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My Experiment

Writing itself is an experiment and I’m coming at it from three different vantage points at the moment.

It Has Begun.

1. I’m writing a novel.

2. I’m querying a novel.

3. I’m promoting two novels.

Three stages of a novel’s lifecycle. And, these three stages force a different interpretation and relationship with the story and how it’s built, simultaneously.

Those three stages have to convince three different types of customers to become interested in each story.

Let’s start with the last in the list but the first to have been imagined. The promotion of a story. A practice in patience and persistance. Yes, writing a long project is already a test of one’s ability to push through disinterest and frustration. Well, wait until you ask the public, all 300 million of them, to care about your measely little story. Disinterest and frustration abound. How many sales? Reads and likes? Are they following? The excitement of positive reviews is tempered like your flaming sword dipped in the water of cold hard fact. The fact that you’ll have to continue to chase readers.

Don’t worry this will hold true for your entire career.

Hated dating?

This is dating.

But will the story work and pull the reader in where they can begin the journey in the first place? Let’s hope.

Promoting the story, finding all the different ways to excite interest and test the quickest of log lines. The most enticing juicy morsels. Details readers will love. Are those the gooey bits that will set the spell and encourage the reader to read? maybe.

Querying. Oh, boy. The saviest, most ruthless audience you will ever approach. The only reader besides yourself that will assess your book on whether it can save their life.

I mean it.

Your book will save their life. And your own. Working for a living means the chances taken, the risks, are real. The next time you complain about whether you get a rejection or not, ask yourself if you wrote something that another person will stake their livelihood on. It’s what you’re asking of an agent. That will follow onto the publisher.

Don’t get too high on yourself, you’re not the only one they are selling but each drop fills the bucket…

So, come to the realization: you’ve worked and worked to write something that might convince a savvy mercenary that you and your silly idea are worth throwing in with your lot. That, my friends, is the job.

Lastly, writing the novel. This journey involves convincing yourself that it is worth the effort and frustration to attack a silly story about things that don’t exist to forge beauty and truth. Or is it that truth is beauty, beauty: truth. Continue cutting, shaping and shining this jewel until someone can’t look away if they lay their eyes on it. Make the story sing the spell and you’ll have convinced yourself to finish it.

Then, you’ll do that to the story many more times. That tale will reflect not your fair visage but the grand world in your audience’s eyes through your filter.

After simply achieving the spun gold produced by the toil of demi-gods, you will pull out a single thread in an attempt to convince someone else to love it as much as you do. By winning the trust of the few individuals who guard the keep, you will use that thread to convince everyone (EVERYONE) – well people who like to read – but all the people – with better things to do in their lives than look at your embarrassing little trinket.

The long and short of it? Convince yourself. Convince someone else. Then convince a bunch more people that your bauble will give them the joy and wonder they seek.

Do it well enough and you’ve earned the right to do it all over again.

If you’ve ever climbed a mountain, you know that once you’ve reached the top, it’s kinda cool. Nice view and all. A little rest. Some water. A snack.

You climb back down.

Then you do it again if you can convince yourself that it’s worth it.


Try ’em, you’ll like it.

California Hustle cover and link
Reaping Independence cover and link

California Hustle Release!

I rolled out California Hustle on August 1 and the response has been terrific!

It is incredibly gratifying to hear from readers about how they love the twists, the characters and the ending of this caper.

What’s all it about?

“A gripping tale.” “Entertaining and Hilarious!”

California Hustle is a high stakes con, a stunning Southern California beach read filled with exquisite playas, astonishing twists and a set of endearing criminals you can’t help but love.

Grigsby adores The Con. There’s nothing better than a good hustle. The ins and outs. The improvisation. Ask any athlete. Eventually, you get too old. Reflexes slow. Agility diminishes. Decision-making decays.

So, after a string of bad luck, Grigsby’s afraid he’s aged out of the only thing that matters: the game.

But when his massive debts come due and his college age kids become collateral, Grigsby must learn a new trick and score in the biggest scam of his life: Going mostly legit with an extraordinary mix of film festival, pop-up start-up and the seat of his pants.

CALIFORNIA HUSTLE is a fun ride.

If you”re in the mood for a ride, do it here: https://amzn.to/3qqtDRm

Why Indie?

It starts with a story.

It always starts with a story!

Last night I was communicating with a bookstore about where they can get my book. They wanted to stock it on their shelves and on their website. At the same time, right next to that email, I received an answer to an agent’s full request for a different book from earlier in the year. Back when I received the original request I was excited. Someone other than critique partners and writing groups would read my manuscript. That’s fun.

I knew the response could be a positive or negative but that request was a progression in the process.

A sign post.

Then crickets. And more crickets. I followed up with this agent and received no response.

In short, I wrote the whole thing off. Non-responsive = Bad Partner. Bullet dodged.

Then comes this answer six months after I flushed the whole experience. A form rejection.

I’ll ask you: which was the better interaction? The dismissal and disinterest or the engagement and real interest?

I know which is healthier.

Look, I’ve been in business for myself for over twenty years. I probably have trust issues for all sorts of reasons. I’m going to offer a hard earned piece of advice that is true for relationships of the business and personal persuasion. If they are bad on the first date, once you’re attached… Forget it.

In any case, I decided to go for it.

I’m not going to say I’ll sell a bunch or even any of my books. However, I bet I will sell some.

What happens next is the real reason I told the big story – the novel – the book: for people to experience it. I don’t know about you but my muses expect an audience.

I can only speak from my own, very recent, experience. Ruminating on my immediate reaction to preparing and publishing, I came to a realization. It released me. The process released me from all of the searching and worrying and hoping that the querying process put me through.

I am back in control of my story, my book and my dreams. I’ve sold some books and gotten some solid customer reviews and that’s gratifying. I’m not done pushing my story of Kwynn and Co. or chasing big publishers but I’m growing and learning about other parts of the process.

The rest is as Agent Kate McKean so eloquently puts it is ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ .
(She talks about this today here.)

Go for it. My story deserves to meet other people’s imaginations. Self-publication is a bunch of work and not the end of the frustration. ‘Going Indie’ is simply a different fork in the road. A good story needs people. This story deserves to see the light of day not the inside of a drawer.

Like that kid who believes in magic, I took a deep breath and sent those dandelion seeds out on the wind.

If you’d like to buy my book, it’s on Amazon and will hit Bookshop.org shortly.

If you like my ramblings, you should subscribe. I do this once in awhile.

Inspirations

One of the ways I like to look at the world are through inspirations. Moments, thoughts and ideas that give me a taste of delight. Songs, books, stories and shows.

It’s terrific when someone’s writing I respect and find inspiring writes about something I, too, find worth cogitating on. You know, that mental chewing that usually creates a little more than you started with.

Annalee Newitz is a writer whose book, Autonomous, had an affect on Reaping Independence.

But. They discuss another book (and tv show) that also had an affect on how I thought about the book and world in Reaping Independence. Here’s the post: https://buttondown.email/thehypothesis/archive/the-singularity-is-officially-over/

William Gibson, of course, and cyberpunk and Neuromancer – but also, importantly, The Periperal. The show is rolling right now and I’ve started it but the book opened some doors for me in ways I’d forgotten until I watched the show. Ouroboros, you know. Circle of life. Creation and destruction.

The destruction of the idea of the singularity isn’t the main piece of my thinking. In fact, I’ve never been convinced in something so uniform. The world is more chaotic and random than to suffer a single unifying force.

Reaping Independence functions on the premise that even with a sentient AI at its center, the individual will break free. Become Independent. Seeds that are planted will be reaped in time.

And often in ways we do not expect or intend.

Really, the punk part that might have been discarded.

I will let the longer piece speak for now, if you’ll give it a chance.

Release Day!

Today marks the release of Reaping Independence. Woohoo!

Today marks the full release of Reaping Independence. What’s it about?

2029. They told her not to do it. She did it anyway.

Now Kwynn’s on the run. From The Directive, her dead father, and herself. She’d like to catch on with the film crew she’s hooked up with and hack a clandestine server here and there but Kwynn has an inkling she’s destined for something bigger.

When power failures spread like wildfire across the West, she discovers it may be that dead father’s sentient servers creating the blackouts. She must break into those computers. However, Kwynn can’t do it alone. She needs a little help from her friends including her guardian gargoyle and a worldwide secret society.

Quest with a traveler, a warrior and a watcher as they befriend gargoyles, run from ‘droids, expose secrets, escape riots, fight to save L.A. and protect our independence.

Los Angeles may never be the same.

“A nonstop trip of twists and turns. Part cyberpunk, part Coen Brothers.” – An enamored reader

Rock this one if your bookshelves (real & virtual) hold Chuck Wendig’s Wanderers, Annalee Newitz’s Autonomous and John Scalzi’s Head On.

It has the tech of William Gibson and genre-bends like David Mitchell.

“This story’s got everything but the kitchen sink in all the right ways!” – what this dude who read it said.

Go on and read it! It’s available on Amazon in print and e-book.

Buy Reaping Independence on Amazon.

Heat Wave

We are facing a heatwave in California. It’s hot. This one is historic but we face these weather events most summers. These events got me thinking…

https://www.latimes.com/california/story/2022-09-06/here-is-how-long-socals-heat-wave-will-last-and-how-the-forecast-is-slowly-changing

…what if someone wanted to take advantage of a weakened populace. A weakened grid. The system on the edge of collapse. What and how would they do it? In fact, who would do something so inhuman? In fact, I learned more about the grid and its weaknesses.

A technothriller was born. But I couldn’t tell a strictly technical tale. I wanted to tell a story with humor and imagination, with creatures, cultures and characters we could learn about together. #ReapingIndependence is the culmination of that exploration.

Really, there are a lot of ideas behind this rolling quest to discover who was behind a vast manipulation of an entire populace. This part of the quest comes to a conclusion this week. I’m proud of all who have come along. I’d love to have more join – because Saturday concludes…

Episode-arama! I don’t know what else to say. If you like fabulist techothrillers with some heart and humor, you’ll like this story. Give it a ride – befriend a new group of misfits! #ithasbegun #cyberpunk #KindleVella #writerscommunity

Do It!

On the verge of capture, Kwynn, an orphaned hacker, must discover the source of mysterious cyber-attacks on Los Angeles.

But when she discovers she’s the heir apparent to some kind of worldwide cabal of magic do-gooders, Kwynn must learn to forgive her father and trust others, or the fate of the West will fall under the control of rogue AI.

Give Reaping Independence a read – It’s the summer read you need. !AND! it’s set during this week of August 2029 Click and read, peeps. First three are free.

Are you still here?! Good.

It’s getting great reviews. Go start now so you can tell everybody you were the first one to read it. (Bragging Rights!)

Do it! Read Reaping Independence. It’s fun. It’s entertaining. It’s book length. It’s Reaping Independence!

He Who Pulls the Strings is Master

Building | He Who Pulls the Strings is Master | Invitation: Episode 27 dropped today: The last Invitation section’s got a needle drop for all you fans of the Dead Kennedys.

And another needle drop: Murray’s got himself some Infectious Grooves

Reaping Independence is here for your #cyberpunk needs + #scifi + #fantasy + #thrills + #Replicants

Don’t be afraid, give it a try. First ones are free.

.the_bridge

The last episode finished with the match and takes Kwynn…

( #StrikeTheMatch #gusto #BookTwitter #amreading #writingcommmunity #ReapingIndependence #KindleVella )

Strike the Match

to a confrontation on a bridge in #Venice

( #BookTwitter #amreading #writingcommmunity #ReapingIndependence #KindleVella )

https://www.visitveniceca.com/2019/08/15/venice-canals-2/

The Venice Canals

And Glen’s a little frustrated so this thing simply makes matters worse.

( #HiHo #BookTwitter #amreading #writingcommmunity #ReapingIndependence #KindleVella )

Hi Ho!

Come read as Kwynn, a badass orphaned hacker, joins a motley crew to save #LosAngeles from mysterious terrorists.

Start anywhere but read the first 3 free.

#ITHASBEGUN

#BookTwitter #amreading #writingcommmunity #ReapingIndependence #KindleVella

The Stairs

Kwynn finds herself on a very different set of strange stairs in today’s episode. As you know, she’s been hacking where she shouldn’t.

Where to start? Start anywhere but read the first 3 free.

Come read as Kwynn, a badass orphaned hacker, joins a motley crew to save #LosAngeles from mysterious terrorists.

#ITHASBEGUN #cyberpunk #BookTwitter #amreading #writingcommmunity #ReapingIndependence #KindleVella