Fire and Forget Soldier is spinning its way through the publishing machine, and it is out of my hands, so The Actuals: Book Seven of the Oz Chronicles is now back in the creative cross hairs. I’ve reacquainted myself with Sunshine Carter, and I am back in Oz’s world, not to emerge until I reach the end.
The time is past nigh! It’s here! Time to get reading. BTW – One of the big changes is the Taker Queen. Sleeker, meaner, more cunning. She’s not to be trifled with.
More Pink Floyd today. It’s David Gilmour doing an acoustic version of Wish You Were Here. This is Oz’s song. The Takers; The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available for download on Halloween, but you can trick-or-treat worry-free by pre-ordering today. I’m so running out of clever ways to make this announcement. Oy!
Last week was all about C. Hoyt Caldwell. This week the focus turns to a familiar character in a familiar setting featuring a few new twists. The Takers: The Tenth Anniversary Reimagined Edition will be available to read on Kindle this Friday. That’s right. Oct. 31. Halloween. Take that JK Rowling! Pink Floyd was and always will be the primary musical influence behind the Oz experience for me, but if you have any suggestions this week let me know, and I’ll include it in the countdown.
Today I give you Comfortably Numb by the aforementioned Pink Floyd. And remember you can pre-order the book today!
In the hands of beta readers
I put out a call for beta readers for The Closeout Kings on Facebook, and I was pleasantly surprised by the response. As a result, the early first-revised draft of the book is in the hands of 20+ readers. I’ve never used that many beta readers before. At most, I’ve used a half-dozen, so it will be interesting to see the results. I created a survey on Polldaddy that allows the beta readers to anonymously rank the general elements of a story (character, plot, setting, humor, etc.), and I also gave them the opportunity to leave detailed comments about any issue they want to address.
I’ve already gotten some excellent feedback on dialect, firearms, trucks, and other details. These are factors that are as important as the major aspects of storytelling, and are incredibly helpful.
The book is almost 84k words, so I don’t anticipate I’ll see a significant number or survey results for a couple of weeks, so that leaves me some down time to hop on other projects. Those other projects include Book Seven. I’m going to play around with some plot points and see if I can pull together a full skeleton of the story. This is Oz’ finally journey, and I’m somewhat terrified I’m not going to do him justice.
I may also take a look at The Tree Readers again. It’s become an epic Sci-Fi/Fantasy novel that is currently well over 100k words, and by my estimation, it’s only about 2/3 of they way done. Given that it’s taken years to write, I don’t see myself rushing to get it done now. It’s one of those manuscripts that I may finish, hand off to my agent and forget about it.
That’s my state of writing report for now. Stay calm and keep reading.
No half measures
I’ve been re-watching Breaking Bad to bone up on my character development skills. I know I should be reading, and I am. Unfortunately, I’m just not as inspired by my current reading choice as I am by Walter White. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – Watching Breaking Bad is like taking a Master’s Class in writing, particularly when it comes to story structure and character development.
My chosen material of study has sparked an idea for a pivotal scene between Wes and Oz in Book Seven. I count that as a win.
Yes, I am evil. Why do you ask?
I just wanted to take a moment to thank all the early readers of The Gore. You’ve been way too kind, and I appreciate every word. Perhaps the kindest comment yet is that I seem to be getting increasingly evil with each book in the series (Thanks Thom Millman). After listening to cuts of the audio book for The Takers, I totally agree. I’ve done some horrible things to Oz, and things just keep getting worse for the kid. But, that’s my job.
Speaking of The Takers audio book, it’s coming along nicely. John Anthony Davis (or as I call him, JAD) has been great to work with. I’ve lived with these characters for so long, I know their voices better than most the people in my life. JAD has been patient with me when I’ve asked him to be ‘more redneck’ on a couple of the cuts. He’s doing such a great job I’ve gotten chills listening to the story. As I’ve told him, it’s not my writing, it’s his voice. This is an entirely different world for me, and it’s really a lot of fun.
I’ll have a bio of JAD later in the week. We’re not ready to release the book yet, but we’re getting there. I’ll also be doing a write up on my experience with ACX. Once again, the Amazon family has found a way to give authors even more control over their own careers.