The Book Redesign Project: Wrapup

Yes, the flurry of redesigning and uploading new book covers actually had a project name…hehe.

Anyway, now that all the new print cover files have been uploaded to Createspace, the originals safely backed up, the promotional posts, tweets, whatever, have gone out, and the wait begins as Amazon updates the appropriate files, it feels like the aftermath of a huge party around here. I went to a new level with this project and each step adds to my experience of how to do it better. What’s next while the ramifications of what I’ve accomplished sets in?

Well, that’s easy: work on Lights and Shadows and Parallax: Genesis.

You see, The Writing never stops. It may sputter, it may slow, but it never really stops so long as a single idea burns inside the mind waiting to burst out like the proverbial Xenomorph. Without the Face-Hugger Stage…EW.

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5 Things Everyone Gets Wrong About Cliffhangers

A really good breakdown on a technique that isn’t as easy to employ as most might think.

Christopher Kokoski

Your protagonist dangles precipitatously off the edge of a cliff by two fingers. A mother must choose which one of her kids to save.

Ah, the cliffhanger.

Using a cliffhanger or hook is a powerful way to end individual scenes or collectivechapters in your story.

“Cliffhangers, like little else, infuse writing with narrative tension, almost daring the reader not to flip the page.” – Christopher Kokoski

However, cliffhangers are also rife with misunderstanding and misuse.

In fact, there are five common ways writers consistently mess up with cliffhangers.

Here they are.

The Cliffhanger Snob

Sometimes writers mistakenly believe the cliffhangers lack the artistic sophistication necessary to be used by “real” authors.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

Well my main focus here on my blog is commercial and genre writing, authors of all predilection have relied on this literary device to pump excitement into their work.

In fact, the…

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Lights and Shadows Update #4

Good news in that I managed to break through my block and get to the end of Chapter 9. Now, things should pick up speed, I hope. This excerpt picks up from where the last update leaves off and go straight to the end of the chapter. Enjoy.

“I’ll take that under advisement.” A sliver of fear peeked out through her voice and then hid itself away behind her usual professional demeanor. Killing one’s partner was certainly frowned upon by the AIS, but the rules were somewhat murky where it came to AI infections. The majority of the population believed that once infected, a person was not quite human anymore and therefore not given the same considerations. The status brought the word “zombie” back into fashion briefly, but protests by AI Virus victims’ families put a quick and brutal stop to the craze, making any usage of the term a hate crime punishable by prison time.

She kept a wary eye on Moreau as she retook her seat. To his credit, once the crisis had abated, Moreau returned to his file reading, his eyes not leaving his screen. His ability to turn his emotions on and off both terrified and intrigued her, a combination that disturbed her on more than one level. Disturbed and frightened, though she took great pains to keep that hidden inside herself. “May I ask you a personal question?”

Moreau didn’t look up. “Go ahead.”

“How did you learn how to control your emotions the way you do?”

Moreau tapped his right temple with a finger. “I have an implant connected to my cerebral cortex.”

“Really?”

Moreau sighed. “Of course not. I’ve learned through experience not to let my emotions get away from me. There’s a time and place for everything.” His eyes darted through the text and stopped as a name caught his eye. He went back over his reading. “Gemina Burke.”

“What’s a Gemina Burke?”

“Not a what. A who.” He pushed his seat back. “She’s listed in the records as having visited here about a week before the recorders stopped logging.” He gestured toward her console. “Have you made any headway over there?”

Finch focused her attention back to her work and to her surprise, the infesting code no longer seemed to block her efforts. Within minutes, she managed to access the system permissions and change them to only allow herself and Moreau to control the facility. Her triumphant smile turned to a frown when she accessed the backup outpost records to find them horribly corrupted. “I have bad news, Zack.”

“Bad News seems to be the flavor of the day,” Moreau said. “Let me have it.”

“Most of the backup files are corrupted beyond my ability to repair from here, but I did manage to find one status file that indicates that an experiment was in progress down in the outpost’s main research laboratory. I’ve managed to deactivate the holographic projectors from here to there.”

Moreau stood. “That’s it, then. We head to the lower levels and maybe, just maybe, we finally get some answers to what happened here.”

What Kind of Writer am I?

My profile says Sci-Fi/Adventure Fiction Author and that’s true for the most part. I love writing stories that combine Sci-Fi and Adventure. However, Sci-Fi/Adventure Fiction is merely a label to answer the question that plagued me for many years:

“What kind of fiction do you write?”

I would rather think of myself as a Writer first and my genre second, if at all. Personal preferences aside, I have learned enough over the years to be able to tackle just about any form of literature out there, including pure Literary Fiction should the mood should ever strike me.

The point I am making here is about Labels. Labels serve to define us and what we do. Some are flattering, some not so much. Their purpose tends to matter most when we are trying to market our work to others and I won’t diminish the need to have them around. Hey, I’m trying to sell books too and I have this thing about eating: I like to do it.

The downside with defining labels is that they can pigeonhole you into an area that you may eventually outgrow. Heck, at one point, I considered giving up on Sci-Fi and writing purely Literary works intended to explore the Human Experience. Thankfully, I managed to find a middle ground and take that intended elements and incorporate them into my current chosen genre.

Self-examination is a good thing, but like most things it is best when done in moderation. Over-thinking something can lead to either greater insight or generating reasons to not do it. I prefer the greater insight because it helps me to be a better writer and storyteller.

Anyway, what are your thoughts?

Tuesday Stuff

Apparently yesterday I had one of those long overdue moments of insecurity where I felt I needed to vent. Thankfully, those moments don’t happen very often and today I am back to my usual cheerful and fairly optimistic self. Let’s blame yesterday on Monday and move on, yes?

Welcome to Tuesday, the end result of when Monday finally gets its act together and goes with the program. I have a number of things planned today and getting up early goes a long way toward making it a productive day.

A sleepless night of fussing and fretting jogged some interesting scene ideas loose for Lights and Shadows so I’m incorporating them into Chapter 9. Yes, I’m still working on wrapping up Number 9 but it’s looking really well and the story is moving forward again.

I’ve decided that I will be taking a break after all, but at the end of December after Lights and Shadows is edited, rewritten, and released on Amazon hopefully with a snazzy new cover that better fits the story. I’ve also been reminded that worrying too much does little to solve any given situation and the best remedy is to simply roll up your sleeves and get down to it.

On the Sales Situation, I really can’t do much more than I currently am with regard to generating interest so I’m going to stick with I do best: writing kickass SciFi/Adventure that I’m proud to share with you all. As long as I don’t give up, the good stuff will come with time and that’s all any of us can ask for.

I had some time to think about my Writing Schedule, so here’s a brief listing. This is a preliminary schedule so it’s possible that adjustments may be made, but I wouldn’t worry about that too much:

1. Lights and Shadows: On track for early December 2015 release. The story’s been planned and plotted already so I just have to write it.

2. Parallax: Genesis: Book #2 of the Parallax Trilogy will be written during the First Quarter 2016 and released by March 2016. This installment will continue Pratt and Dubois’ adventures and will feature a glimpse of 2223 Earth. Should be an interesting time.

3. Future Finders: A standalone book that is set in The Present and will center around Michael Grey, a young playboy who is forced to grow up and assume some new responsibilities when he inherits more than his industrialist father. The novel will feature secret societies and an ancient enemy out for revenge. This book is planned for Second Quarter 2016 and should be available by June 2016.

4. Parallax: Darkfall: The final book in the Parallax Trilogy, where Pratt finally confronts the aliens that have made his life SO much of a laugh fest up to this point. This will be written during the Third Quarter 2016 and should be available by September 2016.

5. Falling Stars: Another story that I have been trying to finish for a VERY long time. All I will say about this one is that it involves time travel and is set within the same world as my novelettes, Corona, and The Three Safeties, but different locations and  with different characters and situations. In fact, this story is the one that inspired both Corona and The Three Safeties in the first place even though they were ultimately finished first. Funny how these things happen.

6. Past Prologue: This is a planned sequel to Falling Stars that will finish out the Last Quarter 2016 and I anticipate having it out by December 2016. Yes, I am ambitious but Life without something to strive for isn’t much of a Life. So kick it in the butt.

Anyway, that’s where I am on this Tuesday. As always, thank you for being patient readers and loyal blog followers and I will endeavor to keep from disappointing. Have a great day and a creative week. 🙂

Available Now on Amazon

Yes, it’s one of THOSE articles. The shameless kind where I put out the word on my books and hope they spark either some kind of discussion or boost some flagging numbers.

Parallax has been out for a month now and it’s still available (along with my other works) either from my official web page at http://www.wwcassjr.com or on Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00Q7KWITS.

This is more to reinforce the word already out there because my promoting efforts aren’t bearing as much fruit as I am hoping. I’ve only been publishing since January and I still have the mentality that if things aren’t moving along then I must write and publish another one. Of course, I am anyway, but spreading the word farther from time to time never hurts.

For obvious reasons, I hesitate to do these articles but when you’re a one-man band, you have to update the playlist now and again. Thanks for your time. 🙂