotion and publishing... you name it. It helped me realize what was important and what I need to do above all else:

I need to write.

Sure, I still have to do all the other stuff. But I have to have work written first and foremost.

It's great to be back, even if the time change is still kicking my ass and I think I need to nap. How do you recharge? And when you do, are you able to keep on top of the bigger picture easier? I'll find out in the weeks to come if I can sustain all my lofty aspirations!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

My Inspiration Is Like Me -- All Over the Place

I have often been asked exactly what motivates and inspires me to write. Most of the time, the question comes after people have read my stuff and is usually accompanied by a weird or disgusted facial expression.

But, seriously, I thought it was an interesting topic because I don’t think I’ve really sat down and thought about what keeps me writing.
If I had to guess, I would say that my personality accounts for a lot of my inspiration. You see, I was a skinny kid growing up and, thus, was not one of the popular kids in school. Ironically, I was reminded of this last week on the set of Hail Mary,” a pilot being filmed for CBS with Minnie Driver.

The producers were searching out extras for particular scenes and was cherry-picking among us background people. I kept getting passed over and it reminded me of all those times on the playground when “captains” chose sides for softball or kickball. Inevitably, when there were only two people left (the other kid being on crutches), I would get picked. I’ll bet even Jon Cryer didn’t have it this bad.

Getting back to my blog, I fell into a love of writing because it was an activity that didn’t require me to compete with others for popularity. Of course, now I’m competing with the likes of C.J. and James and Marissa, but that’s another story. As a kid, I could sit in the house and just write my cares away.

Today, I still haven’t become like Minnie Driver and her Circle of Friends. I have a small social circle. I don’t do Happy Hour. I don’t go clubbing or go drinking to get drunk. Most people that I know now are married with kids, so it’s not like I could just drop in on them and yank hubby away for something.

I’ve often heard that writers are people who thrive in solitude. Indeed, as I write this, I am in the house alone, sitting at the computer, listening to my iTunes and MySpace Music. For some reason, the television is showing Pretty in Pink and I’m not paying attention, except to note Jon Cryer’s Frankie Valli coif and to wonder why Molly Ringwald decided to channel Doris Day with her own hairdo.

It’s no secret on this blog that I was first inspired to write by watching the award-winning TV anthology series Creature Double Feature. Most of the films shown were so bad, they were good. And they inspired to write because I thought I could do better. I have no stories saved from those days before floppy disks and flash drives, but I remember them as being pretty cheesy. I suspect I would have done Roger Corman, Ed Wood and Phil Record proud.

So, the question now should be what keeps me going these days.

Most likely it would be righting the “wrongs.” Giving an African-American voice to science fiction and horror. Currently, if a black guy headlines a story or even lives through it, it is considered as no more than a gimmick or novelty. Like that Jif peanut butter commercial where the baseball kid comes in, eats a sandwich and mom removes the cap, showing it to be a girl instead of a boy. How cheesy is that?

I’ve still got a ways to go. I was watching one of those awful SyFy “originals” called Mongolian Death Worm. Aside from the absolute lack of suspense at what the monsters are, the only two black characters in the movie just happen to be the first two to die.  Yet, the gorgeous blonde lieutenant, who has no business being with the other Special Forces soldiers, gets to live.
To be sure, for those who have read my stuff, I have a lot of race-neutral stories, but the leads for Hunters, They Call the Wind Muryah and Land of the Blind are decidedly minority.

My next step up the evolutionary writing ladder is to take my scribbling to a higher level. Killing vampires is okay but that field is already dominated by Stephenie Meyer and C.J. Ellisson. I must find the inspiration to continue improving. 

George Schuyler
Should I reach within or should I put pictures of George Schuyler, Stephen King or H.P. Lovecraft up on a mantel with the goal of being placed next to them?

I'm not sure, but the answer will come from some place.
Until then, I will keep plugging away. 


I have no idea.

Friday, April 1, 2011

What's This Rules Business?

This week, the Wicked Writer’s were prompted with the following: “How do you find the balance between following the rules, but still being unique to your chosen genre?” By the very nature of the question, I suppose we need to first set the table, as it were. One: There are rules to be followed. Two: The writer must be unique to their genre or their work will not be noticed.

Rules: So just what are these rules to be followed? To tell you the truth, I wasn't entirely sure, myself, although I did seem to feel, in the back of my mind, that I had a sense of what they were. So, I did what any enterprising individual would do in my position: I Googled 'em!

A post that I found for the Horror Genre writer explained how horror writers needed to capitalize on the emotion of the readers, using their own phobias and fears against them. It seemed to indicate that rather than focus on plot, the writer would build the sense of dread and then sustain the suspense until the climax of the tale. I don't know whether I agree with the focusing less on plot than the whole dread-thing - and perhaps I miss-read their position - but, as I suspected, I knew this already. At least I did on a subconscious level. Perhaps this is why we writers need to be reading as much as we can in our genre, because having read thrillers and horror novels most of my life, my creative mind already understood things such as pacing, foreshadowing, etc., without me actually realizing that I might one day need to explain it.

Being Unique: The underlying point here in point two seems to indicate that if one’s writing is not fresh and new it might be relegated to the slush pile and not be noticed. When I realized that what I was writing was a vampire book, I then had to figure out, in a world where every other film, book, and television show had vampires in it, how mine was going to survive and be noticed. Whether it has or hasn’t, I’m hoping that it is still too early to say; however, I did go for a crossover angle. My vampires live in a world where good versus evil is clearly established, and that line of demarcation is challenged and investigated.

My World: My crossover Christian vampire novel is good. That’s not me bragging. Is it the great American novel? No. Will I one day pen an earthshaking novel that breaks new ground and moves mountains? I hope so. I’m certainly hoping to improve and endeavoring to go beyond myself. What I mean by that is many readers have sought me out to inform me that not only did they enjoy the book, but they thought it was something special to them. Once again, they sought me out to tell me that. In a world where it is very easy to begin doubting one’s self, I need to cling to this truth and never give doubt a chance to seed.

The problem that I am having, along with every other writer, and perhaps some of you, is getting the work noticed. I have a pretty good presence on the Internet, I have given many copies away and have had them positively reviewed, and I have a presence in my hometown (where the novel takes place); however, it was not the big hit that I thought it might be. Being a baseball guy, it wasn’t as if I thought it might be a home run in my first at bat, but I was hoping for a solid double down the left field corner.

It may yet be that hit, but I might have to foul off a few more pitches until I get that pitch that I can handle. What would you folks write about this subject were it your assignment this week? Do you have any thoughts? What do you know of the rules of your preferred genre? I’d love to read them.