Monday, November 13, 2006

Changing Titles

The next book is available for pre-order at www.amazon.com, where it's listed as Unforgiven (the original title). As I mentioned in a previous post, the title is changing to Evil Harvest, but for some reason it made it to Amazon as Unforgiven. To clear up any confusion, they are the same book.

Also, it looks like Cruel Winter is available for order again at www.kensingtonbooks.com.

That's all for now.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

The New Book

Just got word from Kensington that the next book, due out in June 2007, will be titled EVIL HARVEST. My original title was The Unforgiven, but this title apparently brought to mind the Clint Eastwood western of the same name.

To give you a little teaser, EVIL HARVEST is the story of Matt Crowe, a drifter now returning to his hometown of Lincoln after a ten year absence. It won't be a warm welcome for Matt. He's coming home to seek revenge on Rafferty, the chief of police and leader of a clan of murderous shapeshifters. When Matt was a teenager, Rafferty and his followers murdered Matt's family. Matt finds out Rafferty's planning a wholesale slaughter of the townspeople, and with a new-found love interest and a tough ex-marine at his side, Matt will try to stop Rafferty and his band of demons. The odds are overwhelming. The enemy is cunning and vicious. Can Matt survive and put the past to rest once and for all?

Should have cover art soon. I'll post it as soon as I get it.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Been Away Too Long

Okay, the blog has been gathering dust. I admit it. I've been busy working on the second book of the contract with Kensington. It's starting to take off and I'm liking the characters so far. I've been averaging 12-1500 words a day on it. Have a working title, but I'm not crazy about it. As I stated in a previous post, title seem to come on their own, and when you find the right one, you'll know.

Have to go. Kid is due on the school bus any minute.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

The Unforgiven

The Unforgiven is officially being released in June of 2007. The title is most likely going to change before then. That's not a problem. Titles have never been a sticking point with me. I read advice somewhere that you should not begin the book until you know the title. I say, title or not, get the thing written. Something in the book will most likely pop up and suggest a title. Maybe a line of dialogue or a certain setting. I think it's important to have a strong title, but I would never let the absence of one stop me from finishing a draft. We'll see how it all pans out. I submitted some suggestions to Kensington, but for now it remains The Unforgiven.

Monday, June 26, 2006

The "D" Word and the "O" Word

I sent the Unforgiven manuscript to Kensington today. I have an account set up at usps.com and can print postage to deliver packages by Priority Mail. The U.S. Postal service will also set you up with boxes and Priority Mail envelopes if you start an account. Writers who are short on time (that's all of you, isn't it?) might find this service useful. The mail carrier will even come to your house and pick up the package, thereby saving you a wait in line at the post office.

This is my first manuscript submitted under a deadline. I also have a deadline for submitting an outline for the next book. I've never written under a deadline before. I think it's a good thing, although check back with me a week before the thing is due. I may have substantially more gray hair.

Publishers like to see an outline to get an idea of your story, and if it works for them. Some writers hate outlines. Others swear by them. I fall somewhere in the middle. The benefit, at least at the start of a book, of having an outline, is finding out if I have enough material. I start by writing out ideas for scenes, with one scene leading to follow ups. I have done this on index cards and I have done it simply by listing the scenes on a legal pad. My average scene runs 5-7 pages, so I know I'll need at least 80-100 for a novel.

I find that in the writing, the actual outline becomes less important. Characters grow and go off on their own paths. Events that seemed inevitable change. A new character walks on stage. For example, in Cruel Winter, I had planned on Ronnie Winter dying at the hands of the bullies. He managed to survive and the story went in a different direction. With my latest novel, The Unforgiven, a tough female cop named Donna Ricci came onstage, and I had a blast writing about her. I also find, that the best ideas for plot twists and turns seem to happen during composition. These are things I could not have planned out.

There's no one right way. If you like a detailed outline, go with it. Or if you like to shape the story as you go, that's fine too. Whatever gets the job done.

Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Check is in the Mail

Got my first royalty statement from Kensington and was pleasantly surprised. Sprung for Chinese food for the family. Pretty cool.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Contracts on the Way

Got word from my agent that the contracts for the next two books with Kensington are in the mail. Have to say I'm pretty excited. Working on the second book of the contract now and making good progress. The story is gaining momentum and I'm liking it so far.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Finding the Time

As writers, we all lament not having enough time to write. Often people ask when I find the time to write. I would guess most writers are holding down a full time job in addition to writing. That cuts into writing time, as does family, chores, etc. But you don't have to let that stop you. One of the best ways to get writing done is the good old spiral notebook. I wrote the first drafts of two novels in notebooks, mostly on breaks at work. The notebook holds the advantage of being portable, and you don't need a power source or have to wait for the thing to boot up. Say you get two breaks and an hour lunch at work. I would bet instead of catching up on office gossip at the lunch table, you could write three or four rough draft pages. You could also take the notebook to doctor's appointments (you didn't really want to read that copy of Newsweek from 1993, did you?), kids' sports practices, or when you get the oil changed in your vehicle. You get the point. Fifteen minutes here and there doesn't seem like much, but the pages add up. And you've got yourself a first draft when you're done. You can either type it up when the draft is done, or type in the handwritten stuff in the evening. Either way, you're making progress.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Upcoming books

Should have some good news to post very soon regarding the next few books. I will be updating the blog more frequently, and my next goal (along with working on the next novel) is to write a series of articles for the website on how I write books. Stay tuned.

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Fear

I'm convinced that writer's block has more to do with fear than anything else. I remember someone in college telling me they had writer's block and they were waiting for inspiration so they could write. Most likely they were afraid to write. I've got news for you. If you wait for inspiration to strike, you won't get much written. I think we all worry that what we write won't be good enough to impress an editor or an agent or our beloved sainted mothers, or whoever. Or even worse, that we will somehow forget how to write and when we sit down to the page, our minds will turn to pudding.

It's all garbage, of course. Stop worrying about how good your idea is, or who you have to impress. And don't tell people that you can only write on Tuesday during a full moon, and only after you have prayed to the writing gods for inspiration. Write a sentence. Even if it's a bad one. Follow with another. And do you really think you'll forget how to do it? Does a carpenter forget how to swing a hammer? Does a quarterback forget how to throw the bomb? Of course not. Now go write.

Monday, January 23, 2006

Waiting

Currently waiting to hear back from my agent, who is waiting to hear back from Kensington on the next book. It is titled The Unforgiven, and if all goes well, it should be out early 2007.

Also wrote a short story for a Buffalo News contest. The News supplies a paragraph, which must appear in the text, and the goal is to write a mystery around it. It could only be 1500 words, so it was good practice in cutting unnecessary description and exposition.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Good Reads

Just finished reading Red by Jack Ketchum. Highly recommended. Also read Endless Night by Richard Laymon. Both great reads. For aspiring writers, I would also recommend Laymon's A Writer's Tale. It's a great inside look at not only his creative process, but his experiences in the publishing world. There is some insightful info on how he works through a novel, plots, etc. Also a great look at turning an incident into a short story. The book is hard to find. For anyone in the Western New York area, the Buffalo and Erie County Library has a copy of it (signed, no less).

What are some of your good reads lately?

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

Welcome!

Welcome readers! I welcome your comments. Please check back for updates!

Excerpt of Enter the Night

I thought I'd put up an excerpt of my work-in-progress. It's called Enter the Night. The first chapter is below. It combines reali...