Rise, resty Muse, my blog’s sweet face survey

Hello and good day!  It’s Thursday again—and it’s a new month, the lusty month of May as the song says—and thus it’s time for a new edition of my blog.

I’m feeling physically rather better than I have for the previous two weeks, which is certainly a good thing in and of itself.  Hopefully that’s a trend that will continue for a while…though of course, it cannot continue forever, for anyone.  Which is fine, too, as far as it goes*.  It had better be fine, because it’s not as though we can do much about it.  There’s no option given us for the amendment of the laws of physics.

I’ve been troubled by a feeling of disquiet and gloom that often comes with not writing any new fiction but instead only editing.  Of course, that sense is probably all tangled up with the fact that I’ve been a bit unwell physically, so I shouldn’t draw too many conclusions.  Still, it’s happened to me before, and the pattern I’ve noticed leads me to say to myself that I’d better always be writing something new if I want to hold the black dog at bay.  If this conclusion is erroneous, at least it’s one that leads me to keep writing, and that’s also a good thing in and of itself.

With that in mind, yesterday I broke down and wrote a new page of fiction.  I decided not to work on the novella I’d recently begun, which is a sort of psycho-supernatural horror story.  I think I’ve done enough horror for a while.  I like it, of course—both to read and to write—but after all, Unanimity is a veeeeeeeeery long supernatural/pseudoscience-fictionish horror story, and Free Range Meat is a short horror story, as have been most of my recent works (though one could argue that Penal Colony is not horror).  I think I need a break, and maybe my readers, such as they are, could use one as well.  With that in mind, I decided to begin a story I’ve been planning for some time:  Neko/Neneko, a modern fable.

What decided me to get writing on it was that I thought of a fun way to open the story (fun for me, anyway).  I’d always known that I was going to begin with the line “Neko was a cat,” because it’s a tautological introduction, if you speak any Japanese, and I found that amusing.  Then, two days ago, it occurred to me that I could turn that opening into a little homage to the beginning of A Christmas Carol, surely one of the most beloved “modern” supernatural stories.  It’s not exactly a fable—there are no non-human animal characters as far as I can recall—but it’s definitely positive and inspiring, and I’ve particularly enjoyed listening to the recording of Patrick Stewart’s live rendition of the tale.

Thus inspired—and driven by internal necessity—I wrote the first page of Neko/Neneko, and I feel good about it.  I don’t want to slow down my editing too much; there’s a great deal of it to do on Unanimity in particular.  I think I’ll stick to no more than one page a day of the new stuff, which is fine because it’s not going to be a terribly long story (you’re welcome).

In the meantime, though I’ve suffered a diminishment of the rate of editing over the last few weeks because of physical ailments, I’m getting back in the saddle, and should be making decent headway.  Of course, Free Range Meat is going to be finished long before Unanimity will be, even though I’m only working on it one day a week.  It’s just so much shorter.  After that, perhaps Unanimity will speed up ever so slightly, or perhaps I’ll start that project about which I’ve been speaking for some time, i.e. the releasing of the short stories from Welcome to Paradox City as individual Kindle editions, as well as creating a second edition of the paperback.  Then, of course, I really want to make a second edition of Mark Red, because there are some minor issues in the layout and whatnot that irk me as I reread it.

Hopefully, I’ll live long enough to get all of this done**, but I guess none of us has any guarantees.  It would be nice if I were able to make enough income from writing to be able to do all this full time.  Then I could make greater and more rapid progress.  Perhaps I should consider joining Patreon or something along those lines (though that might just be depressing).

Better yet, everyone out there could spread the word about my books and stories and encourage your friends and families to buy them.  I know they’re not for everybody—I tend to be a bit dark, though I also tend to try to be a bit funny, too, if only darkly and dorkily—but I think they’re pretty good, and that a lot of people would enjoy them.  And that would certainly be enough of an excuse to have been born as anyone could ever ask for.

TTFN


*Please forgive the sentence fragment.  Actually, is that a sentence fragment?  Does “Which” count as a subject in this case?

**I’m being melodramatic.  I’m in no imminent physical danger of dying in the short term as far as I know.

Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor blog post

Hello and good day to you all.

It’s been a reasonably productive week for me, especially considering that I haven’t felt very well.  I didn’t even write an entry for Iterations of Zero last Sunday, but I’m planning on making up for that by publishing two new posts this coming week—one new and one republished from among works that were previously posted here.

On the other hand, Unanimity has been proceeding at an excellent pace.  On Saturday, April 28th, its first draft passed the quarter-million-word mark.  This will be my longest book so far, even after I pare it ruthlessly down in the editing process.  That’s not a bad thing, though—at least I hope it won’t be.  The story will be as long as it must be.  I’m just the messenger; please don’t shoot me (though you can, if you wish, quote MacBeth and call me “Liar and slave!”).  I’m greatly enjoying writing the book, and that has to be my primary criterion for success.  Obviously, I hope that people will read and enjoy the finished product, but even if I knew without any possible doubt that no one would, I think I’d still write it.

The recording of the audio of Hole for a Heart is complete, and the sound-editing process has begun.  I’ve been forced to re-record some of it due to mic malfunctions during the initial reading, which led to terrible static.  Apparently, once or twice while I read, the microphone cord came partly loose.  The result, when looked at on the waveform-layout, is a terrible progression of spikes, and when you listen…well, you won’t listen, because that’s been deleted and re-recorded.  Trust me, you wouldn’t want to hear it.

I did a little more “voice acting” in this story than in its predecessors, because there are more characters interacting, and there’s a bit more drama and emotion in that interaction.  I worry that I might have hammed it up a bit in places, but at least I enjoyed myself.  The story doesn’t have a happy ending, but then again, it’s a horror short story, so it wouldn’t end happily, would it?  Looking back on my published short stories, only one in three seems to have a “happy” ending, and if you go back in time to earlier works, that ratio drops even farther.  My novels, though, are another matter.  They all end up, more or less, with the good guys having triumphed, at least for the time being.

Unanimity will end on a bittersweet note, though.  Oh, of course, the situation will be resolved, and the dangers will be conquered, but the outcome will still be tragic, and the surviving characters will be scarred by their experiences.  This, unfortunately, is just the way things often are—in life as in fiction.

The next novel I plan to write, on the other hand, is going to be much more upbeat, and probably quite a bit shorter.  I’m not sure which of the stories clamoring about in my head will be released after that.  Eventually, I’m going to write a second book, and then a third, in the saga of Mark Red, but I really want to get other things out first before I return to my young demi-vampire and his friend and mentor, the vampire Morgan.  At some point, I expect also to write my prequel to Son of Man, detailing the back story of the character Michael.  That’s a tale that’s been waiting in my head for at least as long as Son of Man waited.

Of course, sooner or later, I’m going to write the story of my beloved characters The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, originally created in idle drawings, and yet other books lie waiting in between.  Thankfully, I write almost every day, unless I’m feeling quite ill.  I’d love to be able honestly to paraphrase Epicurus and say, “When I get a little time, I write books.  If I have any left over, I work to buy food and clothes.”  Unfortunately, in real life, working to make a living takes up a far bigger chunk of my time than writing does.  And then, of course, I have to sleep, alas.

Finally, as I said previously, I am going to start, probably next week, writing my long-planned series on my favorite villains from literature—from novels, to myths, to legends, to comic books, to movies, and beyond.  Often in fiction (and less often, but far too often, in real life), villains are the ones who set a story in motion.  Without Sauron, The Lord of the Rings would not be worth telling, and Harry Potter’s life would be far less gripping (though probably much more pleasant) had there been no Voldemort.  Villains act while the heroes, more or less, simply react, but both of them, when they’re “good”, teach us about the world and about ourselves.  Perhaps more important, reading about them is fun.

On that note, I’ll bring this blog post to a close.  Thank you all for reading, and please be as well as you can possibly be.

TTFN