Tag Archives: achievement

My Writing Process: A Blog Hop Stop

Blog Hops are these neat little things where different bloggers build bridges between their worlds and hopefully introduce their readers to someone new. There are all kinds of themes for blog hops. This particular one is about the writing process.

Sidney Williams from Sid is Alive passed the baton my way for this leg of the blog hop. Sid is a friend, colleague, and fantastic horror writer and I recommend that you check him out.

Now on to the questions:

What am I working on?

I have several projects under way. For the past six months I have been working on a manuscript for a horror novel (it’s Trainspotting in a haunted house) and a poetry collection with a friend of mine. I’m also doing a fair bit of copywriting and reporting regularly for GenuineOrlando.com.

And…I recently finished a one-month Bizarro writing workshop on Litreactor.com, hosted by one of the pillars of the genre, Rose O’Keefe (publisher of Eraserhead Press). I managed to crank out three short stories and I am putting together a few pitches for potential bizarro novellas.

This is by far the most exciting thing I am currently working on.

How does my work differ from others in its genre?

I’d like to think that it has to do with the referential nature of my writing, along with my talent for satire. My first (and currently only) novel, Leather to the Corinthians, is a bit of a genre mash-up that many found hard to describe. Perhaps that is not the best thing for marketing, but hearing someone say that you just HAVE TO READ IT TO UNDERSTAND IT…that feels great to me.

I have also been told that the book is weird, wild, bizarre, etc. I’ll take that too.

I wrote the book I wanted to write.

Why do I write what I do?

To kind of piggyback on that last thing, I write stories that I would want to read. I have experienced so much STORY in my life, through reading, watching, and playing. I am well read. I know formula, trope, and cliché. I am always looking for something original. I try to do that with my own work and present an original voice.

How does my writing process work?

I write every day, M-F. Sometimes on the weekends, but that’s typically only if there is a paycheck involved.

I need quiet. I need isolation. I am now at the point in my life where I have my own home office and that has made me much more productive. I am more creative when I am tired or after exercise, so I try to time my sessions to line up with these.

I can write at any time in the day, but until I do, I feel like I left something on the stove.

Or the water running.

Or that I am being crushed by 1000 pounds of dreams and expectations.

Also, I will listen to music that reinforces the mood of what I am writing. Many of my characters have soundtracks or playlists that help me stay true.

Who’s next on the Blog Hop?

I have chosen two wonderful writers for you.

Dominic and I have been friends since I started blogging. We met through WordPress. I love his stuff. He’s so damn authentic. You can find him here – eternalDomnation.com

Linda is a writer and folk artist, and she is amazing at both. Her blog is relatively new and each post is so very well crafted. Find her at: Lindapuritz.wordpress.com

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Tom Lucas Featured in Writer’s Digest

writersdigestHmm, feels weird to write a headline in the third person, but the Internet gnomes told me that it is good for SEO to do so.

So, a little sprinkle of happy dust on my head today that I’d just like to share. I’m featured in an article in the current (September) issue of Writer’s Digest. The article is titled “Game-Changing Moves” and it quotes me along with a bunch of fantastically talented writers regarding decisions we’ve made that have resulted in moving our writing careers forward.

As a long-time reader and admirer of Writer’s Digest, I can’t tell you how MOTHERFORNICATINGLY cool it is to see my name in an issue. If you see me playing in traffic with a stupid grin on my face, just swerve around me. I can’t control myself sometimes.

If you’re stopping by the blog for the first time because of the article, please picture me standing in a crisp white suit, welcoming you to my Fantasy Island. Take a poke around — there’s a little something for you here, I’m sure.

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Book Signing…SUCCESS.

Last Saturday, I had a book signing event at Docking Bay 94 Comics and Games down in the Boca Raton, FL area. I spent about seven years living in the Boca Bubble and I can tell you from experience that it will warp your priorities. I felt just a slight tinge of justice served as I returned the favor.

We had a solid turnout, and I had the chance to see many old friends, co-conspirators, and excited new disciples. I have also heard a report that one person may have received a speeding ticket trying to make it before the event was over. Unfortunately, the alleged traffic violator did not make it in time…if I can confirm this, I will name a character after her in a future story. It’s the least I can do.

Even though I stand in front of a room and talk for a living, I always feel a bit strange being the center of attention — especially when I plan to be. Fortunately, everyone was so cool that I forgot about how weird I am and it’s nice to have a vacation from that.

The overall response to the book has been encouraging. I’ve heard enough positive remarks to keep moving forward. It could be that my author photo keeps a few trolls out of my life. I do look like I’ll take your lunch money. Remember: if you look dangerous, you don’t have to be dangerous.

In other news:

I have just under a week left in my Goodreads giveaway. I’m giving 10 free, signed copies of Leather to the Corinthians. If you don’t have a copy yet, or need something to prop up a wobbly table, then take a moment to click HERE.

Also, my book ended up…ah ok, I hijacked this Listopia on Goodreads…Best Social and Political Satires. Again, if you are on Goodreads, can you throw me a vote? I’m all the way up to #2. Click HERE to vote.

Lastly, Amazon has added new categories for Kindle, and Leather is currently #68 in Metaphysical and Visionary. I have no idea how this happened, but I dig the Visionary part.

Here’s some pics from the book signing. Thanks to all who came out to support me and my madness. YOU ROCK.

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Upcoming Events for June

Two exciting, upcoming events:

Book Signing:

Tomorrow, I’ll be in the Boca Raton area selling and signing books at Docking Bay 94 Comics. The event is from 3-6, but with the many old friends that I am expecting to see, I imagine I’ll be there at little longer. Hope to see you there! If you can’t make it, don’t worry — I’ll be taking lots of pictures.

Facebook event: https://www.facebook.com/events/165348286962829/

 

Goodreads Giveaway:

I’m currently giving away 10 signed copies of my novel, Leather to the Corinthians. There’s just under two weeks left! Sign up the Giveaway here, and please tell your friends, loved ones, and cherished enemies.

Flashback Fridays continue in a few weeks. I have a massive box of old writing to share, so look out.

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The Greatest Novel That Never Was

Flashback Fridays! Hope you had a great week. No complaints on my end.

So here’s the back-story on this week’s post. Years ago, I was an Editor/Writer for The South End, Wayne State University’s student newspaper. Unlike many college papers, ours was a M-F daily. As the Entertainment Editor, I had a small staff of writers and a daily quota to fill.

My writers always delivered. I am still very proud of the staff I put together. However, on this particularly freezing February day, I found myself in a bind. It was 3pm (deadline time) and I didn’t have any stories to run. So…without much thought for ethics, I decided to write up a book review/author spotlight for a book and author that didn’t exist. I just wrote a feature about a book that I would love to read. I think at the time I may have just finished reading Naked Lunch for the first time.

Looking back at this article, I am amused by the fact that some of the fictitious novel’s qualities can be found in my own novel. At the time, I had no plans for a book. Perhaps a subconscious message sent to my future self? Not sure. The pen name on the article…Stanczyk was a famous Polish court jester. I’ve since used the title and some of the names for other writing projects.

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A Thunderous Conclusion.

brainSo, I think I broke my brain. I am currently working to fix it.

Over the past four months since I indie-pubbed my first novel, Leather to the Corinthians, I have been spending considerable energy using social media (read: all my free time) to market and promote the book. Prior to its release, I had done a sizable amount of research and created a massive, multi-tabbed spreadsheet filled with competitions, communities, reviewers, Facebook Pages, distributors, and so on.

Prior to completing the novel (which in itself was an excruciatingly long process, some of which was documented on this blog), I spent a considerable amount of time learning how to publish the book (this was after many months of query letters and rejections), as well as hiring professionals to polish the manuscript, format the text, and illustrate the cover (money well spent). I read page after page in book, on websites, etc. I was consumed with figuring it out.

NOTE: I have an obsessive personality. I wasted two years playing World of Warcraft. Serious players spend as much time reading about the game and how to play it as they actually play it.

I had created a pressure situation. I knew I could spend years knocking on agent’s doors and submitting small pieces to lit mags. That’s one classic model of building a writing career, and it is advisable. It’s respectable. However, I’m 43 not 23 and I am feeling Father Time sitting on my chest.

Plus, I’m big on DIY and kind of Punk Rock in mindset.

I jammed my brain with information about writing and publishing. Perhaps too much. I knew I needed to get it out. It was driving me crazy. My Facebook newsfeed is filled with well-meaning indie authors squawking about their massively successful books (I am becoming more dubious as time goes on). I have made many, many trips to the post office to mail out books for review, and I sent requests to easily 10 times as many who never responded. I know it’s all a part of the process, but it’s exhausting.

It became clear to me that I had to flush my brain. Purge it of all the advice, all the thinking, the spreadsheets, the self-doubt, the endless patrol of my Amazon and Goodreads pages. (Why, that asshat gave me two stars!) Promoting the book had become more important than the writing.

NOT OK.

I realized it was time to move on and let the damn thing breathe. However I am a completist (you gamers know what I’m talking about) so I felt that I had to at least get through what was in front of me.

I had the last week off work and spent a few hours each day trying to get through what was left of the resources I had gathered. I still have a few to go, and the week has passed.

I am desperate to finish off my list, as I want to move on to my next novel. Plus, I want to drum up some freelance writing gigs (on top of my full-time job teaching) and I have been mulling another blog as well. I’m nuts.

About two weeks ago I came to the realization that I would never be able to tap into every possible writing community or resources. It’s a hydra of epic proportion. Each site leads me to another and another.

Deeper down the rabbit hole.

There are millions of words written about writing. There’s more writing about writing than actual writing. Everyone has advice to offer. Everyone has a service to sell. It is mind-numbingly endless.

I have seen total crap that is apparently very successful. Not many people post about lousy book sales or that their book sucks hairy nads. I have visited a bottomless pit of blogs containing long passages of nothingness, with a shitton of “likes” at the bottom. I have found talented people lost in the digital wilderness (hello, fellow traveler), so much more deserving of attention. I also see people that promote their book from morning to night. I am slightly envious of the time they have for such things, but it is also quite tedious.

I have witnessed much energy being expended. I wonder…

Is this just a bunch of writers trying to sell books to other writers? Is this working? Is this progressing the wondrous written word and the glory of reading? Have we entered a new age of literacy (cause that’s cool).

Or is this a bunch of monkeys humping a football? And if so, what is my monkey ranking? How are my stats? What’s my possession time?

typeI came to another conclusion. I could spend all my time promoting my single book (forever and ever) or I could do WHAT I SHOULD BE DOING – writing the next book, the next article, the next post, the next script, and the next blog. So, I am trying to wrap up this damn promotion thing.

Based on my calculations, I should be done with my list and unless something looks utterly amazing, I ain’t gonna bother. I have yet to really find a fellow writer with my sensibilities (read: weird), except for these Bizzarro writers up in Portland but I can’t figure out their scene. Maybe by making this decision I will miss the one opportunity that would change everything for me and I’ll miss it. I’m telling myself not to even consider that possibility.

I can’t. I’ll spend all my time thinking I missed something. I’m obsessive, remember?

So after much time and effort spent, I now truly understand that there is no road map to writing success.

If Leather is lighter fluid, I’m going to let it ooze through the cracks and maybe one day it will strike flame. I don’t need to be fabulously famous, I don’t need great wealth, but if my efforts lead to a day when I can spend half the day writing, and the other half connecting with people (notice that there’s no full-time job here) and still pull down a decent income, then I will feel satisfied on a daily fucking basis.

Hear me universe! I declare that this will happen!

So another week or two and then that’s it. I’ll do a free e-book day here and there and probably give away a few books on Goodreads. Otherwise, it’s back the to the best part – writing. And poetry. And blogging.

And my next book…if anyone is interested, it’s a ghost story. This time I will be concentrating more on character and story, as opposed to structure and setting. It will be much less experimental in nature.

Love it or hate it, Leather was a bitch to write. A lot of pre-writing. A ton of research. I’m not quite ready to go back. But I will soon enough.

I’m going to knock this second novel out and then return to the weird world I created in Leather. I figure I’ll follow this pattern: weird book > marketable book > weird book > marketable book. Oh, and I have to build some time to do the submitting thing to various journals and sites. I need to spread my seeds of literary corruption.

As I work on my next book, I plan on blogging through the process as well. Many of you have told me that my documentation of the Leather writing process was inspirational. Laugh all you want, that’s what they told me.

Ok, I need a couple Advil.

Lucas out.

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Photo Credit: Olivander via Compfight cc

THE NEXT BIG THING Blog Hop!

jumpWelcome to the blog hop!

What is a blog hop? Basically, it’s a way that readers can discover new authors, because with bookstores closing and publishers not promoting new authors as much, we need to find a way to introduce readers to authors they may not see in their local bookstore.

Here you have the chance to find many new authors. You’ll find information about me, my blog, and my book – Leather to the Corinthians. But that’s not all! Also see links below to other authors you might like to check out.

I’d like to thank fellow author SUZY DUFFY for tagging me to participate. Click the link below to find out about her latest Bestseller, WELLESLEY WIVES.

https://www.facebook.com/SuzyDuffyBooks?ref=hl

In this particular hop, I and my fellow authors, in their respective blogs, have answered 10 questions where you get to learn about our current work in progress as well as some insights into our process, from characters and inspirations to plotting and cover decisions. I hope you enjoy it!

Please feel free to comment and share your thoughts and questions. Here is my Next Big Thing!

1: What is the title of your book?
Well…my blog is just stinking with it. Leather to the Corinthians. I am currently outlining Book 2 of the series (yep, it will be a series but I have yet to name it). The working title for the second installment is…The Scarlet Leather.

2: Where did the idea come from for the book?
Years ago, I wrote a short story. I liked it. What I liked most about it was the fact that it had a strange voice. I didn’t recognize it, but it was (in my mind) something special. I had been writing for several years, in many styles and genres. This was the first time that I felt like I had found MY VOICE. Geez, pretentious much?

3: What genre does your book come under?
Science Fiction/Fantasy. That’s the most recognizable. However, it’s a strange book – on purpose. It’s a bit of Naked Lunch as written by Douglas Adams. It’s surreal, high-concept satire. It’s a genre mosh pit.

4: Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?
The Soldier: Joseph Gordon-Levitt.
Scratch Microphone: Matthew McConaughey
The General: John Noble
The King: Richard Branson

5: What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
A young freedom fighter struggles with his humanity in this dystopian sci-fi satire.

6: Is your book self-published, published by an independent publisher, or represented by an agency?
Technically, it’s self-published. I am now the proud owner of a Small Press: Room 1331 Publishing and Media. My book will be only one in a growing catalog. There’s many great writers that I am looking at right now.

7: How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
I wrote Leather while I was a high school teacher, and I only worked on it during the summers. Took me five years, but if you boil that down, probably about a year.

8: What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?
My book has been favorable compared to Ready Player One, John Dies at the End, Trasmetropolitan, and Snow Crash.

9: Who or what inspired you to write this book?
Leather is social commentary at its core. There’s so much that frustrates me at a societal level. I don’t have much political power, but I have a voice.

10: What else about your book might pique the reader’s interest?
This is taken directly from my Amazon page: “If you are fed up with the ridiculousness of big business, politics, mass media, fast food, organized religion, et al…if you enjoy underhanded satire, science fiction, fantasy, the surreal, comic books, video games, and a good laugh — you’ll dig my book. Join me in my quest to expose the truth and fools behind it.”

Below you will find authors who will be joining me by blog, next Wednesday. Do be sure to bookmark and add them to your calendars for updates on WIPs and New Releases!

Happy Writing and Reading!

The INTRIGUING Tof Eklund: http://www.tofeklund.net/
The POWERFUL Robyn J. Williams: http://www.robynjwilliams.com/meta.html
The THOUGHTFUL Allison Bruning: http://allisonbruning.blogspot.com/
The THRILLING Michelle Muckley: http://www.michellemuckley.com/
The ROCKING Robert Raymond: http://www.robertraymond.com/
The ESTEEMED Roland Mann: http://rolandmann.wordpress.com/

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