Friday, November 28, 2014

Missing scenes / Happenings In The Outhouse 28-Nov-2014

A few weeks ago, I got to the halfway point in Straight Razor, the second novel in the Central Division Series franchise.  When I later examined my current word count at that point, I was around the 25,000 word mark.

And the goal for this book was between 70-75,000.

Not quite halfway, in my book--and I was fairly good in math, in my late high school years.

I then realized I introduced a lot of leads (AKA red herrings) that would lead the investigative team of Simon Templeton and Kolin Raynes, of the Minneapolis PD Violent Crime Unit (VCU), but forgot to add them into the story.

*insert head slap*

My progress has slowed some, as I examined what should be written in and where.  I truly believe the story will be stronger because of it.

And a hell of a lot more interesting.

Monday, November 24, 2014

What "Stand by Me" taught me about storytelling (go deep and wide with your story)

In 1986, I saw the movie Stand by Me in the theaters.

In those days, I didn't remember seeing any movie trailers or hyped reviews about the movie, but in the small town where I grew up in (strangely enough, it resembled that of the fictional Castle Rock depicted in both the movie and in Stephen King's stories), there wasn't much else to do.

I was fascinated by the story.  Not only was it a tale about four boys who went out into the woods, in search for a dead kid their age, there were subplots upon subplots that not only kept the story interesting, it made for a more richer tale.

Each character in the story had a tale or two to tell.

In the end, when the credits started rolling, the packed theater was shocked when it was revealed that the movie was based on a novella by Stephen King.  I could hear his name being said repeatedly across the entire theater.  It was amazing.

When telling your tale, use some of the lessons that King has used.  Go deep and wide in your storytelling.  Let people know more about your characters.

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Friday, November 21, 2014

New cover for Guest Of Honor / Happenings In The Outhouse 21-Nov-2014

My novelette, Guest of Honor, just got a face-lift.

Here it is:

Pretty cool, huh?

Yesterday morning, I hit the 30K mark on Straight Razor.  My publication goal of January 2015 is looking grim, but never fear, miracles could still happen.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Keep track of all sales (even if they're small)

I've been self-publishing since April 2012, and I've recently been going back through my Amazon sales reports (as well as Kobo's and Smashword's), and putting them all together.

"Mark, how many copies of Guest of Honor have you sold?"

A friend of mine asked me this a few weeks ago, and I honestly couldn't provide an answer.  I could only guess.

If you're going to treat your writing as a business, then you need to keep track of your sales.  Even if you only sell a handful, you still need to know what sells and where.

I've been putting together the data, tweaking the spreadsheet here and there when I think of what's being left out.  Each one will put one together differently.  There is no right or wrong way to do so, as long as you understand it.

Speaking of Guest of Honor, this novelette is currently free on all platforms.  One reviewer even called it "Hitchcock"-like (which I think is way cool!).  Click on this link for a list of retailers where Guest of Honor can be found.  And did I tell you it's free?

Yes, yes it is.  Pick it up today.

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Friday, November 14, 2014

Beholder's Eye available on all platforms / Happenings In The Outhouse 14-Nov-2014

"Minneapolis PD Investigator Kolin Raynes may be new to the job, but that doesn't stop a serial killer from targeting him."

That's the tagline for my thriller novel Beholder's Eye.  And, just this week, it is no longer available only on the Amazon Kindle store.  It's available on all platforms.

In the Barnes and Noble Nook store?  Yes.

How about the iBooks store?  You betcha.

Kobo?  You better believe it.

Smashwords?  Most definitely.

And still on Amazon?  Of course.

Click on this link to take you all of the available platforms.

Speaking of Beholder's Eye, I am around the 28,000 word mark on the first draft to Straight Razor.  This is the second book in the Central Division Series.  This past weekend, I put together a rough mental draft of the third book--this one I will right as soon as the second one is complete.

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Friday, November 7, 2014

Be Nice / Happenings In The Outhouse 07-Nov-2014

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Patrick Swayze, in the 1989 movie Road House, had some great advice when training bar bouncers on how to deal with unruly customers.

"Be nice."

This week, millions of Americans participated in the 2014 Election.  What always strikes me as odd is how mean some people get when their party or their candidate didn't win.  I always sigh relief when the elections are done because the political ads are now over.  All of the mudslinging (from both sides of the aisle) is over.  For the time being.

In life, whether you're a writer or an actor or a factor worker or a fast food cook or whatever you are, one of the best pieces of advice you can do is to be nice towards others.  It's funny how "turning the frown upside down" can change someone's mood.

So remember: be nice.

Thanks, Mr. Swayze.

I finally obtained the cover for the second book in the Central Division Series: Straight Razor.  Here it is.

Also, be sure to stay tuned, as I will be posting a chapter or so from the new novel shortly.  I am currently around the 25,000-page mark.  Or, better yet, subscribe to my newsletter and you won't miss a thing.  (Hint: I might even give some exclusive access to even more chapters, so what are you waiting for?  Click here to subscribe.)