Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Everything's Coming Up Milhouse (#IWSG February 2020)

January was a big month. Between the two pitch events on Twitter (#ISWGPit and #SFFPit), I received 5 requests from agents/publishers. I also resolved this year to submit something (a short story/query/etc) every week if possible, and thanks to those pitch requests I'm already at more than double my quota. Plus I'm still writing and editing furiously on a couple of projects, so all in all everything is coming up Milhouse.


So why am I feeling insecure? Because I've been through these productive phases before, and they never last. Usually life throws some kind of wrench into the works (and I can see a couple of potential spanners already winding up), but whatever the cause, it will inevitably happen. And then it's all the more frustrating and demoralizing, because I know what I should be doing, and how well everything could be doing, so the fact that I'm not writing and working is just a kick in the teeth.

I have to try to enjoy this while it lasts, and when the downswing does come to accept it as part of life's routine.

February Question
Has a single photo or work of art ever inspired a story? What was it and did you finish it?

Photo, no, but I have often been greatly influenced by music. Observe:


Completely a coincidence, I assure you.

While the song "10,000 Days" did have some influence on the book, I drew even more inspiration from another song, "Sleeping Beauty" by A Perfect Circle. The lyrics basically read like the plot of the book:

Delusional
I believe I can cure it all for you, dear
Coax or trick or drive or
drag the demons from you
Make it right for you sleeping beauty
Truly thought
I can magically heal you
You're far beyond a visible sign of your awakening
Failing miserably to rescue
Sleeping Beauty
Drunk on ego
Truly thought I could make it right
If I kissed you one more time to
Help you face the nightmare
But you're far too poisoned for me
Such a fool to think that I can wake you from your slumber
That I could actually heal you..
Sleeping Beauty
Poisoned and hopeless
You're far beyond a visible sign of your awakening
Failing miserably to find a way to comfort you
Far beyond a visible sign of your awakening
And hiding from some poisoned memory
Poisoned and hopeless
Sleeping Beauty

Songwriters: Billy Howerdel / Maynard James Keenan

So now you know my secret. Shhh. Don't tell anyone.

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, January 8, 2020

A long post to start the year (#IWSG January 2020)

I'm starting January off feeling positive. This is going to be a good writing year for me. I mean, it will probably all come crashing down soon and my February IWSG post will be me threatening to give up writing altogether again, but I'm allowed a moment of optimism at least once a year, right?

FIRST BIG NEWS

You remember the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off, right? It's the annual contest organized by best-selling and award winning novelist Mark Lawrence, designed to showcase the best up-and-coming independent writers of fantasy fiction by giving them a large platform. With that in mind, enterprising author Jon Auerbach has collected samples from OVER 70 current and past SPFBO participants and made it available FREE for anyone to download. Both of my entries, TEN THOUSAND DAYS and HELL COMES TO HOGTOWN, are included in there. PLEASE head over and check out this smorgasbord of free sample goodies. Who knows? You may just discover your new favourite book or author.
Cover by Luke Tarzian


SECOND BIG NEWS

For the fourth (yes, FOURTH) year in a row, I will have a story appearing in Mystery & Horror's STRANGELY FUNNY comic horror anthology series! They must really like me over there. It's awesome to have found a place that fits my weird brand of kooky, creepy humour so well.


STRANGELY FUNNY VII will be released in the spring, and you can be sure as I will have all the deatils (and the new cover!) as soon as they're available.

THIRD BIG NEWS

This is probably my favourite. I kept it on the down-low all year, but if you read last week's year-end-report you already know about it: I wrote not one but TWO new books in 2019. I know, I'm just as shocked as you are.

Look at it. LOOK AT IT!

At least one of those books should see the light of day before the end of 2020, which makes me super-excited. It's been so long since I've released a full-length novel. Not only that, but a couple of my other half-finished projects are slowly starting to come back together again, as well.

Like I said. Cautiously optimistic.

JANUARY IWSG QUESTION

What started you on your writing journey? Was it a particular book, movie, story, or series? Was it a teacher/coach/spouse/friend/parent? Did you just "know" suddenly you wanted to write?

This is a very complicated answer. I had already written this when I got all my big news to share, so bear with me.

In my bio, I usually say that I wrote my first story when I was 5 years old, and I had to ask my baby-sitter to look how the spelling of "extra-terrestrial" in the dictionary. This is true - and in fact, I may have been even younger.

I also often credit the Star Wars films and the Americanized version of the Japanese Anime ROBOTECH/Macross as teaching me how to tell stories, which is also true. You may not see it in my published works, but I have scores of unpublished material that follows the same serialized structure of Star Wars and sci-fi cartoon series. The Teddy Ruxpin cartoon was also a big influence, believe it or not.

Cinematic brilliance.

I've sometimes joked that the reason I started self-publishing is because I read lots of terrible self-published work and I thought, "I can do better than that," and now I'm the guy who inspires other people to say "I can do better than that." This is also, sadly, true.

But while contemplating this question, I have come to the realization that one of my biggest and earliest influences is Robin Hood. My earliest recollection of watching a movie was VHS copies of Robin Hood, which in my later years I've come to believe were the Robin of Sherwood series from British TV.

This image is seared into my brain from childhood. I think I had nightmares about that guy.

I loved those shows as a kid, with all the sword fights and magic and mysticism. I also loved the stories (though the Robin Hood stories don't usually have the same kind of supernatural elements as the Robin of Sherwood series did). Several of my first LEGO sets were also Robin Hood-themed:

I HAD THIS SET! It blows my mind whenever I find images on the internet that I remember so vividly from childhood. There's a secret door on tower on the left-hand side, which I adored.

Needless to say, I was psyched when the Kevin Costner movie came out in 1991. I haven't watched it in almost 30 years so I don't know if it has held up, but I will continue to remember it fondly until that illusion is shattered.

A couple of years ago I was going through my old stuff at my parent's house and I found one of my very first stories, from when I was in grade 1 or 2. It was in French, fully illustrated in colour, and bound like a small book with cardboard covers. And what was it about? An elf named "Bras D'or" (Golden-Arm), an expert archer who looked like Robin Hood, tricking and defeating a giant blue ogre.

It hasn't happened yet, but I'm sure I'm going to eventually write a gritty reboot of Robin Hood in some form of another.

How about you? How is your new year starting off?

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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