Cleaning house for 2018…

It really is close enough to just call this year done, isn’t it?

This year isn’t quite done, and I’ve still got a lot of work ahead of me, but I thought I would take a moment and be a little better at updating than I have been…

…since my last post was my wedding day. In February. Oops.

Just a reminder that you can also follow my shenanigans on the Facebook page.

But on with the wrapup for 2018:

November 3
Just a couple weeks away, you will find me in Albion at Stirling Books. There will be six authors in total and should be a good time for all. Horror, romance, fantasy, all ages, get your read on!

November 11
The Monroe County Library System is hosting Writers on the River 2018. I will be there with a literal horde of authors, and you should join us! Authors from all walks (including a couple of my favorites) will be representing their books. This may be one of the last chances for you to get something wonderful for your favorite reader before the holidays are upon us.

November 17
The lovely people at the Scriptorium in Clawson have given me the opportunity to take over their delightful store for the afternoon. I’ll have my books on hand, and who knows what else will be happening that day, but I will be there and you should join me. At 2pm, I will be turning my reign of the store over to the imagination and talent of Andrew Lark. It would only benefit you to stick around and get his book too.
THIS IS MY LAST APPEARANCE IN 2018.

And for those of you who have patiently waited for my next novel, I can tell you now: The wait is almost over.

Threshold, a story that has been worming its way around my brain for years (literal years) is finally out, working through the process of edits, and getting everything polished. Threshold will be available for pre-order soon and will release on February 14, 2019. (Yes, there’s a reason I picked that day. I may even explain why at some point.)

Between now and then, I will be looking for a handful of brave souls to be my advance readership to make sure the book is ready for the general public. If you are interested, reach out and let me know. I’m looking for a few dedicated readers, and you may be expected to respond to a survey after, but you will be rewarded as well. More on this in the future.

I will have a short preview of Threshold at all of my November events for you to take home and hold close. A hope to cling to through the winter, if you will.

Now also seems as good a time as any to shamelessly promote my wife’s constant and reality-defying ability to take my stray and problematic storytelling and turn it into something people can actually enjoy. She’s worked with a number of wonderful authors and is always interested in meeting more delightful authors to work with (more work means more reading, right?). You can find out more at Just Ducky Editing.

And with that, I can start throwing dust covers on 2018…

Oh! The places we’ll go…

We are just over a week away from NerdCon in Portland, MI. If you haven’t had an opportunity to check out NerdCon and all of it’s wonderful offerings, please do so.

In the meantime, I felt like now is a proper time to remind you of all the other wonderful events that I will take part in for the rest of the year. You can also find all of this information at any time on my Events page.

August 12, 2017  Portland, MI
NerdCon – Author Panel  11:00am – 11:45am
NerdCon – Table  12:00pm – 4:00pm

September 10, 2017  Ann Arbor, MI
Kerrytown Bookfest  10:00am – 5:00pm

October 22, 2017  Clawson, MI
Books & Authors  11:00am – 5:00pm

December TBD, 2017  Lake Orion, MI
Giving Season Author Fair  1:00pm – 4:00pm

I am also working on a potential three events that are not listed yet. They’ll likely popup sometime in the last quarter (October – December) and I’m very excited to tell you about them… but I’m not going to until they are official.

I know, the anticipation is overwhelming.

No one talks about the research…

Actually, they do. Lots of them do. I tend to avoid those conversations because I don’t like to be distracted by research. A lot of my stories tend to be based on anecdotal experience and not proven facts, because that is how I live. My experiences are my own, even when other people have them as well.

In fact, there’s been more than one time in my life where I have that “I thought it was just me” moment. Sometimes it is a blessing, sometimes it is a bummer. Depends on the situation.

But research is both. I hate having to take the time away from the flow of my writing to look up that one word or object or something that I *need* for this part of the story. But it usually isn’t something I can just skip over, either. Maybe it has something to do with the fact that I’m a pantser (as in they who fly by the seat of) and not a prepper. I don’t do the research ahead of time. I brew stories in my head, and when they start boiling over, they go onto the paper.

I’ve tried to explain this to more than a few people over the years and often, I’ve gotten that same look from people. You know the one, it says, “That seems like an awful way to do things.” And maybe they are right, but this is how it has always worked for me.

I don’t say that as in “this is how it’s always been, why should i change?” I have tried many different ways of writing. This process works best for me. But I digress…

I just finished the first draft on an 8k story submission and thought I would share the things I bothered to stop and look up. Mostly because I find it fascinating all the things that come together in a story:

  • Population density in cities
  • Average square space of a city
  • Emergency first aid
  • Symptoms of blood loss
  • Handyman tasks
  • Storefronts (pictures of)
  • Blinds
  • Leaded glass
  • Grip tape
  • Firefighter’s helmet
  • Fire ax
  • Ax or axe
  • Work shirts
  • Padlocks
  • a host of synonyms and antonyms after the fact

…and I’ll be honest, a majority of this research was all for minute details for a single scene. A ridiculous amount of detail that most people will simply move past as the tension builds. I’m not offended, it’s what has to happen.

Writing, like filmmaking, is supposed to look easy. You want the audience to think about the story, not the amount of work you put into it. If they’ve been thinking about how much research you did to come up with that one object a secondary character is holding, then they’ve lost the story and you’ve lost them.

Anyway, I hope to have more news on this story in the near future. For now, you’ll have to be entertained by your own imagination.

An End of Things…

Happy Halloween!

We’re quickly tying up a number of things around here: October, At Calendar’s End, the year itself… and with October drawing to a close today, there is often another event right on its heels: NaNoWriMo.

The usual 30 days of writing madness has been a staple in my life for many years. Most notably, the last four years have presented me with manuscripts for my published works. It has been a thrilling and fulfilling event.

And though this is the part where I should tell you that I am anticipating the stroke of midnight, when November 1 begins and my fingers start their furious pace into the manuscript of my next novel…

I have decided instead to not participate in NaNoWriMo this year.

I almost titled this post “Why I am Quitting Nano This Year…” but that’s completely sensational and totally inaccurate. I’m not quitting. I’ll almost certainly be back next year. This is more of an early sabbatical.

The truth is, this year, especially the last couple of months, have been excruciatingly busy and stressful and the last thing I want right now is another stressful month. Also, I’ve proudly gotten to the point where I am writing quite a bit during the rest of the year, so Nano is not my only writing time during the year.

I will still be writing in November, and I may find, by some miracle, that I still crank out fifty thousand words. I won’t complain if that happens. But I’m taking an official break from NaNoWriMo this year so that I can concentrate on all the other things on my docket.

Tomorrow, by the way, is not only the start of NaNoWriMo but the next installment of At Calendar’s End. And when NaNoWriMo ends, I’ll be finishing off the series. I can’t tell you how satisfying that will be… maybe more for me than the readers.

I should also be receiving the results from NYC Midnight’s Flash Fiction Round Two soon. Fingers crossed that I will be moving into Round Three for another fast-paced writing adventure.

See? Still plenty in the works.

Happy Halloween. You’ll hear more from me as November starts to upumpkin_gifnfold.

 

Round 2… #flashfictionchallenge

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On top of a glorious Farewell to Summer camping trip, this past weekend was also Round 2 of the NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge.

“But Andy,” You might say to yourself. “What about Round 1’s results?”

I’m glad you asked.

Round 1 went far better than anticipated. In my group of 35 writers, I managed to place 4th. The feedback was bolstering, and I hope to have as good (if not better) news from the judges after Round 2 concludes.

It’s a scary proposition: of 2100 writers, only 300 will move on to Round 3. I’m confident that I submitted my best 1000 words for the challenge, but really all I can do is hope my stories are good enough when compared to the competition.

Keep your fingers crossed for me, I have lots of typing to do before Round 3 starts.

Patience is a Virtue…

But the wait is over.

After a brief delay, the artwork for August has been update – I am currently waiting for Amazon to agree with me. Kindle publishing reflects the new artwork, but Amazon has yet to get the memo.

I just wanted to take time out of our collective day for an art appreciation break. You can click the image to be directed to the Amazon listing.

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A lot can happen in 48 hours…

Just ask Las Vegas.

Oh, nothing so drastic is happening in my life, I assure you. But I have managed to (almost blindly) stumble onto a writing competition, write a short story inside of 48 hours, and submit it for judgment.

The skinny: The NYC Midnight Flash Fiction Challenge 2016 is a competition to create a 1000 word (or less, but certainly not more) story  in 48 hours – based on 3 thematic criteria submitted to contestants at the beginning of the competition. Contestants are divided into groups, each group having their own criteria. After two challenges, the top 5 in each group will move on. I’m hoping to be part of that Top 5, but I have no idea who I am competing against.

Well, that’s not completely true… I’m competing against a lot of people from around the world.

My group represents 20 different states and 5 countries… of which, I am one of 35. Stiff odds already, but then consider that my group is one of 60. My chances of success are diminishing the more I think about numbers, but what can I do?

I can stop thinking about the numbers.

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The fact of the matter is this:

Someone handed me a list of requirements and said, “Hey. Write a story with this stuff in it. Oh, and it’s due in 48 hours.” And I did exactly that. I reached into my brain and pulled out what I think is a pretty good story – especially for the circumstances. I can control nothing else in the situation, so I’m not going to stress about it. I’m going to wait, and I’m going to see what my score is when it comes back.

The optimist in me says, “Hey, you wrote another story. You’ve already won!” I’m going to run with that.