Tag Archives: Publishing

Submitting Stories and all of the Other Stuff I am Doing.

Although I have managed to keep my blog current, I haven’t spoken much to the actual pursuit of the craft, something I did much more of as I ramped up to the release of my first novel as well as the months that followed.

That’s because I have been busy writing the second novel, along with several other ongoing projects. I have gotten to the point where I am writing every day, working on something. This level of productivity is beyond anything I have experienced in the past and although I do ride up near the edge of exhaustion more often than not, I know that when you’re hot, you have to shoot the puck as much as possible.

The second novel is going well. I am about to hit the 45k mark, so I am halfway through the first draft. It’s very different than my first book (which will be a series in time, but it will take some time). It’s a horror novel, first and foremost.

Here’s the premise for your consideration:

Jesse Cruce wants to escape his past. As a struggling drug addict, he thought rehab was hell, but it turns out renovating his dead father’s house in St. Augustine is worse. When he accidentally opens a portal to the afterlife, he unleashes a demonic force capable of dragging the city’s souls into the abyss. Jesse might be able to stop it — but only if he can defeat the self-perpetuating monster of his addiction first.

So there’s character development, a plot, internal and external conflict – all the makings of a fine story (or so I have been told). I’m having a great time writing it and I am enjoying horror much more that I even thought. The writing is slow but steady. I can manage about 500-1000 words a day. Some of “why” of this is time (gainful employment be DAMNED) but I’m exploring some dark places and to be honest (and at the risk of sounding pretentious), it’s emotionally draining. Most days I go for a jog right after to clear my mind.

I expect to have the manuscript wrapped up by late spring. Then revisions. Then a content editor. Then more revisions. Then beta readers. Then the queries. Unlike the insanity of Leather, it won’t nearly be as hard to pitch. Yay for simplicity!

So this is the slow moving titan that is pulling me through 2014. However, I have several other projects going that are supporting my need to be stupid busy. Also, versatility must be practiced.

As an aspiring storyteller, it’s one of my goals to always be submitting, to have my work in consideration somewhere. Last year, I had my darkly humorous take on Santa Claus accepted and published in F*cked Up Fairy Tales, did some guest blogging, secured a short story in a horror anthology coming out in 2015 and sold a vampire poem — of all things.

This year, I have two stories that I am trying to find a home for. The first is a very straightforward werewolf tale (it may be too linear in structure, we’ll see) and I also have my attempt at metafiction/slipstream, a 2000 word shifting narrative that has gathered seven rejections to date. It might just be that the right editor hasn’t seen it yet or that it has a significant flaw or twelve that I have yet to identify. I also have three short stories in the planning stages: a sci-fi satire starring a gigantic gladiator by the name of Titanus, a dystopian tale of a world where having material possessions is punished, and a non-fiction piece about a terrible car accident I was in many years ago.

Although my novel would be finished much sooner without the side projects, I feel that it is critical for me to be putting smaller works out there and I think it’s something all aspiring authors NEED to do. For me, it’s about expanding my readership and exposure while challenging myself to work with stories and themes that are slightly out of my comfort zone. Seriously, I would never think to write a werewolf story, but I have one. For you, it may be a completely different reason but I can say that those small victories are what keep me motivated.

There is the rejection. Or should I say, there are the rejections. I have my fair share of them. The pursuit of writing demands it! I recently was asked how I deal with regular rejection and it’s not complicated. I give myself an hour to feel a bit bummed then I immediately target new places to submit. I’ll take another good look at the piece in question, perhaps revise a bit, and then it’s out the door to another editor. Unless you have been given specific feedback, you can never be sure why it was rejected, so there is no reason to get pissed off or depressed. If they gave you feedback, there’s even less of a reason for hard feelings. Hell, you just got feedback for free. Rejoice!

Fall off the horse seven times, get up eight.

I’m using a few different sites to find places to submit. I’ve been leaning on Ralan.com mostly as they list the kind of markets I am most interested in and they keep their info up to date. There’s Duotrope, of course. Writer’s Digest also has lots to offer if you are looking to submit, and I have had some luck with Writer’s Relief.

Between these four sources, I think I have it covered. I can’t write enough content fast enough to enter every competition or submit to every publication that interests me, but that’s why I keep everything I write. You never know when you’ll stumble upon the perfect place for that piece that has been sitting in the box – just waiting for its chance. Put me in coach, I know I can play.

I’m also collaborating with an old friend on a poetry collection. It’s a good time. It’s pushing me. I choose a topic and write a poem. I send it to her and she writes on the same topic, and also writes a second piece, with a new topic of her choosing. She sends both back to me and I duplicate the process. We’ve written 20 poems each over the past year and I am learning so much from it.

And if all of this wasn’t enough, I am doing quite a bit of copywriting as well as script writing (marketing and instructional videos) and contributing reviews to an Orlando-centric (what to do around town kind of thing) to a new website. You can check it out here.

To wrap it up with a pretty ribbon, since starting this blog I have only build momentum. The friends and readers I have gained from it – MIND BLOWN. Far beyond any expectations I had with that first post. I’d like to thank you all for putting the gas in my tank to pursue my goals and dreams. I am passing mile markets with increasing speed and I have a great feeling about 2014.

Lucas out.

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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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Leather to the Corinthians: The Book Trailer

I know you’ve been waiting….after watching the video, check out these behind the scene pics. Please share!

Hey Everybody, Look Over Here!

I’m always up for a challenge, so I was very pleased when my bloggerverse friend, Imelda Evans, tagged me on Twitter.

I’m not typically a word-sketcher. I don’t take my notebook and sit in the back corner of a coffeehouse, looking cool, writing down random nonsense. If I were though, I know I would rock it.

I am a writer that works best when I have purpose. A mission. A quest. A deadline. I need to be organized, and I need to work my thoughts out in advance before I sit down at the keyboard.

So when someone takes the time to throw me a writing challenge, I’m ready steady go.

This particular challenge is pretty straightforward: It has two parts.

1) Find the first use of the word ‘look’ in your manuscript (whatever that manuscript might be) and post the surrounding couple of paragraphs as a little ‘look’ into your work.

2) Now answer: What makes you excited for this story?

A great idea for a post, and you can read Imelda’s original post here: http://imeldaevans.wordpress.com/2012/10/01/look-its-a-writer-challenge-so-show-me-what-youve-got/

Chances are you’ll spend some time on her site, she’s an extremely spirited writer…so get through this before you shoot over, ok?

Now then here’s my excerpt, from my upcoming first novel — (out Nov 2012) —Leather to the Corinthians:

I know what ails you.

I know what troubles bring you forward in droves to stare at the mighty juice, the glorious oil that transforms the beaten into full-blown raving geniuses. What I offer will not only satisfy, it will fulfill.

I know this because I have looked into your shallow eye sockets and have seen the blood stained traumas and horrors of your ancient astronaut ancestors — ancestors whose bio-seeds gave birth to the many-armed succubae tormentors of your secret psychic souls. Your years of meta-body personal apocalypse, for which no self-help book can assuage, are nearing their end as you drop open drooling jaws to this ultimate, extreme wonder-product of the new and improved age.

A tonic to exhilarate! An oil to lubricate! A cure for all that ails you!

Whew.

It’s very cool that the first instance of “look” in my book comes from this prologue piece. It was not so cool to see how many times I actually used the word “look” in my book. It could potentially annoy me for some time.

I am going forward regardless. I have twiddled the knobs on this damn thing for long enough, and it’s so damn close to getting out in the world that I will have to let that little obsessive detail fall to the wayside. The next book will feature a variety of awesome synonyms for the word “look”. That or I’ll make my main character blind or something like that.

Leather to the Corinthians was a book that took some time to write. Pieces here and pieces there, put together on my summers off (I taught high school during that time). Some elements in the book are from scrawlings I made in undergrad, a million years ago. There have been times when I hated every word of it. Times when I couldn’t believe the genius of it. Nervous moments when handing it over to someone else. Joy from praise from those who read it.

It’s not a neatly placed genre book. If I wrote one of those, I think I would have an easier time understanding how to market it. Leather to the Corinthians could become a major cult book (that’s the dream) or it could be considered pure garbage. Being a writer means being brave in a way that those that do not write will never truly understand. It’s a white knuckle experience. It carries considerable emotional risk.

I’m rolling the dice on it. I’m always up for a challenge.

Come by and visit me before Christmas, my book is the perfect gift for the iconoclast or smartass in your life.

Decisions, Decisions.

Hey There!

One of my missions as a writer/blogger is to share with you my journey to self-publishing my novel, Leather to the Corinthians. I chose self-publishing for many reasons, and today it is an incredibly viable way to get your book out there. The old school publishers are desperately aware of the shift of power, let the palaces burn!

However, this means that I am spending all of my free time making decisions and critically thinking — when I could be writing. I am hoping that y’all might be able to help me with a few.

I am currently polishing off the manuscript with a few tweaks and a bit more content. My able and awesome editor is busy formatting the book for print and ePub. Hopefully I can write faster than she can format — the meter is running. I have an important decision to make on presentation. FONTS.

Can you offer me you opinion on this? I basically have four possibilities. I know which way I’m leaning, but I am curious how that actually lines up with yours. Thanks in advance for your time!

OPTION #1
OPTION #2
OPTION #3

 

OPTION #4

 

 

THANK YOU FOR YOUR HELP!!! I have just awarded you +100 Internet points.

On Self-Publishing: Getting My Novel to the Masses, Part 2

Continued from Part 1

In preparing to indie pub my novel, Leather to the Corinthians, I did copious amounts of research. It is an incredibly viable path that is continually affirmed by success. It’s never been easier to get your writing out there. The downside is that there is now a lot more competition for readership. The pressure is on, my fellow scribes.

That’s why it’s critical to have pristine copy of the highest quality – even if 50 Shades of Crap is fantastically poor writing. Remove the dollar signs from your starry eyes and examine why it is that you want to write. More than likely, you have a love of literature and have read many fine authors – and would like to join their ranks. Or perhaps you simply enjoy the role of storyteller. Perhaps you are an artist with words.

None of these aspirations can be found in 50 Shades. It’s a fluke.

I have a book that I wrote. There’s a lot of time invested in it. There’s a reason that I wrote it, and there’s a reason that I want people to read it. And I want it to be the best it can possibly be.

So I hired a professional to evaluate, edit, and proofread my manuscript. I met with her yesterday, and at the very least it was empowering.

I have expressed my inner doubts many times on this blog. I was going into the meeting with nervous expectation, and I was not sure what the diagnosis was going to be. Whatever form it would take, the feedback would be coming from a neutral third party whose work will ultimately be represented by mine through proxy. If my book sucked, she was going to tell me – and as all she does is work with writers and manuscripts, I knew that she would have much to compare it to. I did not pay her to tell me she liked it. I paid her to tell me why people might not like it.

I shouldn’t be so tough on myself, because she loved it. She got it. She knew ways to improve it. By the end of the meeting I felt better about my work than I have in a long time. I think I have something here.

The best news was finding out that there aren’t any deep foundational issues with the manuscript. No massive rewrites. If my book was a house, I need to move the furniture a little, hang up a couple of new pictures, and maybe pound a nail or two into a loose board.

I don’t have to tear out the plumbing or replace the roof.

Thank god for that, because I don’t know if I could do it. I have been through this manuscript far too many times. I’d probably just throw it out and start over. Glad that is not the case.

Some things that she identified that might help you as well:

Back-story – my characters need a bit more context. As surreal as the story’s world setting can be, my cast needs some support for motivation and action. Not much, just a few nuggets here and there will do the trick.

Repetitive language – I use “he said” and “she said” too much. I need to get more descriptive with my language when it comes to the dialogue. I heartily agree, my journalism background and my time in education (writing feedback) have caused me to be concise and efficient in my writing. It’s very difficult for me to switch gears for fiction. Prior to my work experience, my writing was very whiz-bang and super snappy. I’ve somewhat strangle that muse with my career path.

Syntax – a few times I took the hard road. I get awkward. Gotta tune that up.

With regards to the target market, much of what I listed yesterday ended up in her list as well. I took this as a sign that we are literally on the same page.

For Genre Categories, she identified the book as:

Truly, it is all of these things…which may be why I always have a hard time explaining it to people, ha!

With the genre and demographic information in place, I now have to plan for how the marketing for the book will go down. More research ahead for me, I’m afraid. I’ll be documenting my process here.

So now, I have go and pound a few nails in. Once I have the new content and the proofreading is done, we’ll shift to an administrative phase, and get all the paperwork in place. I’m also setting myself up as a publisher and I need a logo. If anyone wants to help me create it let me know. I’m going with ROOM 1331 for my publishing imprint. Please send me some sketches! I might be able to throw a few bucks your way.

On Self-publishing, Writing my Novel, and Finding Inspiration: Part 1 of 5

This was posted on the wall of my personal Facebook yesterday:

Skimming through your blog, more specifically Leather to the Corinthians. Everything you’ve posted was f@#!ing unreal. Is it getting published? Cause I would buy that shit in a heartbeat. I would buy 10, and give them to friends to spread the word. You’re working on something special, good sir. – Nick E.

Talk about fuel for the fire! As I get closer to publishing my book, I get more excited with every step. But, it’s been an arduous and painful trek so far. Over a series of posts, I’m going to review my history with self-publishing and why I should never have even bothered with sending query letters to agents. Screw those people. F@#! ‘em in the ear. Call me!

My first foray into authoring books was my epic space opera, War of the Worlds. I wrote, illustrated, and published this single edition, single copy masterpiece in the third grade. I know that there is no reason why I should still have it, but here it is. I have also managed to hold onto a Cro-mags t-shirt I bought in 1986. Strange what follows you. As for the book, I have no idea what was on the cover, which sucks.

Making that book was a powerful experience. I was an avid reader – still am – and I loved to draw. To do something that was my own, to own the story – that was the stuff. I was locked in.

From that point on, I scribbled out little comics and stories. Those have all disappeared. They are out in the ether. Gone forever. Created and destroyed by time. But throughout that time, I made my stories for myself, and aside from the kid sitting next to me in 5th hour Geography, I was the only reader of those stories. Essentially, I was a medieval scribe.

It wasn’t until high school that I discovered the concept of the APA – Amateur Press Association.

If you’re not familiar with these, basically it worked like this: 40 people (or however many) would decide to create a collaborative publication. They would put in stories, comics, illustrations, whatever. Each member contributes their part. Then a Master Collator puts them together, and sends one out to each of the 40 members. 40 copies, that’s it. Just for the club.

MIND-BLOWING. What an idea. In 1987, this was a bold new idea. And with the technology at the time it was put together with Xerox machines and snail mail. This was wild stuff.

Unfortunately, I was not able to get into an APA, but I read the copies of a friend who was a major contributor. I loved the DIY aspect to it. Way cooler than bookstore mass-produced bullshit. It should also come to no surprise that I was very much into American Hardcore Punk at the time, and that scene was filled with fanzines, posters, stickers, and other self-published material – music not withstanding.

Here were people that weren’t trying to get big, get noticed, market and promote on a massive scale. They just wanted to speak their minds, create, and share it with like-minded folk. Sure it was great to get a name, get gigs, and get a following. They just weren’t prostituting themselves, and they were taking the means of production into their own hands. No gatekeepers, no agents, no minimum profitability. FREEDOM.

What was going to be my thing? WTF could I do? Due to a rocky teenage period, which included heavy socializing and experimentation, ahem, I had lost connection with my muse. But I still wanted to CREATE, I just wasn’t sure what that creation might look like. It wasn’t until college that I would begin to find my inspiration…

See you in Part Two (when I decide to become a journalist and where you will meet the mysterious Mr. P! and his Damn Dog.)