The Horizon

After each release, I get deflated. Steam whistles out of my joints, my brain shimmies to a halt, my fingers become indecisive. Floff! That’s me for stint. Don’t worry, I’m not slacking off or anything. There’s always more to do. It becomes a matter of prioritising based on necessity.

Then, after a week or two of recuperation, my eyes lift up from where I am and start looking at where I’m going. I have to make a decision for the future. I have to look to the horizon and plan where I’m going.

I have to answer that burning question, “What’s next, Jez?

Do I continue with the Paranormology series? Do I resurrect some of my older works and bring them up to speed? Well, both of those prospects are tempting, but I’ve decided to give that funky cephalopod a bit of love.

That’s right! Tedrick Gritswell is getting another book. And why not? He’s a hero. He has an assist-kick to help him. He has escaped the clutches of the Abyss. He’s only just getting started!

This time around I won’t be using KDP. I found it too restrictive, too cumbersome. I didn’t really enjoy the advantages touted and, frankly, I prefer Smashwords.

Of course, I’ll want to get a jump on the front cover as early as possible, but I’m not sure how that’s going to look yet. I’ve only got the skeleton of the story sketched out, and I’m still changing that around to suit.

In a nutshell, it’s more octopus fun for me.

Next in Paranormology – Portsmouth Avenue Ghost

It’s official: the next in Paranormology sees our protagonist accompany the Professor to Exeter, following up on a potential lead involving a wealthy widow and a mysterious medium. I finished the second draft just now – coffee down, have a stretch, crack of the knuckles and back to it, Jez.

Naturally there’s the drama between the Professor and the Gypsy – neither appreciates the other’s presence. The protagonist is caught in the middle, being young and idealistic.

There’s the theme of the optimism of youth, and it helps in a few spots, yet the premise is related to controlling one’s emotions. Sound vague? Of course. I’m not going to spell out the premise, that’s the book’s job.

I don’t think I’ll be doing the whole KDP thing again on this one. Firstly, it wouldn’t be fair to those who have the rest of the Paranormology series on Kobo, iTunes, Barnes and Noble, etc. Secondly, I really like Smashwords as a publisher! They’ve got the author as their focus, not profits, and they make it easy to do just about anything. I’m cool with that.

As for the cover, I’ve got a particular house in mind that I pass by every day on the way home from work. It’s over in Essendon and I’m thinking I might want to ask for permission from the home owner first before I stand outside like a creepy guy and take happy-snaps of the house… Yeah, maybe I’ll do that.

Don’t know how I’m going to approach it, but. “Hey, hi. You don’t know me and, well, I don’t know you, but I was wondering if I could take pictures of your house…”

Hmm.

I’ll let you know how it goes.

What’s next, Jez?

I’ve been quiet since releasing Part 6, I know, and I’m sorry. Don’t think I’m sitting around, twiddling my thumbs, though. Not me, that’s not how I roll.

Sure, I had a couple of days of down-time to recuperate, get my head away from the checklists and shout-outs and double-checking and distribution that comes with a new book. That was fun.

But after a bit the brain gets itchy, the fingers get twitchy and it’s time to start writing again. I picked up on the next in the Paranormology Series, tentatively titled “Portsmouth Avenue Ghost” and got cracking at it. The funny part is that the first draft is almost done.

How is that funny?

It’s funny because I had the overwhelming notion to stop. Jam my foot hard on the brake. Deploy the parachute. Why? Because it was going too fast. Now that’s something you don’t hear everyday, a writer lamenting that the book is coming along too quickly, but it’ true. I wasn’t unhappy with the story, in fact I’m quite chuffed.

So why slow down? Quality, man, quality. The skeleton is there, with good fleshy bits hanging off it and some hair and skin – I’ll fill in the rest later – but stories have a need to sit and ferment, stew in their own juices as it were. If you push it too fast, you can miss out on developing subtle features like a character’s growth or a location’s description, on the bits that make the story that much more interesting. I’ve done it before – neglected to rest the story that is – and I have been unhappy with the outcome.

Not this time. This time I have forced made notes to myself in the text, parked it for future reference so that the next time I read over it, it will be like reading the story for the first time. Or, if you rather, like reading the story as someone else.

You might then think that I actually have been twiddling my thumbs. After all, I’m not writing, right? Nothing could be farther from the truth. I’m midway through another book, on a very different tangent altogether.

Running under a kind of crop-rotation theory, I figured that too much working the Paranormology angle will exhaust and weaken it. I’ve only just finished up with Sci-Fi, hence that needs a rest. So I’m going for the ‘Weird Fiction’ angle, in a similar vein to The Bullet and Atlas, Broken.

Hot Dog! What’s it about?

I’d like to tell you, but I can’t. Not yet, anyway, not until I’ve got the first draft done and I’m happy with it. I can drop a few hints, though.

First, it’s a detective novel. Think first person, film noir. “Gee. Thanks, Jez. That narrows it down some.”

Secondly, it has a distinct nautical or aquatic theme. There’s murder and mystery and good old fashioned skulduggery.

Thirdly, the characters are relatable, but certainly not ordinary.

Too much of a teaser? Sorry. Like Portsmouth, I don’t want to rush this one. Once the first draft is complete, I’ll let it rest a bit. In that time, I’ll be getting the front cover done. My plan is to use my Wacom to make the sketches and watercolouring and shading and whatnot. Come to think of it, I’m really excited about that. More on that when it comes, I guess.

In the meantime, I’m afraid you’ll just have to bear with me as I plod along. First draft has been scheduled for completion by March 30th and so far, it’s on track. Well, it would be if I wasn’t spending time writing blog posts.

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