It’s a great writing blog with a TON of awesome articles by working authors. Go comment and book mark it. I’ll be there once a month.
Alright kiddos, gather round. Today we have Steven Shrewsberry stopping by to entertain you. Put on your raincoats in the first four rows, this might get messy.
I met Steven at Fandom Fest where I was privileged to not only lift a glass of moonshine with him (and Brady Allen and John Hartness) but to also sit and discuss the late, great Robert E. Howard with him and Brady Allen. It was a blast. Steven is a helluva guy. He writes some kick ass sword and sorcery as well as kick ass horror. I loved HAWG, OVERKILL, and THRALL and highly recommend them. Steven has promised me a story for THUNDER ON THE BATTLEFIELD, the sword and sorcery anthology I’m editing for Seventh Star Press for next year and, by Crom I plan to hold him to it!
So kick back and listen as he tells you about creating a new story.
A CREATION THING
As a guest blogger, I’ll try to behave and not wreck the place or wipe anything on the curtains as I go. Much. I’m author, Steven L. Shrewsbury, by the way, writer of sword & sorcery hardcore horror and a good dad, so I hear.
I’m enjoying going through the third draft of a novel. There seem to be so many folks doubting themselves or unsure of how they should approach things. Just do it, well, it cannot be that simple all the time, of course, but getting after it, yeah, do it. I like it. I feel good about it. I’m not filled with doubt, worry if I’ll offend anyone or any of that manure. It feels right. Now, that isn’t valid in every scenario in life, but this time, I feel the burn. It’s warm.
At times, I smile at things I write, stuff I forgot in the earlier drafts. There are times I have qualms that I wrote it at all. But that doesn’t scare me. Then there are the moments of passion, or outright Christmas morning glee when everything hooks up and the answers are revealed. Those are the times I feel it, I feel something, or someone in my mind. Maybe it’s my higher self, or my low-life, baser self, conducting an orchestra of the mad. Whatever the cheesy application, it’s damned good to listen to. It burns through the darkness and light splashes on the page. Does it smell like victory or just a mental napalm barbecue with legions of victims? Dunno.
All writers have a God complex. Some fess up to it but others whack off against the idea for eternity. It’s a creation thing, some are weirder or more obsessive than others. Some, their balls never drop and they work their jaws in discussion on a topic instead of working it out in a tale. Others, spread it out too much and the money shot gets old after a spell. Today, though, I looked at what I made. And it was good.
Why do writers write? That’s a complex one for a panel, but frankly, my answer has always been because I have to. Not out of financial need, but really that the tales must come out. I’ve been telling tales since I started re-fighting the battle of Jericho in my sandbox as a kid. Granted, Joshua didn’t have part off a Navarone play set and the will o’God behind him together, but I’ve always had the urge to relate a story. Many a tale is told easily and others have a terrible habit of torturing me for years. This novel I’m brushing up about a Confederate in his 90s facing a band of maniacs the Coen brothers would love is killer, at least to me, anyways, and it came out right. It isn’t S&S, and while parts are horrific, it is more survivalist/thriller, but I hate labels. Someday, I’ll share with the class.
Someday, someone will read this book and tell me it blows chunks. They may say they didn’t care for it, it wasn’t their kind of thing or, it fell short of what I must’ve had in mind. That’s okay as well. I told the story. It exists. It belongs to no one else. Those who cannot try can bite me. There are people that bitch to God about the weather, their taxes and why a platypus lays eggs. Today, I’m God. If only for a little while.
I’m sure He understands.
Okay. First of all, thank you all for hanging out and waiting for me to show up. Whew I have been busy.
Here’s what has been going on.
I had TIMEGATE which was awesome. I saw the always awesome Jackson Pearce for just a few minutes, met Debbie Viguie and got to hang out with her, which was awesome and awe inspiring. She is hella nice and a NYT Bestselling author. We found that we see things really closely to each other and got on great! Her husband is a tough SOB too. He fell Friday night in the shower and spent the rest of the con in a wheelchair and popping tylenol to make his ELEVEN panels (which he did) then on Monday they go and discover HIS ARM WAS BROKEN THE WHOLE TIME. Wow.
Also met The Mad Norwegen Lars from Mad Norweigen Press. Did some opinionating about Doctor Who on panels and met Caitlin Blackwood and David Nykl. The Missus got their autographs. And any con I can have her with me is a better con experience.
(plus there is a super secret project in the works that I am BESIDE MYSELF that is in development. I know that is a tease, but trust me, it is huge and I will spill as soon as I can)
Now on to CON CAROLINAS!!!
Con Carolinas rocked my face off! I had a great time.
I also made new friends. John Hartness (my brother from another mother. Buy His Shit!) Amazon keeps linking us together and now I know why. He writes a ton of stuff but check out his BUBBA THE MONSTER HUNTER books. It’s Larry The Cable Guy meets Harry Dresden.
A special mention is Rachel Aaron. Firstly she is awesomely nice. But secondly she wrote a Blog that is amazing!
It’s not a gimmick, not a trick. It’s just a common sense way to double or triple (or quintuple) your word count.
The weather was lovely. I sold a ton of books, met a ton of folks, did some GREAT panels and have some stories to tell……another day.
Tomorrow I will try to blog about the AWESOME THINGS FANS HAVE DONE and THE 11PM AND 12AM PANELS FROM THE LOONY BIN
I am audi 5000.
Keep on reaching my Loyals and True Believers.
Loyals and True Believers,
Let me talk to you about covers. Now when an author gets signed and a book is going live it needs a cover. Cover art is very important. It is the first thing a reader sees and it is the thing, oftentimes, that determines whether someone even buys the book in the first place. It should hook the reader, informing them about the nuances of the story inside. A picture is worth a thousand words? Hell, put that picture on a cover and it becomes worth 80,000 words.
An authors get no say in the cover at all.
Generally, the author will see the cover before you, but we don’t get to speak to it at all or to make any changes. I got lucky. I was sent model pictures for Deacon to choose from and was allowed to give a description of what I might like for cover one. Then the absolutely kick ass Gene Mollica (click here to see his site!) went and crafted the awesome cover to BLOOD AND BULLETS. I was real happy.
Then came the cover for e-novella 1 THAT THING AT THE ZOO. This one was put together by Lou Malcangi and the art department at Kensington. I REALLY like the cover tot he e-novella and think it is super stellar considering there is ZERO budget on e-novella covers.
It came time to do the cover for SPIDER’S LULLABY (e-novella 2 out July 2012) and Lou and the boys delivered again! Here is the cover in all it’s glory.
This story follows Deacon, Tiff, and Charlotte in a battle to save something held precious by Charlotte from the hands of an ex-yakuza assassin with a demon on his back. Mayhem, gunplay, and Were-spiders!
So now fast forward. I was given the chance to pop over another cover description/idea sheet and became friends through social media with Gene himself. We chatted and he began work on the cover for BLOOD AND SILVER (book 2 out in August of 2012). A while later Gene dropped me a line and told me he had finished the cover and was really happy with it. I contacted John and he was going to send it over for me to see.
Then the mail came.
In it was a package of cover flats for book 2. The Missus opened it and called me. She described it and I got excited. Then I came home and saw it for myself.
HOLY SHIZNACKIE BATMAN!
I love this cover. I cannot stop staring at it. I mean damn, I love cover one, but this one really resonates with me. So enough with the yapping, here it is:
See? It. Is. AWESOME!
And Gene said I could use it however I want to promo so you will be seeing wallpapers for your computer and other items. I’m going to hang it on my wall.
Well kids, it’s that time of the year again. That’s right, it is creeping up on Halloween time. All Hallow’s Eve, Samhain, Dia De Los Muertos… whatever you are celebrating it is all about the dead. This year, round here it’s all about the undead.
Ah, zombies. Whether they shuffle, shamble, run, or crawl everybody loves zombies. There is a lot of zombie fever around the Casa De La Tuck lately too.
First of all, my twisted zombie love story called “He Stopped Loving Her Today” is now out in ONE BUCK ZOMBIES. You can buy it everywhere e-books are sold in whatever format you need and all for ONE BUCK! (that’s right folks, it’s not just a clever title.) Not only do you get my chunk of undead deliciousness (which I am extremely proud of BTW) you also get four more stories full of zombies.
And look at this gorgeous zombie cover.
Here is what the first review says about this:
-“One Buck Horror has done it again. Five squirmy, creative, scary, bloody horror tales, these featuring the monster du jour, zombies! . . . particularly “He Stopped Loving Her Today” . . . . certainly deliver enough chills and lip-chewing fear to make this collection more than worth the cost. ” –
Here are the links:
Oh man this is a good book! And such a cool concept that I am still pissed that I didn’t come up with it first! It’s like 24 mixed with zombies. It is truly off-the-chain.
Plus I have been watching DEATH VALLEY on MTV. Listen, if you haven’t been tuning in then you are really missing out. This show is GOLD I am telling you. It’s COPS mixed with zombies, werewolves, and vampires. It’s also funny, just a dash of RENO 911 to break the monotony. It is truly an awesome show.
And on Sunday we have the return of one of the best zombie shows EVER MADE IN THE WORLD EVER! What else could I be talking about but THE WALKING DEAD on AMC. I mean really, the Tuck house is so freaking excited for Sunday night it is insane. Yes the show veered away from the comic book at the end, but I am fine with that because what they gave us was high quality. And Me, The Missus, and The Son had the chance to see a WALKING DEAD panel at Dragoncon and it was one of the best panels. All the adults from the show ditched since it was first thing Monday morning, leaving all the kids from the show to handle the panel all by themselves. Let me tell you something, those kids rocked it. They were funny, charming, and highly entertaining.
All this zombie fever has me in the mood to write some more zombie stuff. I now have 2 pages of notes on a new series about a Zombie Response Tactical Unit…so when I finish Book 3 of Deacon Chalk (titled BLOOD AND MAGICK) as well as the other two e-novellas in the series I just may be writing some brain splattering fun for you!
Wow, so many incredible authors have given me the honor of blurbing BLOOD AND BULLETS. I am stunned. And absolutely thrilled. I thought I would share them, unedited, with you today.
(Blubs get edited down dramatically to the literary equivilant of a soundbite!)
“A dark, damaged, lonely man takes on the undead underworld and the monsters who live in it. Deacon Chalk kicks monster ass!” –
Faith Hunter -author of the Jane Yellowrock series and the Rogue Mage series
“BLOOD AND BULLETS certainly lives up to its name. Sort of a cross between Kill Bill and From Dusk Till Dawn, James R. Tuck’s debut novel delivers a fast-paced, action-filled story that kicks off his new series with a bang. Literally. This is not your daughter’s vampire book! There are no brooding, star-crossed lovers (sparkly or otherwise), no sexy vampires searching for their soul mates. Tuck gets back to basics in a world where monsters are evil and someone has to kill them. Enter the hero: a tattooed and tortured gun-slinging, vampire-slaying bad ass. If Dirty Harry and Anita Blake had a love child, he would be Deacon Chalk. I was hooked from the beginning to the end! Ladies, if Dark Urban Fantasy is not your cup of tea, then buy it for the man in your life. It’s an action movie in print and the guys will love it!”
Jenna Maclaine– Author of the Cin Craven series of books
“BLOOD AND BULLETS is bursting at the seams with picture-painting language and satisfying surprises. Deacon Chalk is so vividly drawn you can almost reach out and stroke his goatee. Rapid fire action never stops, and Deacon’s irresistible voice propels you along for the ride. When I finished this book I was out of breath!”
Annabel Joseph– Bestselling author of Club Mephisto and many other fine titles.
“Blood & Bullets is a straight-up meat ‘n potatoes testosterone ass-kicker that delivers you thrills, chills, and kills with a rock-steady hand, unblinking eye, and no mercy for the things that go bump in the night. If you’re hungry for supernatural adventure free of trembling romance or are SICK of sad vampires, mainline this book RIGHT NOW – Deacon Chalk is the Charles Bronson of urban fantasy, guaranteed 100% BS-free.
Relentless, vicious, and yet with a core of genuine humanity the monsters can’t touch – Deacon’s a man pushed to the edge by the forces of darkness, and instead of falling in, he’s chosen to PUSH BACK in spectacular fashion…
If you’ve got a vampire bothering your daughter, call in Mr. Chalk – within fifteen minutes, you’ll be sweeping the vampire out the door with a broom.”
Matt R. Jones– Author of the Hollywood Vampires series.
“Excellent book, fast pace, brutal, a roller coaster adrenaline ride and you don’t even have to get off the sofa to experience it.
Deacon Chalk is who the monsters are afraid of!”
Adrienne Wilder – Author of the City Of Dragons series and the Darwin’s Theory series
Go, click links, buy books. I’ll be over here swooning. 🙂
So I am knee-deep in revising the first draft of book two. It’s going well. I am about 1/3 of the way in and restructuring sentences so they are active and not passive, making dialog more realistic and believable, and fleshing out scenes by adding to them or dropping back story in entertaining anecdotes given by Deacon Chalk, the MC and narrator.
So I hit a part where I have to write a completely new chapter to insert. I had this scene as a sum up at the beginning of the next chapter and, at the suggestion of one of the members of my writing group, I am pulling it and making it a full scene all on its own.
I think I started it too early. I have them walking down a corridor to a car, when I need to cut back to them being at the car.
And this is where revising gets brutal. I LIKE what I wrote for this chapter. It’s good stuff. I am describing characters injuries and giving insights to them and it is cool.
But it is not the right place to start this chapter and therein lies the rub.
So now I get to yank it and rewrite it. But you have to be willing to do this very thing. It makes your story stronger. You have to teeter on the edge of loving your words and being willing to bash them to pieces with a sledgehammer. When you revise you should be cutting words and sentences and even whole chapters/characters/subplots. You should also be adding, but cutting should happen over and over again. Without mercy.
I know when I am not in the headspace for revision because I read my first draft and don’t change anything for a whole paragraph. I know myself and while I write a pretty decent first draft, if I go to revise and I am not changing at least one out of every four sentences then I am not in the right headspace. It’s not because I wrote that brilliantly the first time. Nope. Hell, there are some passages I write that in revision EVERY sentence gets reworded or cut completely. It has to be done.
Why? BECAUSE EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING, EVERYTHING MUST PAY FOR ITS TIME ON THE PAGE. Every word, every sentence, every paragraph, every chapter, every character, every plot, every everything. If it does not further the plot or develop the character then it has to be cut. If you do not cut it you are leaving word cancer that will metastasis and kill your manuscript.
Be brutal and revise like you mean it.