Tickling the Ivories on Deviant Earth

I’ve been tapping away at some early scenes in Deviant Earth’s first book (formerly Excision, currently titled Scrap Parts) This is a book I wrote damn near 90k words in a few years back and barely left the first third of the plot I’d written down. It was bloated, but this feels leaner and meaner.

That said, I think I’m going to immediately jump in and tweak a few things. I kinda want it to be a blend of magic and cyberpunk, when it was originally just post-zombie-outbreak fiction with some mutations and different kinds of zombies, like flying ones. I’m going to keep what I’ve written in a backup folder because I think it’s pretty good. It has the spirit of the original Rankin Flats novels, but it’s going to be much more action packed.

As for what direction the series will take, I think each book will center on a different part of the universe, similar to what I had in mind for Journey of the Caged. It’s still super early yet in the writing phase, but that’s what I’ve plotted out.

If you’re still reading this, sound off. What do you think? Post-apoc magic/cyberpunk, or post-apoc straight adventure?

The meh-est of release days

It’s weird not being able to talk about successes but I can say this. For the first time since 2016, I have launched the second in a series and that should feel pretty damn good. It went live today, it’s getting decent page counts, and that’s about it. I like the work, don’t get me wrong. There are some late scenes that are pretty good. Not among my best, but as a whole, it’s solid.

But apart from some good days here and there, I’ve felt nothing for my writing lately. That’s not a depression thing. It happens in every job. There are days when you just get through stuff. That’s where I’m at. No ice cream for this one. There hasn’t been ice cream for the last… oh, fifteen releases. I’ve been a busy beaver but I’m past that point of buying myself a cheap bottle of champagne and a tub of ice cream for a book finished. Now it’s a nap, edits, release, and then back to the grindstone.

Someday something will land. Or it won’t, but I’ll have tried.

Break the Castle update

I made some serious progress tonight with Break the Castle by finally deciding screw it, this thing needs to be written. The big problem is its middle third. It is both at once bloated and not bloated enough. In the hands of a better writer, it would be a full-blown novel, but it doesn’t feel right that way.

I hit a real snag when I realized I was introducing an important scene far too soon. I had it plotted out as happening in the 70k range, when it looks like it’ll be happening around the 50k mark. This leaves the last third of the novel to fill up an absolutely stupid amount of the 100k mark I hoped to hit (that’s usually my mark for most my novels – GAHB and Smyle are noticeably larger, while For All the SIns is far shorter).

But in all honesty, maybe this will work better as a shorter length novel. Maybe I can find a way to punch up the fight scenes and fill them out, or do more character dialogue. There’s also the mater of a subplot I abandoned and which might make a return at some point. I’m not sure.

In any case, 6k tonight on it isn’t bad at all. To date, the first book in the series has two or three reviews and about as many buys, which I still don’t understand in a way that kind of broke my spirits for a year or so. But I want to see this story through to its fourth book, at least. And with a second, I can start to do advertising for the first in a more aggressive way, so maybe there’s hope left.

RIP Dusty Hill

Gutted today over Dusty Hill’s passing. I love ZZ Top in just about any era, but especially their seventies and early eighties work. Their cover of Sixteen Tons is and always will be my mental “theme song” of the Seven Heroes series. So much of their music influenced the Rankin Flats stuff too – Just Got Paid, Sleeping Bag, Sharp Dressed Man…

Absolute legend. RIP, sir.

Small wins

I’ll make this one quick, but I wanted to share two things that make me happy this week. First, my pseudonym writing has netted me a small cash prize, something I celebrated over the weekend by buying – in typical Cam fashion – cheese popcorn and cherry Danish-style things from Winco. I’ve also been seeing a sharp uptick in KU numbers this month, which will be nice.

Second, Beast was called “real old-school horror” in a positive review on Amazon, which I particularly loved since that’s exactly what I was going for. Been a while since I had a text review on one of my books, so I had to share that.

Hope everybody’s doing well. Getting a lot written, not much to talk about.

Goodbye to Ariama

I have unpublished Journey of the Caged, and that breaks my heart. But it’s not up to the standards I want.

To Nao, Gavrien, Lennox, and all the rest, I love you so much. You rode in the back of my mind for a decade and change, and I’m thankful I finally got a chance to tell your story. I’m sorry it wasn’t as good as you deserve.

Today sucks.

Of monsters and love

There’s a story in this upcoming collection I keep going round and round with in my head. It’s called Pumpkin, and it’s a relatively simple short story I won’t spoil here, because I’m drawing closer and closer to the release. But I’m comfortable saying this – it’s not so much an actual horror story as it is a story about fear. Not fear of monsters (though there is one), but of putting yourself out there and trusting someone with who you are. It’s not a terribly complex story, but it’s a good one.

And that’s something I’m struggling with, weird as it sounds. My brain tells me it needs to fit better with the collection thematically, but my heart is telling me it’s the perfect go-home story, and that’s probably where it will land (I’ll want some reader opinions on the order first, as I have ideas but it’s not set in stone).

End Pieces will be a strange collection. The title will be deceptive, but there’s a purpose to that, I think. Right now, it’s looking like three novellas and two short stories.

After that, I don’t know what comes next, except that I’m really itching to try my hand again at the story I used to call the Extraordinary Ordinary until I realized someone had a novel already titled that. It’ll be written under a pseudonym but I won’t hide who it is. I just think it’s the sort of thing that is different enough to garner a whole different audience, and I don’t want them to confuse the good nature of that book with my more adult work.

Forever Lands forever gone?

I keep thinking about removing Forever Lands from being offered on Amazon. I don’t know why, except all the times I roll over that novel when I’m looking through my sales figures, it sorta depresses me. I think that book and its failure to invite any readership whatsoever was the start of my current two-year long bad mojo.

I don’t know. It doesn’t really hurt anything being in circulation, but I know it’s not everyone’s cup of tea. Let’s face it starting off a book with a child being transformed into a monster probably wasn’t the smartest move. And I seriously misjudged people’s desire to read a fantasy novel that was both a little different and a whole hell of a lot slimmer. Plus, it’s also just kind of bad.

In any case, if you want it, grab it now. I keep leaning in the direction of taking it down, and I think I’m one bad mood from doing it.