Thursday, January 23, 2014

To E(-book) or Not to E(-book)

That is the question I tackle in my latest post over on Authors Electric this month.
I also discuss my dark secret addiction.

Monday, January 13, 2014

My Writing Process Blog Tour

Today is my "My Writing Process" blog tour day, where writers answer questions about their writing process and discuss their current writing processes. Ann Evans, one of my fellow Authors Electric bloggers, invited me to take part in this virtual book tour and posted her entry last week. Ann writes fiction and non-fiction for children and adults. She also teaches creative writing. She is also a freelance writer for a wide range of magazines. Her latest children's book is The Trunk published by Penguin, under the name of S.Carey (scary). It's a cute little pocket book which is part of the Eerie Series. Another of her books, The Beast, published by Usborne has won the Raring2Read category in the Coventry Inspiration Book Awards 2013. Finally, A Tropical Affair, first published by My Weekly, is now out in hardback through Magna and as an ebook on Amazon
I'd very much like to thank Ann for this opportunity, before we get started.
Now on to the tour:
1) What am I working on?
I am working on a few things at the moment. First of all I am drafting the second volume of my Guns of the Waste Land series of novellas, Desolation. This series retells the King Arthur myths as an American Western. I published the first volume, Departure, last year and it has received some good reviews on Amazon.
I am also working on a new edition of my collection of short stories, Emily's Stitches: The Confessions of Thomas Calloway and Other Stories, in an effort to learn Amazon's Createspace publishing platform. This new edition will also inclusde a new story, "Love Ever Yearns," as well as a new poem, "Challenge," both of which were recently published in issues of Newnan-Coweta Magazine.
I am also working on a critical reader of H. P. Lovecraft's work for the University of North Georgia Press. This book will include annotated versions of several of Lovecraft's stories and poems, an abridged version of his essay, Supernatural Nuatural Horror in Literature, and several scholarly articles about Lovecraft's work and interviews with authors about Lovecraft's influence on their own work.
2) How does my work differ from others of its genre?
With Guns, I am unaware of many Westerns that incorporate classic mythology so overtly. I understadn there is a new subgenre of Western, the weird Western, that incorporates elements of the supernatural and horror, the most famous example, would be Stephen King's Dark Tower series, but nothing similar to what I am attempting: telling an age-old story using the tropes of a Western, but without simply retelling Arthurian legend word-for-word, so to speak, just using guns instead of swords or Indians instead of Saxons and Picts. I am trying to make sure that my story maintains its own unique tale, and contributes to the Arthurian canon instead of parotting it.
Emily's Stitches, is a bit different, too. Instead of a series of unconnected, or tangentially connected stories, I have endeavored, in the first two-thirds of the collection, to tell a single, cohesive narrative, but have each of the individual "chapters" stand alone as its own story. Of course, the last third of the book is simply independent of tangentially related stories and poems.
While there are plenty of critical editions of literary titles on the market and an overabundance of Lovecraft collections, there is surprisingly no critical edition of Lovecraft available. The closest we have are a couple of annotated collections. My book hopes to address that lack.
3) Why do I write what I do?
I write stories that I want to read but are not available. When I began Guns, it was because I really wanted to read a Western Arthur story. I couldn't believe no one had done it yet.

I wrote Emily's Stitches because I wanted a good, Southern lit story collection that worked together as a novel. I knwo there are a few collections like this out there, but at the time I wrote it, I couldn't find them. I began it in the mid-nineties, before Google. Thank goodness, or I may not have taken up the project, and I'm pretty damned proud of it.

As I mentioned above, no one has attempted a critical edition of Lovecraft yet. We have acollections of essays, and he have collections of his stories, but no collections of both.
4) How does your writing process work?
Mostly I write in the car. I have a long commute, so I spend a lot of time thinking about where I'm at in the story, where I want to get to, and how I can get there. When I actually do sit down to write, it is a lengthy process. I may only get 500 - 600 words done in a day of writing (1,000 if it's a particualry good day). I begin by re-reading what I last wrote and then I start writing. What takes up the most time, though, is spur-of-the-moment research. For example last week I was writing a scene that takes place in a boy's bedroom, but I had no idea what kind of things would be in the 19th century bedroom of a teenaged boy (I'm sure there were no wodden Xboxes, after all). That research took over an hour, and I found a lot of things, but I couldn't use them all. Then I had to get the wording right, so it took about two hours for me to write four sentences:

They were in what appeared to be a bedroom; after a count of a hundred and no evidence of movement in the rest of the house, Gary Wayne crawled around the single wood-framed rope bed to investigate the room, finding only a few possessions: a sling shot, a sharpening stone, and a tarnished Barlow knife.

“It’s the kid’s room,” he whispered, rummaging under the sagging and faded straw mattress, “This cinches it.” Gary Wayne tossed a heavily thumbed Montgomery Ward catalog on Boris’ side of the bed. It fell open to women’s undergarments.

I prefer to write at night, but this is not always possible given my work schedule. Mostly, I write when I can, where I can. Recently my primary writng place has been my office at work after my Wednesday night class is done.

I also like to have music playing when I write, so I generally make a playlist specific to each piece I'm wriitng. For Emily's Stitches, it was a lot of Tom Petty, Tom Waits, and Tori Amos. I uses a lot of Ennio Morricone, Mark Knopfler, and Brandi Carlile for Guns.

So that's my contribution to the tour. I hope you liked it and found some ideas for your own writing process from it. If not try some of these other stops on the tour:

Chris Longmuir is known mainly as the writer of the Dundee Crime Series, although she has written other things as well. The Dundee Crime Series is contemporary crime, and the first in the series, Night Watcher won the SAWs Pitlochry Award, while the second in the series, Dead Wood, won both the Pitlochry Award and the Dundee International Book Prize.
Read her blog at:

Kathleen Jones writes biography, fiction and poetry and has won several awards for her work. She is both traditionally and independently published. Her partner lives in Italy so she divides her time between Northern England and an olive grove in Tuscany. Kathleen's latest novel, The Sun's Companion, was shortlisted for the Kindle Book Review's 'best historical fiction' of 2013.

Her blog is called 'A Writer's Life' and the link is: