Blogging from A-Z Challenge Plan of Attack!


It’s almost time again for the Blogging from A-Z Challenge, during which I kill myself by attempting to post every day for a month!

A very special thank you to Tossing it Out’s Arlee Bird, founder of the Blogging from A-Z Challenge.  Thanks, Arlee, for coming up with this idea.  Not only do we get to push ourselves, but we often find new and interesting blogs to read and follow along the way.

Once again, I’m blogging to you from beautiful downtown Crapville, Missouri, where I’ll be currently busting my ass at a new job, making myself crazy with schoolwork, and frantically working on the new book!

This year, my posts will be all about Tunerville.  Let’s see if I can involve you in the process without actually telling you what the book is about (someday, just not yet.  Muwahaha!).

I would tell you, but then I'd have to kill you.

I would tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Image:  marin/

I’ll start with this:

I finished the book during NaNoWriMo.  Then I sat on it for a while.  A long while.

Next, I went back and tweaked a few bits here and there.  And after that, I made notes on some of the things I still needed to research before I could finish the damn thing.

Lucky for me, I have a very flexible work schedule, so if I have to meet with someone or have a phone conference, I can do it.  In the meantime, following the example of several writers I know who are vastly more productive than me, I started researching the sequel to Rose’s Hostage.  You might think it presumptuous of me to start on a sequel when I haven’t even published that yet, but if a later work gets out there, I’d like to have something in the bag.  Besides, I like Detectives Pierce and Rossberger, and I want to torture them play with them some more.

Look for several elements to my A-Z posts this coming month.

  • How I am handling the time crunch.
  • My goals with the book.
  • My process—each thing I work on daily, from a technical standpoint.
  • Things I’m having trouble with.

I want to share what it’s like to edit a book with you.  It’s not a glamorous process.  I hope to have the bulk of the work done by the end of the month—hell, I finished writing it in a month; I can do this.  Cake, baby, cake.

Chocolate Cake

Not a lie.

Image:  John Kasawa/

If I can finish most of the editing in a month, perhaps I can start querying before the publishing industry has its annoying August shutdown.  Because between Thanksgiving and the end of January, I might as well forget it then too.

Ah, publishing.  Kind of like banking, only more ruthless.

I also want to apologize for not posting more often.  Hopefully A-Z will get me back into the habit.  Truly, last year sucked more than any year ever.

  1. I lost my job.
  2. Egon left me.  Yes, his loss.  No, you’re not the only one who thinks that.
  3. My heart broke.
  4. My car broke.
  5. My fridge broke.
  6. My bedroom AC broke.

Seriously, it was like a bad country song.  But things are slowly looking up, and hopefully they’ll surpass my wildest expectations in the year to come.  Meanwhile, what better way to get going again than with good blogs and awesome commenters?

Thanks go out to the A-Z Challenge hosts for putting everything together:

Arlee Bird at Tossing It Out
Damyanti Biswas at Amlokiblogs
Alex J. Cavanaugh
Tina Downey at Life is Good
DL Hammons at Cruising Altitude 2.0
Jeremy Hawkins at Retro-Zombie
Shannon Lawrence at The Warrior Muse
Matthew MacNish at The QQQE
Konstanz Silverbow at No Thought 2 Small Tremp at Breakthrough Blogs
Livia Peterson at Leave it to Livia
L. Diane Wolfe at Spunk on a Stick’s Tips
Nicole at The Madlab Post

A Professional Critique and NewBook News

I did something ballsy this week.

I sent Rose’s Hostage to horror writer Brian Keene, who is doing critiques for money.

Yes, it’s perfectly fine for published authors to do this.  Writing books doesn’t pay very well—just scroll to the bottom and check out the link to his post on what being a full-time writer is REALLY like.   But we write because we have to, not because we can.

Brian’s one guy, and he doesn’t do this all the time, because you know, he has his own work to do.  He offered it last year, and I was unable to partake.  Thanks, unemployment.   This time, it coincided with my first full paycheck from NewJob.  Yay!

I pulled another 1,000 words out of the sucker and chopped up some of the chapters before I sent it.  Many of them were too long.  I’ve been reading more lately, as per my New Year’s resolution.  While I read, I notice stuff, like word choices (I can’t stop editing in my head, or headiting—it’s really kind of annoying), chapter length, and crap like that.

Anyway, if you’re a writer, horror or not, you could do worse than to read Brian’s stuff.  He’s good.  I respect his opinion, and I’m both elated and terrified as I anticipate receiving my undoubtedly heavily red-inked manuscript back.  Dear Baby Jesus, please let him like it.

You’ve been letting me down lately. Get on the ball, kid.

Image: Jeffrey C. Cann / Wikimedia Commons

I met Brian and fellow horror scribe John Hornor Jacobs at VisionCon (see my post “Geek Heaven”), where they introduced me to the Gross-Out contest.   John’s got a terrific zombie book out called This Dark Earth.  If you like The Walking Dead (I do; I’m totally addicted now.  Thank you, Netflix!), you might want to take a look at it.

Okay, shameless plugs aside, hanging out with other writers and getting them to look at your work, even if they charge for their expertise –WHICH THEY SHOULD!!!—is a valuable thing.  Certainly worth more than the Samsung Galaxy S II I was planning on buying instead.

Want want want…aaaaahhhh….prepaid smartphone *drooool*

Want want want…aaaaahhhh….prepaid smartphone *drooool*


No matter what dear Mr. Keene says about my book, there will be lessons I can carry forward.  I’m doing the first rewrite of my new novel right now (well, not right this second—I’m probably going to watch a few episodes of Red Dwarf tonight.  Yeah, I’m into that now.  Thanks again, Netflix.)  First thing would be to shut off the damn streaming and work.  The inner boss is much harsher than the outer one.



Image: fotographic1980 /

Speaking of it, I promised you a little more information about NewBook, and here it is.  It’s called Tunerville, and it has something to do with the paranormal.  No, there are no vampires.  One of the main characters does something that turns the world upside down.  I hope I can get it up to snuff so you can read it someday.

I’m still not ready to reveal my hook just yet; as I said in an earlier post, a lot of changes could happen, especially in this first rewrite.  I don’t want to get you all excited and then drop you like an old shoe.  That wouldn’t be fair.  By the time the Blogging from A-Z Challenge rolls around, I should be farther along.  So stay tuned.

I will say this:  my first rewrite is reminding me how much I really like this part of writing.  First drafts can be fun if they flow like Rose’s Hostage did, but Tunerville was a real bitch-kitty.  Let’s hope the rest of the process is a bit easier.

And there is some material in there that will, if it gets published, undoubtedly brand me a heretic and a heathen.  Bring it on.  As Robin Williams once said, God has a sense of humor—just look at a platypus.

Okay, I’m going now.  Two hours of skating this morning and two lessons froze my brain as well as my feet.  See you around.

I’ll leave you with a fabulous song from The Hobbit, which I have chosen for my Adult Bronze test program.  Enjoy.