March 15, 2017, 10:10 am
You might notice the banner at the top of the page, unless you're reading this after May 23, 2017. The gist of it is this: If you pre-order Robby the R-Word before its May 23 release, you'll be entered into a contest where three readers will receive a signed copy of one of my other books, Minister of Justice or Deadly Vows.
And honestly, if you live close enough to me, I'll probably sign your copy of Robby, too.
It's the first salvo in the marketing for Robby the R-Word, which, as I think I mentioned, is due out May 23.
Robby will be out in paperback, hardcover and e-book, but it's only the paperback that qualifies for the contest.
Have fun! I look forward to signing a book for you!
Extra incentive: There is a lot of fun stuff in Robby the R-Word, including serial killers, methamphetamine, wheelchairs, Catholic priests, lesbian sex, lot lizards, gentrification, Weeble Wobbles and even a tire thumper or two!
March 9, 2017, 11:23 pm
I haven't even gotten halfway through sending out query letters to agents for Father of Malice. Not only that, but Robby the R-Word is coming out in two months.
I should be working on getting those query letters out. I should be working on doing my part to market Robby. Instead, I have a new idea, and I'm writing on a new book, Slipstream Echo. It's ridiculous. The plot isn't complete in my mind, but it's pretty well developed.
Not going to share details here yet, because they may change, but it's combining two ideas I've had for a very long time, and I think it will end up being a really good book. Which is crazy. Working on a second book before my next one even comes out.
I honestly don't know what's gotten into me. It may be the availability of my WriteEverywhere platform, which means I don't have to be restricted to writing while I'm isolated in my office.
That reminds me, I just watched the most recent episode of Girls on HBO. I have to tell you, other than seeing Lena Dunham naked WAY TOO MUCH, Girls is an excellent series. But this final season feels like they're phoning it in. The characters have become two-dimensional, the plots not at all interesting. But they did have a fun tidbit where two female writers were talking about how male writers need complete quiet and calm to write, which is the exact opposite of me.
I write in the midst of the chaos of a five-year-old and a three-year-old running amok in a house full of dogs, cats, spiders, chickens, a fox, several horses, cows and probably a bunch of stuff I've forgotten. Chaos helps me focus.
And I think I'm writing a book even better than Father of Malice, which I believe is my best book since Robby the R-Word, which I believe is better than Minister of Justice, which I believe is better than Deadly Vows, which I believe is better than most of the crap I've read out there. But I'm humble, you see. Humble, I tell you.
I knew an old lady, who swallowed a fly. I don't know why she swallowed the fly.
March 8, 2017, 8:20 pm
I was barely 18 the first time someone threatened to kill me for something I wrote.
I was "stringing" for a local newspaper (stringing is a word used for those who write articles but are not employees of the paper) in my spare time. So I wrote a crime story about a guy who had smacked his wife around in public.
So the next day, when the story came out in the paper, dude calls me up at the paper and tells me how many different kinds of shit I am and how he's going to find out where I live and take my candy ass apart, piece by piece, until I'm a quivering blob of goo on my front porch.
I've got enough of my dad in me that I took that as a challenge, told him my address and said I'd be waiting for him.
He never showed up.
From that time to this, I can't count the amount of people who have threatened to kill me, smash my face against curbs, burn down my house, do horrible things to my wife, slaughter my family, kick my dogs, it goes on and on. I have a family now, so I don't dish out my address anymore, but it doesn't matter, because no one ever showed up to actually do anything.
I'll be 48 years old in June, which means I've endured 30 solid years of people threatening to murder me.
That doesn't include all the crazy names they've called me, all the unethical shit they've accused me of doing, all the things they've said about every possible aspect of my life. After awhile, it wears thin. My dad in me wants to buck up, track them all down and beat the living shit out of every one of them.
Yesterday, I reported the story of a young lady in a neighboring town who protested the government's treatment of Native Americans and women by sitting out the pledge of allegiance. Well, you would have thought I had kicked Jesus straight in the balls.
I won't get into the details, but I banned a lot of people from my business's Facebook page for threatening the teenage girl with horrible things. And they went on the attack against me. So now they've been calling me names again, threatening me, blah blah blah. I'm tired of it.
But like always, I behave professionally, because that's what I do. It's what I've always done. It's what I'll continue to do. Truth is always the answer for lies. Sigh.
February 15, 2017, 9:21 pm
I heard back from another of the beta readers on Father of Malice today. His exact words:
You are a sick fuck! I am loving this book! Great job!
He isn't done with the book yet, but he's clearly enjoying it, so I'm happy.
February 14, 2017, 9:21 pm
I love to write, but I do not at all enjoy writing query letters, which are the thing authors have to write to attract the attention of agents.
Tonight, I wrote one to my swing-for-the-fences agent—the guy I've always wanted to query but haven't because I didn't feel the previous letters or works were up to snuff.
But even though I wrote the entire novel, Father of Malice, in two weeks (90,000 words), I took that long to write the query letter, which is only around 200 words, because I wanted it to be perfect.
I could sit and nitpick it apart for the next year, and I would probably find something else to change after a year and a day, so tonight, I just sucked it up and sent it to him.
I haven't sent this letter to other agents. If this guy rejects me, I will, but everything about him and his representation is attractive to me, so I'm going to sit on the letter until I hear from him one way or another. Even if he rejects my query.
So wish me luck.
February 10, 2017, 9:09 am
I live in Oklahoma. Yesterday, our governor, Mary Fallin, announced a plan to make up some of the nearly 900-billion-dollar deficit the state faces after incredibly low income tax revenues caused a budget crisis.
So what was her solution? Start imposing sales tax on services statewide.
Services are simple things, like someone tattooing you. Or giving legal advice. Or preparing your taxes. Or painting your house. Or cleaning said house.
Generally, service workers are among the lowest-paid people in our economy. But Fallin wants to force them to increase their prices, not for their benefit, but to make up the gigantic deficit her policies have created—policies such as enormous income tax cuts for wealthy taxpayers and large corporations.
Because, see, the whole idea was if you cut taxes on the rich, they were supposed to in turn make lots of jobs and the entire economy would go through the roof because the rich were no longer paying taxes and had all this money to throw around like a rapper at a strip club.
The only problem is, it never happened. Turns out, rich people like to hang onto their money, which is how they got rich in the first place. Instead of spreading the wealth around, they just kept getting richer—and I don't blame them for that. It's smart on their part.
But now, instead of realizing that she and her cronies in the state house were wrong and reversing the very tax cuts that have caused this gargantuan deficit, Fallin's proposal is to get the money from the poorest people in the state. That's right. Can't go back and tax the rich and huge corporations. Instead, let's increase everyone's cost of living by five percent. Utility rates? Going up by five percent. Funerals? Add five percent. Every service you can think of, under her plan, will increase by five percent, just so Fallin doesn't have to raise taxes on the rich people who got her elected.
This is, starkly, the profound and utter failure of supply-side economics. It does not work. If you stop taxing the rich, the only thing that happens is the government has less money to operate, and it ends up hurting the middle class and the poor. Right now, Oklahoma's schools are all slashing budgets left and right because there's not enough money to run them. Our oldest son's school is only in session four days a week. Other schools have closed altogether.
Because supply-side economics doesn't work. This was what I said when they started implementing it here a decade ago, and now I have been proven right.
Fallin and her Republican cronies control the entire state government. They have no one to blame for this but themselves and their clearly failed policies.
It's time for someone to stand up and say: We let you try this out. It did not work. Time to admit that and reverse the tax breaks for the wealthiest Oklahomans and the huge corporations so the burden of your failure doesn't AGAIN fall upon the already overburdened middle class and poor.
Will that happen? No.
February 10, 2017, 7:07 am
That's my son, Axl, and he's the sweetest boy who has ever lived on this planet. He loves animals more than anything in the world, and every time I eat meat, he goes, "what kind of animal is that, Daddy?" When I tell him, he invariably goes "Gross."
The corndog you see in that picture is a vegan corndog made by Morningstar Farms.
I said all that to say this: The sweetest boy ever still thinks wieners are funny, and he can't help but think it's funny to make his corndog look like a wiener.
I guess it's a guy thing. Our 14-year-old still draws dongs in the dust on my pickup truck. Well, he did until I drew inside one of them his name, followed by a heart, and then picked him up at school in the truck.
Let's face it: wee wees are funny. Well, at least to half the population.
February 8, 2017, 8:20 pm
Funny thing about writing a novel in two weeks: you miss out on your shows.
Speaking of which, have you watched the new MacGyver series? If you love empty calories, this show is right along the lines of Burn Notice. It's goofy, completely unbelievable, most likely scientifically inaccurate, with weak dialog, floppy plot lines and paper-thin characters.
And I love every second of it.
When your brain is tired, sometimes you just want to lean back in your office chair, pull up iTunes and gulp down some metaphorical carbs. That's what I'm doing this very moment. I happen to know some of the science is ganky, because I may or may not have been a science geek at some point, but that doesn't bother me. For all its flaws, this show is FUN, just like its predecessor.
Do yourself a favor. Watch it.
February 6, 2017, 8:08 am
My mother is the reason I ever read Stephen King; she was a huge fan of his from the time his first book, Carrie, came out.
Mom is a brand loyalist, too, meaning once she latches onto something, that's the thing she loves, no matter what, and it never changes, as far as I can tell.
So I sent Father of Malice to her, simply because she's a tough critic of anything I do, and always has been. A lot of people can argue whether that's denigrating to children or pushing them to succeed. I have no idea, but I do know my mother has always been quick to point out the flaws in whatever I'm doing.
Which makes this text message from her utterly shocking:
This is the most frightening book I have ever read, including Stephen King's books.
I generally receive and respond to text messages in the Messages app on my Mac instead of looking at them on my phone, so as I was sitting at my desk and received that message, my jaw literally dropped.
Father of Malice is my first straight-up horror novel, so it was amazing that she had that reaction. I wrote the thing in two weeks (in case you haven't read every other post I've made in the last several weeks), so I expected some harsh criticism to come down from, like I said, my most intense critic. Instead, she later texted this:
I'm almost too scared to read the end.
This book is so freaking awesome!! ... It was meant to be! I always knew your brain was weird, but you have used that bizarre imagination to create a scary book that forces people to think!
Again, jaw-dropping. Of course, it wasn't all praise; she complained about having to read about a cleaning lady at a motel who ultimately ends up having no part in the plot and about a couple of typos that were introduced through autocorrect on my phone. But as far as the actual novel goes, she really loved it and said it terrified her, which are two things I was going for. Several other "beta" readers are looking at it now, so we'll see if they share her opinion.
Next step is sending query letters out to agents, which is so far outside my wheelhouse I'm actually having to spend more time thinking about that than I did the novel itself.
January 31, 2017, 6:18 pm
After a two-week marathon of 5,000 to 6,000 word days, I'm proud to announce that I have finished writing Father of Malice, what I believe to be my best novel yet.
To repeat the plot synopsis:
A snarky big-city newspaper editor gets fired and finds himself having to move to small-town America to get another job. Once there, his new paper discovers a strange cult outside town that worships a mysterious, emaciated man who seems to pop up in whispered tales of horror throughout history.
I initially worried that, by getting caught up in an effort to write a complete novel in half a month, quality of the work would suffer, but going back through it, I can honestly say I'm pleasantly surprised.
I wrapped it all up at 6:13 p.m. tonight.
In this instance, being trapped by being able to only write 80,000 words on the story (I fudged a bit; the final tally is 84,241), I had to actually leave some things out that I wanted to put in. In some previous works, I sometimes struggled to reach the word count and had to really concentrate to not pad it out with nonsense. But in this case, everything just needed to be exactly as long as it was, and though I had to leave some important tangents out, I ended up loving the way it all came together.
So I'll stop talking about it now. I'm sure anyone who reads all the entries below will be glad to hear it's over; I'm done talking about Father of Malice for now.
After all, Robby the R-Word is coming out in May. Concentrate on that for now.
January 31, 2017, 12:00 am
I really want to be done writing Father of Malice before the end of January, which will happen later today. My reason is entirely selfish and stupid: I want to have written a complete novel in two weeks, because I think that would be pretty cool, especially since I've been carrying on my normal routine while doing it, including doing my regular work, playing with the kids, watching TV with the wife, tearing down barns and talking smack to the dogs.
I now have 80,000 words written, which is the typical novel length (and 3,000 more words than are in Robby the R-Word), but the story isn't done yet. It's getting there, but there are a lot of loose threads to tie together before we can get to the knot at the end.
Can I do that in the 5,000 words I can write in the next 24 hours? I'm going to do my dead level best. I wrote around 6,000 words today, so maybe. It doesn't really seem like I've been writing this much, so maybe that means the story is compelling. I feel like there is so much I could put in this story, but publishers tend to frown at really long novels from newish authors, because long novels cost more money to publish.
So I won't add everything I want to add, but there is enough in there to keep it interesting, I think. I hope.
UPDATE: I just did the math, and I've written 30,000 words in the last five days (I was at 50,000 on Jan. 25, five days ago), which means my average is 6,000 words per day over the last five days. That's THREE TIMES my usual output. And the best part is it doesn't feel like I'm writing that many. I'm not doing that at one sitting. The rhythm I've settled into is I'll write some in the morning, then in the evening, when I'm watching TV, I'll write some more, and after the kids have gone to bed, I'll write a little more. Rinse, repeat.