It’s That Time of Year Again

It never seems to fail.

By about this time every year, I find myself strapped for cash and it lasts right into the new year. This time around it’s not exactly a shock considering the day job didn’t work out, but even when I was working three day jobs, by the end of October/beginning of November I’d be starting to feel the crunch.

So, I figure it’s a good time to remind everyone of the various ways you can give me money.

The most obvious way is to buy one of my books! I’ve got quite the selection going, something for everyone if you tend to like the creepy, disturbing, and/or scary. You can find the whole list here, but I have a few I’d like to highlight.

Come to the Rocks–From Nine Star Press, this novelette is the closest I’ve come to a love story, so naturally it happens between a mermaid and a woman being stalked by her ex-boyfriend.

Gone Missing–One of my first self-publishing ventures, this novella concerns a town of missing people who start to go missing.

Yearly–My best-seller. A collection of 12 short stories, one for each month of the year.

Spirited in Spite–This is a fun one that came from a failed NaNo novel. It’s one that I think deserves a little more love.

The Haunting of the Woodlow Boys–This is one of my stories that I absolutely love, but it’s gotten so little attention! Please. I beg of you. Give this one a read.

And as always, if you do buy and read, please leave a review! It helps other people find my work. More eyes, more dimes. Or something like that.

If you’re looking for something with some commitment and membership perks, then become a patron! Murderville is my current Patreon project that’s scheduled to go for five “seasons”. Two seasons are already done. Season 3 will start next year. $1 an “episode” lets you read. $2 an episode lets you read, plus you get a bonus every other month.

I’ve also got a little feature called Writing for Tips. I’ve got a selection of free stories here on the blog for your enjoyment and if you feel compelled, you can drop a dollar in the ol’ tip jar.

And if you don’t feel at all like reading, or you’ve already read and raved about everything I have to offer, you can always just buy me a coffee or two.

It’s been a not great year, but I’m getting my groove back and I’m hoping to have some new projects coming out soon. Also, I hope to find a new day job that’s more compatible. But until then, every little bit helps and is very much appreciated.

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We’ve Already Discussed This. Writing Is Work.

“Are you coming with us?”

“I can’t. I gotta work. I’ve got 2,500 words to write for NaNo.”

“That’s not work.”

It was a throw away comment in a conversation I had earlier this week, a dismissal of my excuse not to go more than anything, but it still stuck in my skin like a barb.

That’s not work.

I’ve already discussed this, probably more than once, in the time I’ve been writing with the intent to make a profit, but I suppose I should say it again for the people in back.

Writing is work.

The prevailing idea is that if something doesn’t get you a regular paycheck, then it can’t be work. Unfortunately for many of us pursuing some sort of creative field like writing or art, we don’t get regular paychecks. Honestly, we would like to. We’d like to be paid a fair wage, dollars per hour for the work that we do. We’d like that regular weekly or bi-weekly paycheck like so many other jobs provide.

But the reality is that we don’t get that.

And because we don’t, there’s this myth that what we do isn’t work.

It is.

It’s the most frustrating kind of work in this capitalistic society because we will put in a ton of effort on a project that might never yield one cent for us. A story or a novel that never sells. An article that languishes in pitch hell. And even if we do get paid, rarely is it ever fair compensation comparable to the amount of work put into it.

There’s also this idea that because we set our own hours and/or work from home that writing is not work. It’s actually more work when you think about it. How easy is your job when you’re constantly interrupted by the people around you? How long does it take you to get one task done when people keep stopping by your desk to chat? How easy is it for you to get back into your groove? How frustrating is it when you lose that groove ten minutes later because they’re back again?

Yeah. That’s my reality when I’m trying to write.

Writing is work. Yes, I have to hold day jobs from time to time and I currently don’t have one, but my ultimate goal is to comfortably support myself by writing and writing alone. I want writing to be my only full-time job. I wish for it to be my career.

No, it is not backbreaking, sweaty labor. No, I don’t have to leave my house to do it. No, I don’t have a boss in the traditional sense. And no, I don’t get that regular paycheck.

But I earn every penny I make from it. It is work. It is MY work.

Now don’t make me say it again.

Flirting With the Idea of Freelancing

Several of my Twitter friends are writers. Some of them are freelancers. It’s interesting to watch their trials and frustrations, victories and successes. Because freelancing mystifies me.

Okay. Maybe that’s an overwrought way to put it. The truth is, though, that the idea of freelancing both intrigues and scares me. Sometimes I think I could do it until I remember that you need clips and pitches and whatnot. Then I’m absolutely certain that I could never.

It’s a push-pull thing. I look into it. I think about it. And I always talk myself out of it. I convince myself that I have no idea what I’m doing and would do it all wrong and would never get a piece accepted anywhere.

I’ve always been my own worst enemy.

Watching my Twitter friends talk about it, though, makes it a little more accessible. The idea of it anyway. They help to demystify the whole thing for me. I see what they do and what they go through. Their struggles do nothing to dissuade my interest. I’m used to struggle. It’s just my own hang-ups that I can’t get past.

There’s also the small matter of what I’d write about. I’m not qualified to write about anything. Hell, if blogging had requirements, I’d never meet them. And then, of course, there’s what I would write about if I were remotely qualified. I can’t imagine hot takes on old TV shows would find much of a market. No different from my fictional writing life, really. I write what folks don’t want to read.

Still, despite all of this, I think about it. I look into it. I ruminate over it a while before talking myself out of it, only to reconsider the idea later. It’s a tired cycle. One day, I might actually give it a legitimate shot.

Until then, I flirt.

I’m terrible at flirting.

November Writing Projects–It’s NaNo Time

Hard lessons have been learned this year, ones that I do not wish to repeat. So for this year’s NaNo, I’m going write Season 4 and Season 5 of Murderville. With the first drafts done, I won’t have to worry about having the same struggle with them that I had with Season 3 this past year. They’re both outlined and ready to go, though I have a feeling that writing Season 4 may possibly be easier than writing Season 5. We’ll see.

Though this will eliminate a repeat of this past summer, NaNo will not be without its struggles. My productivity has been shit for various reasons all year. Writing at least 2,000 words a day used to be easy. Now I can’t say that. I may be finding my old groove, but this still looks pretty daunting to me.

I’m also faced with the possibility that the two novellas combined might not hit 50,000 words. Season 3 clocked in at less than 25,000 words (I’m not exactly happy with that, but that’s another rant) and I’m worried that there could be a repeat of that during NaNo, most likely with Season 5.

Fingers crossed, kids.

It’s been a while since NaNo has been hard.

But it’s not the only thing happening this month. The teaser episode of Season 3 of Murderville goes live on November 13th. If you want a sneak preview into what’s coming for the residents of Munsterville next year, become a patron! $1 an episode let’s you read. $2 an episode let’s you read and gets you swell bonus content every other month.

It’s All Up Here (But I Just Can’t Reach It)

My brains are scrambled eggs.

I’ve been saying this for months now. It’s like my grey matter has gone all tilt-a-whirl. I cannot grasp a thought.

Oh, they’re in there. I know. I can have them. But I can’t hold them. I can’t grasp them and focus on them and turn them into something practical and real. And this is frustrating because if memory serves, I used to be able to do this on a daily basis without too much trouble.

I thought this concentration/focus issue was part of the fatigue and exhaustion that went with the anemia. I thought once the anemia was under control, my brain would revert to its natural state, the chaotic hellscape that I’m used to. Then I thought maybe it was the stress of the day job, but that’s gone now, too. And the elusive ether of my mind remains.

Okay, it’s still overly-poetic, but maybe not as bad as it was. It’s still very frustrating, though. It’s like I can’t see anything up there. I feel like I need to empty my head out on a table so I can sort through all of the junk in that storage bin and organize it. I know that it would be in my best interest to take a minute (or 60) and do just that. Write down all of the ideas in my head, all of the projects, all of the blog posts, all of the free-floating To Do List items that never seem to make it farther from a notion so I really can see it all.

But I keep putting it off in favor of…something else. Anything else. My procrastination game lately has been the best of my life, for sure.

What I really need is a break. A week of isolation so I can straighten myself out. Get my mind right, find my center, stop distracting myself, diffuse this brain static I seem to be suffering from.

What I really have is no opportunity for that. Instead, I’m going to have to fix this mess on the fly.

Live dangerously.

Rerun Junkie–Reboots of Reruns

Reboots of TV shows aren’t new. The New Monkees, The New Adam-12, The New Odd Couple, The New Gidget, The New Perry Mason, which aired while the old Perry Mason, Raymond Burr, was starring in Ironside, which would later be rebooted in 2013. Oh, and there’s reportedly another Perry Mason reboot in the works. From Dragnet to Kojak, Love Boat to Fantasy Island, Dark Shadows to Mission: Impossible, reboots have always been a thing.

I’ve changed my stance on reboots somewhat. As much as I would love for the people in charge to stop dipping into the pop culture well of yesterday and instead invest in fresh ideas written and performed by those not necessarily straight, white, cis, and mostly male, I’m no longer screaming about the originals that are being rebooted as being untouchable and sacrosanct.

Why?

The reboots are not for me.

If the reboots were for me, they’d just put the reruns on. I mean I love shows that went off the air before I was born. But. Why can’t they be redone, updated, and polished for a new audience? It worked for Battlestar Galactica. The original ran only one season, written off as a hokey Star Wars rip-off, though it was followed by the single-season sequel Galactica 1980. The reboot ran four season, garnered quite a bit of attention and acclaim, and created quite an enthusiastic fanbase. I never got into it as I prefer my Cylons shiny and the bad guy to have a purple light bulb for a head and wear a disco cloak, but even I know that we were all blessed having Richard Hatch back on our TVs on a somewhat regular basis.

I cried foul when it was announced that Hawaii Five-O was being rebooted. But it’s in its ninth season now. The only episodes of it I’ve watched pertain directly to the original (the remake of “Hookman”, Ed Asner’s character from “Wooden Model of a Rat” coming back, their take on “Cocoon” for the season 9 opener) and while I appreciated those episodes and the fact that show goes out of its way to pay such homage and respect to the original, I’ve never felt compelled to watch it on the reg. It’s not for me. But other people enjoy it plenty.

To me, it’s actually a good example of a reboot. The love for the original is plainly visible. The important elements are intact. The stories and cast have been updated, the characters tweaked, but at their core, they’re very familiar.

The reboot of Magnum PI appears to be going in this direction, which makes sense since the guy who developed it also developed the Hawaii Five-0 and MacGyver reboots. I watched the first few episodes, and I think the respect is very much there. No, Magnum doesn’t have a mustache (though there was a mustache reference in the second episode), but he’s still a handsome and charming war vet turned private investigator and all-around do-gooder and at his core, that’s who Magnum is. There is an unfortunate lack of short-shorts, though. We’re being denied man thighs.

But that’s a personal complaint.

Also greater than the mustache is that this Magnum is Latino. That’s one nice aspect that reboots can provide. Diversity. Yes, there’s always squawking when a male character is recast as a woman (Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica, Kono on Hawaii Five-0, Higgins on Magnum PI), which tells more about the squawkers than it does about the shows. But let’s be real, kids. Television, particularly action and sci-fi shows, are largely sausage fests. There’s nothing wrong with women cast as known characters provided that the characters reflect the change.

Getting non-white actors in those classic roles, too, opens up a world of storytelling provided the change is reflected. There are now new dimensions added because the characters aren’t working what’s considered the default. The reboot of One Day at a Time features a Cuban-American family. Back in the ’80s, The New Odd Couple (not to be confused with the 2015 reboot of The Odd Couple) featured a Black duo played by Ron Glass and Demond Wilson. Reboots also offer the opportunity to create new characters that could be played by non-white, non-male, non-straight, non-cis actors.

Reboots aren’t going away. So long as they can be viewed as a pop culture lure to draw in old fans while creating new, something with a vague scent of money to it, they’re going to keep getting the green light. And some of them are going to be positively horrid bombs that spit all over their source material and they should be rightfully shunned.

But others won’t be. Others will end up being pretty okay. And if we can’t enjoy them, then we should leave them to those that do because we still have the originals.

And if they ever need a consultant, I’m available.

October Writing Projects

It is that time of year again.

Ah, yes.

Time to prep for NaNoWriMo.

And prep I will. But first, I have to finish the revisions on season 3 of Murderville.

Yes, I know. I’ve been working on this forever. Believe me, I feel it, too. Probably more than you. I’d love to be done with it. But it’s a two-fold issue. Number one, the rough draft has required a lot more rewriting than the previous two seasons. Like, I’m redoing a whole section of plot. Yeah. I’m also not thrilled with this and I’m not exactly sure what the hell I was thinking when I both outlined this and wrote the first draft.

On the plus side, I got a nice little side thing that happened in the first draft that I didn’t anticipate and it’s been nice to sort of bring that out and shine it up a little.

The second issue I’ve been having is with my mental health lately. My brains are scrambled eggs. While a lot of my energy issues resolved themselves when I started the iron pills for my anemia, my concentration is still shit in a lot of ways. I’m thinking it’s the usual culprits anxiety and/or depression. Leaning towards the former.

Anyway. It’s been a struggle to get through some days let alone a couple of pages of revisions. I’m going to attempt to step things up and try to push myself back to what I was doing before I was derailed about this time last year when the anemia started to worsen and I thought it was just me being lazy. I used to be able to revise entire “episodes” in one day. I need to get back to that.

Especially with NaNoWriMo looming.

2,000 words a day just doesn’t happen.

But what did happen? We hit another goal over on the Murderville Patreon. All patrons have been enjoying their reward and later this month, $2 patrons will be enjoying a bonus in the form of a cryptic poem dropping hints about season 3. Become a patron and get in on the goodies.