Wednesday, February 1, 2023

Happy Groundhog Day (#IWSG February 2023)


I completely missed the January IWSG. I would love to say it was because I was so busy writing, but that would be a bold-face lie. 

I have been creative, not just in putting words to paper. I think back in November I mentioned I had started painting miniatures again? Well, I got a 3D-Printer for Christmas, so now I've been doing A LOT of painting...




Some people look at these tiny little things and think that painting them must be stressful, but I find it incredibly relaxing. I can paint for hours and the time just floats by. Sometimes (often) it gets finicky and difficult, but I fix it, redo it, try it again, or sometimes just move on. I've learned a lot in the last several months, and I like to think I've improved already.

I've always liked making things, especially small things (I was a Lego nerd as a kid), and I love games and art. I've found a way to bring them all together, which is pretty fulfilling.


That said, I do have a half-finished draft of Gale Harbour 3 staring me in the face, not to mention several other projects I'm either planning or actively working on. I'll get to them eventually, probably when the printer gets boring, or the fumes from it get so bad my wife makes me throw it out.

FEBRUARY QUESTION

If you are an Indie author, do you make your own covers or purchase them? If you publish trad, how much input do you have about what goes on your cover?

I have gone back and forth between making my own covers and having someone make them. The cover for Ten Thousand Days was commissioned, as were the current covers for the Gale Harbour books. Hell Comes to Hogtown was a combination, as I commissioned the text for the title, a friend of mine took the photo, and I put it together. 


I am always stuck in a situation where I know what I want but don't quite have the skills to make it happen, nor do I ever have the money to pay someone to make it. The covers I have paid for were all pretty cheap (hello, Fiverr!), so they're usually fine but never exactly what I wanted, either.

What about you? Is anyone ever really happy with their cover?

(I know they are, just let me pretend they don't so I don't feel so bad)

Have a great month!

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK



The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, December 7, 2022

Ho, Ho, Holy Crap It's almost Christmas (#IWSG December 2022)

It's holiday time! Are the holidays a time to catch up or fall behind on writer goals?

I don't do much writing over the holidays. Lots leading up to it, yes, but once my "Christmas Book" (the book I write every year for the kids/family) goes off to the printer, I'm pretty much done with writing until the new year. To many lousy movies to watch, cookies to eat, and Lego to build. 

Despite starting to write it over a year ago, I was a week later than usual getting the book out this year. I hope it gets printed and back to me in time; I had to pay extra for rush shipping.

 This one had ALOT of illustrations. I don't know why I keep making illustrated books. I'm not a good artist, I'm slow, and I'm never happy with how they turn out. And yet I put 100+ drawings in the latest book. 



In case you can't tell from the covers, each book gets progressively more excessive.

Yes, it's a Canadian-themed Pokemon series about my kids and nieces. Yes, it has Pokemon like "Apologeese," "Loony" and "About" (it's a boot, get it it?). Yes, it's absolutely ridiculous. Yes, the latest (and likely last) book is nearly 300-pages long. Do I regret it? Remains to be seen.

But anyway, I'm way burnt out on writing now. The most creative thing I will likely do over the holidays is (hopefully) paint a few miniatures. I was having a lot of fun with that before Halloween before getting distracted with the book. I will have to get back to Gale Harbour Book 3 early in the new year.

Happy Holidays, everyone. 

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK

P.S. If anyone sees my kids/nieces, don't mention the book. It's a surprise. :-)


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.


Wednesday, November 2, 2022

November? No way. Lies, I tell you. (#IWSG November 2022)

NaNoWriMo time!

Not for me, though. I don't NaNo. November's always a busy writing month for me already, but it's usually finishing/editing Christmas presents. I don't have time to write 50,000 new words on something. Fortunately I already have a first draft of this year's story, so I only have to finish the many (many) illustrations that need to go along with it.

October was crazy. The whole family came down with Covid, so that really threw us for a loop. Fortunately none of us were hit too hard, but the effects certainly do linger. The fatigue and mind fog are certainly real, and I hope there are no further long-term effects.

Didn't get much writing done in October, but there was lots of other creative stuff. The big thing was the annual haunted house that we did for the kids in the family. It took weeks to plan, involved painting the entire basement black, and then four more days to set everything up - but in the end we locked our kids and nieces in the basement and gave them 90 minutes solve an escape room and get out.






It was a lot of work but the kids had a ton of fun. I set up a camera so the adults could watch them, and I think we had even more fun than the kids! The story of the escape room was that a disgraced toymaker was luring children into his workshop to help him build toys, which were unfortunately murderous and the children rarely survived. They had to solve puzzles, decode riddles, cut open stuffed animals to find keys and clues, objects hidden in the ventilations ducts, plus a few creepy surprises hidden to give them a fright or two. There was also secret messages written on the walls in invisible ink, and a UV flashlight used to find them. It was all INCREDIBLY involved, and my wife and I swore again we won't do it again next year, but who knows...

I also took up painting gaming miniatures again. Tiny little figurines about an inch or so tall that requires a lot of attention to detail and a steady hand. Funny it was much easier when I was 25 years old... and didn't have Covid... But I do really enjoy it and have already spent too much money on paint and models and may have put a lot of research into getting a 3D Printer...

The Stormtrooper on the right was painted while I had Covid, the one of the left was done after I got better. I don't know if you can see the difference in the picture, but it's substantial...

And of course I made the kids' Halloween costumes... and may have already booked myself to make my niece's costume for her next year...


Writing? What's that?

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK 

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/.

Wednesday, October 5, 2022

The Genre Debate (#IWSG October 2022)

I am the shadow on the moon at night
Filling your dreams to the brim with fright

Happy Halloween month, everyone!

The Fall season is always a busy time for me (when isn't it?) First we have back to school in September, then comes October, which in our household involves more prep work than Christmas. Starting two years ago, we've been hosting highly-involved Haunted Houses for the kids in the family. The first time was due to Halloween being cancelled due to Covid, but the kids have insisted we keep it going. This year I may be painting the entire basement black. This may or may not be a good idea.

Next month is November, which is a crazy writing time as I prepare the family books for Christmas presents, followed by December which is of course always a write-off in terms of being productive.

I'll get back to finishing Gale Harbour Book 3 eventually...

October Question
What do you consider the best characteristics of your favorite genre?

Oh, this is a rant I've been meaning to go on for awhile, so this is a perfect opportunity to do so.

My gut reaction to "what is your favourite genre" is for me to say "comedy," but comedy isn't really a genre. It's a style of writing that can be added to any other genre (and should be, IMHO). So that means that my favourite genre is probably fantasy or sci-fi. Except...

FANTASY AND SCI-FI AREN'T GENRES.

"Robots" by itself is not a genre. "Robot-erotica," on the other hand...

I will admit, I got this idea from Shawn Coyne's The Story Grid, but I completely agree with it. A "genre" describes the plot of a story - genres are meant to include specific plot points, in order to let their readers know what to expect. A mystery has to have an inciting crime, a villain's MacGuffin and the exposure of the criminal. A romance has triangles, secrets and lovers split-up/reuniting. There is a little more to it than that, and there are always exceptions, but the framework is the key and very specific. That's what makes a genre. 

How do you define "Fantasy" and "Sci-Fi"? Fantasy generally takes place in a secondary world (or our world with different rules), and includes some system of magic. Sci-Fi takes place in a "futuristic" world and includes technology that seems potentially possible (magic based in science). None of these things describe the actual story, they describe the setting where your story takes place.

Fantasy and Sci-Fi aren't genres, they're SETTINGS.

You can have a fantasy action story (Mistborn by Brandon Sanderson), or a fantasy mystery (anything by Jim Butcher or Charlaine Harris). You can have a sci-fi horror story (the original Terminator or Alien) or a sci-fi romance (pretty much any anime or manga from the last 30 years). Fantasy and Sci-Fi says nothing about the plot by themselves. You can't have a fantasy or sci-fi story without a plot (well you can, but it would be terrible). You have to layer a genre on top of it. 

Come at me.

Huge & Kisses,
-CDGK


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Wednesday, September 7, 2022

Pack it up, Summer's Over (#IWSG September 2022)

All last week I kept telling myself, "IWSG is coming up, you should write a post," and I kept putting it off. I got up yesterday, it was the kids first day back to school, so I was determined to finally write it. Then we got a call from the animal rescue we work with, saying they had two new dogs that needed to be picked up. One of them had been bitten in the face by another dog and lost an eye. So needless to say, that has taken priority.

But I digress. Writing continues, though unfortunately not on Gale Harbour Book 3. It is well underway, it just got shuffled aside temporarily while I work on side projects. I hope to be back onto it really soon. I've also been reading about writing - finally got through Save the Cat Writes a Novel by Jessica Brody and The Story Grid by Shawn Coyne (it's very, very good and analytical, but probably a bit overly complicated). I've also been working on some marketing-related tasks. I can tell you that BookSirens is good for getting a few low-cost reviews, and Voracious Readers Only has been a great help to get my mailing list started (for free, no less!)

Those are not affiliate links, by the way. 
But maybe I should get some, to make a few extra bucks fractions of a penny.

September IWSG Question - What genre would be the worst one for you to tackle and why?

I'm pretty open to try anything, but there are plenty of obscure subgenres that I would probably struggle with (simply because I haven't read them). Like, if you asked me to write an Amish Romance or Middle-Grade Dystopian Chick-Lit tomorrow, I don't think I could write you anything worthwhile. It might be hilarious, but I doubt actual fans of the genres would appreciate it.

That being said, the hardest thing for me to write would be anything serious.

How was YOUR summer?

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK

The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/

Wednesday, August 3, 2022

Unoriginal IWSG Post August 2022

Holy crap, I almost missed the IWSG post two months in a row! Please don't take me off the list, Alex!

Revenge of the Space-Surfing Butt Monkeys has been available now for three months. I had several stories about its launch I wanted to share, but the summer has been crazy. I've been travelling, and I'm actually writing this post from a hotel room on my phone to make sure I get it posted before Wednesday is over.

This, for instance, was one of the stories I wanted to share.

So those stories will have to wait. Instead, I'll answer this month's question:

When you set out to write a story, do you try to be more original or do you try to give readers what they want?

I don't think I've ever set out to make something specifically "original" for the sake of being original. Usually I write stories that I find entertaining, which is often a twist on an existing idea that I myself would like to read. 

I have, on occasion, explicitly strived to give readers "what they want." This is always however for a very specific group of readers. I've mentioned in the past that most Christmases I written a book or story for some of my family members, and they're always tailored to be something that those family members wanted. Some of my other writing projects are currently on hold, to tell the truth, as I work on this year's holiday story. I knew this one was going to be more ambitious than usual, so I started it early. Wish me luck.

Anyway, that's it for today. Hopefully I'll get back on track soon. How is everyone else's summer going?

Hugs & Kisses,

CDGK 

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

Butt Monkeys are Vengeful, Yo (#IWSG June 2022)


Holy Crap, it's IWSG day? Where did May go?

Actually, May felt a hundred years long. The release of REVENGE OF THE SPACE-SURFING BUTT MONKEYS feels like a lifetime ago. Sales were solid but not spectacular, however there's a been a steady flow of Kindle Unlimited page reads all month, which surprised me. I got more page reads in the last 30 days than I've received since I first signed up for Kindle Unlimited years ago. And not just from Butt Monkeys, either, but for all of my books. So that's an interesting phenomenon. 

Reviews for the series continues to be solid as well:

"CDGK writes immaturity really well and injects a ton of humor into the action."

"Gallant-King handles the teen protagonists with such insight and tenderness."

"Even more so than in PHB, Revenge brings the heavy along with all its quirkiness and humor. "

"If you are looking for a fun read that is part Scooby Doo and part X-Files, and that has you longing for the days of landlines, Blockbuster rentals, and Super Mario World this will definitely be a good title for you."

You can read all the reviews at Goodreads, of course. And you can buy your very own copy at Amazon!

And hey, it topped the new release section in Horror for a couple of days, and made it to NUMBER TWO in its sub-category (Horror/Comedy), which is the highest I've ever reached.


So does this mean I can start putting "Amazon Best-Selling Author" on my bio, or.... What is the criteria for that, anyway?

Thank you again to everyone who helped spread the word of the release. And EXTRA HUGE THANK YOU to anyone who's picked up and/or reviewed a copy!

For those still on the fence, here's the blurb again to help you make up your mind...


Newfoundland, Canada, 1993.

It's been a year since a handful of kids defeated the Psycho Hose Beast in the sleepy town of Gale Harbour, Newfoundland. Our heroes have entered into the era of rollerblades, Super Nintendo and oversized plaid shirts… unless you’re a goth, then it’s the era of Maybelline eyeliner, boots with too many buckles, and infected safety-pin piercings.

Thirteen-year-old Niall O'Neil is navigating a blossoming relationship with his crush, Harper Jeddore. Unfortunately, the power that allowed them to defeat the monster from the deep is still within them, and they are no closer to understanding or controlling it. When just touching your girlfriend can kill innocent bystanders, it complicates the already precarious practice of teenage dating.

But lurking in the backdrop of teenage romance, a sinister power is growing in Gale Harbour, and dangerous people are turning up in the small town with possibly deadly intentions.

Will the kids defeat this new threat? What did the US Air Force leave in the abandoned Hansen Air Force base? What is a space-surfing butt monkey? And most importantly—will anyone get to touch a boob?





JUNE QUESTION
When the going gets tough writing the story, how do you keep yourself writing to the end? If have not started the writing yet, why do you think that is and what do you think could help you find your groove and start?

This is appropriate because I'm currently slogging through a couple of projects. The simple answer is "just keep putting words down." You can always fix it later, but you can't edit if you don't finish it in the first place. Even if the words are crap, write SOMETHING. It's easier to build momentum with some kind of start, you can't go from 0 to 60 instantly. 

The other answer is to keep in mind your goal, what you want to accomplish with this writing. "Just finishing" is fine, but it's better to be more specific. I want this to be better than the last book, to fix some of the mistakes I made last time. I want to prove (to myself and others) I can finish a series. I want to write a story that my kids will enjoy. I want to implement some of the new writing skills I've recently learned about. These are all goals I have on my current projects, and it helps me have a reason to get going when the story bogs me down.

So how was YOUR month?

Hugs & Kisses,
-CDGK


The first Wednesday of every month is officially Insecure Writer’s Support Group day. Writers post their thoughts on their blogs, talking about their doubts and the fears they have conquered. It's a chance for writers to commiserate and offer a word of encouragement to each other. Check out the group at http://www.insecurewriterssupportgroup.com/
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