Wednesday, October 15, 2014
PSYCHO II by Robert Bloch. It wasn't the fact that he killed a nun and then dressed in her habit to escape, because that seemed like classic Norman Bates, but that he then raped the body of a second nun after killing her in the van that they drove away in. Now, given all the sick, twisted things I read (and write), you would think that something like this wouldn't upset me given that my mind has become overly desensitized to such things within fiction, but this time around, it did. The reason: Norman Bates. I'm not sure why, but after seeing the original movie so many times, and after reading the book, I applied a bizarre type of innocence to Norman Bates, one that was completely shattered by the rape of the nun's body. Is that weird? Does anyone else feel a sense of innocence surrounding Norman Bates, one that would be shattered by such an act?
As for the rest of PSYCHO II by Robert Bloch (and even the beginning despite the shocking actions by Norman), I'm really enjoying it and highly recommend it. That said, it doesn't carry the same punch that the first PSYCHO did, but, honestly, that is to be expected. After all, how can one top such perfection. And for those of you who have only seen the movie, I strongly suggest getting a copy and reading PSYCHO. It pretty much is identical to the movie . . . well . . . the movie is identical to the book since that came first, but even so, it is a fantastic read, especially the scenes from Norman Bates' point of view.
Friday, October 3, 2014
Sunday, September 21, 2014
For those of you who follow me on Facebook, you probably are already aware that I finally finished the first draft of my latest novel BLIND EYE, one that weighs in at 903 pages. I know, right! I have no idea what happened, but have a feeling my desire to really get into the minds of the characters played a big part in the length of this one, as did all the different events and interactions that took place during the week of time within the novel. Rest be assured, I will do my best to cut it down a bit during the rewrite process, which will begin in November -- gotta let these things sit for a while before going back to them. My goal is to reduce it by 200 pages, bringing it to around 700 pages. Given the volume of characters, and the subject matter that the novel focuses on, I believe that length will be ideal, though, of course, I won't know that for sure until I go about the rewrite process. Who knows, 903 pages may be the correct length for this one. We will just have to wait and see.
As for that subject matter, this novel focuses on a former soldier named Alan Miller who gets sucked into helping a former lover look into a news story she is working on. Her name is Stacy Collins and the two met five years earlier when she interviewed him for a short news article for the local paper while he was on leave following his second tour of duty in Iraq. During that leave, the two got to know each other fairly well, and, though she would never admit it, she really missed him, and now wants to try to pick things up where they left off -- hopefully with a focus on the relationship side of things rather than just the sex the two engaged in, though that was great too. Alan, who is living with his mother while going to a community college, agrees to meet for dinner and eventually they make it back to her place. Someone else is already there, however, someone who expected Stacy to come home alone so that he could deliver a forceful message on how she needs to back off from her freelance investigation into a curious situation she has come across involving several former prostitutes and a local real estate agency. Unable to hide what she is working on from Alan due to the incident, Stacy gives him some details on her investigation and then asks for his help in talking to the girls. Bored with his life as it is, Alan agrees, and soon finds that he is in way over his head. He also finds himself falling for a young artist turned prostitute named Amanda, which, naturally, doesn't go over well with Stacy who grows more and more reckless in her quest to write a story that will help jump-start her floundering career as a journalist.
There you have it, the plot of BLIND EYE -- minus all that other stuff that happens. And now, for those of you who have been asking when it will be available, that remains to be seen. Finishing a first draft is only the beginning and does not mean the novel will be released in a few days. No way. Things have only just begun. A rewrite that focuses on story and how everything plays out needs to be completed, followed by the various editing phases (some by me, some by friends and finally one by a professional service that I hire). I then have to make the decision on whether or not I will go the traditional or independent route this time around -- and yes, that is an actual decision since I have been told on several occasions by various editors that the door is always open. My door is also always open to offers from publishers I have not worked with, and I may even query a few to see if they are interested. Same is true with agents, so, if interested, feel free to write (a publisher in Germany did last year and now we are looking forward to a release of one of my titles in December). While contemplating those possibilities, I will also continue to get the book ready for an independent release, the first phase of that, aside from all the editing work, being to have a full wrap around cover created for the print release. There are several fantastic artists out there that I have worked with in the past, so all I really need to do at this point is figure out which one I want to go with. Following that, I will then seek out some blurbs from writer friends, many of whom I used to read and look up to as an aspiring writer, ones who is still feels surreal to be on a first name basis with. Hell, getting a request to blurb one of their new books several months ago was surreal, and, once I had read the book before its release, gave me 'blurber block' due to how monumental such a request was.
One last thing, I did discover about halfway through the novel that BLIND EYE will actually be the first in a loosely connected trilogy. It may also be a spring board for a series of private investigator novels featuring one of the characters that gets introduced within the tale. As for the other two novels in this trilogy like project, they will be A TASTE OF PAIN and THE MISSING KEY (tentative). I may also write a short novella titled RUSTY.
Before all that, however, there is a short novel that I've been toying with for a few years titled CRYSTAL CREEK that I really want to finish. I figure, that will be a good October project while BLIND EYE waits for the next phase to begin.
Friday, September 12, 2014
Click here to visit Festa.
Click here to visit the JIMMY page on Festa.
And now for those of you who may not know how all this unfolded, last year, back in August of 2013, I received a Facebook message from Festa inquiring about the foreign language rights to my work. Apparently, the inquires that went to my regular email inbox had gotten filtered into my spam folder, so I had no idea the interest was there. Once known, I did some research, discovered Festa is a pretty significant publisher in the world of horror -- check out the other authors whose work they publish to see what I mean -- and signed a contract. It was that simple.
Independent publishing, traditional publishing . . . I enjoy both methods and am willing to work in both forms because, in the end, it's simply about getting my work out there in front of readers. In the US, right now, that typically means I do the publication work myself, overseas, I let a publisher skilled in that particular market area take the reigns. Nothing to it. I'm also very easy to work with when it comes to my work and traditional publishers. So, if you're an editor that feels my work my fit with whatever publication you belong to, feel free to reach out to me with a query. And for those that are eagerly awaiting the German publication of JIMMY, it will be available before you know it :)
Sunday, September 7, 2014
Those of you who follow me on Facebook, which you can do by sending me a friend request here if you like, know that yesterday I received an interesting package in the mail from an anonymous sender. Now, this isn't the first time I have received gifts from readers (I'm assuming this was a reader that sent it), but this is the first one that has come with no note or return address. It is also probably the most expensive gift I have received, if, that is, the prices I've seen on Amazon and Ebay for these Deanna Dwyer titles are representative of what it would cost to purchase them. So, a very big and loud THANK YOU! to whomever it was that sent this me. It truly was a gift that I was not expecting -- even with my birthday coming at the end of this month.
NOTE: for those of you who are not aware, Deanna Dwyer was a pen name of Dean Koontz when he was writing Gothic novels in the early seventies for Lancer as a way to make ends meet while penning his other Dean R. Koontz novels. As far as I know, none of these novels have ever been reprinted as Koontz novels, the only editions being those that had the pen name on them back when they were published as paperback originals.
Saturday, July 26, 2014
It has been a little while since I posted on this site, so I felt I better let you all know what it is I've been up to during my absence. For the most part, the answer is writing and working that second job thingy I took earlier this year to help fund my desire to buy a house in the near future, one that may be a bit longer in arriving than I had hoped due to a decision to pay off all my credit card debt first, followed by a surprise letter form the IRS that says I didn't pay enough in taxes on my book royalties in 2012. I may have also screwed up the taxes 2013, which is why next year I'm totally going to hire a professional to do them for me. This is the one downside to making a livable income from my books on Amazon. None of my monthly royalty checks have taxes taken out and apparently, despite following all the instruction that Turbo Tax gave me, I did something wrong when filling in the sections for those royalties. So, now, I have an unexpected payment that needs to be made, one that followed on the heels of throwing several thousand dollars at my credit cards to wipe out the entire debt on one of them, which, needless to say came at a very VERY bad time. Oh, I also may need to buy a new car since the emissions place is unable to read the emissions from my car due to the computer within being broken, one that will be really hard to replace given that I drive a Saturn.
. . . sigh . . .
Anyway! As some of you may know, I've been working on a novel titled BLIND EYE (formally mentioned as FORBIDDEN FRUIT), that I had originally thought would be completed earlier this spring. Instead, things took an unexpected turn in complexity, which has resulted in the novel reaching the 700 page mark this week with probably 100 - 150 pages still to go. I also got blocked a bit while writing this one, which is rare for me, and made it so I spent about four weeks without really getting anywhere. What can I say, it happens to the best of us, right? Now, thankfully, the novel is moving along nicely, and, barring any unforeseen issues, should be finished by next weekend. Of course, then, the real work begins as the editing phase is entered. Once that is completed I plan on hiring a professional to format both the ebook and print versions of the novel this time around since I feel my skills in working with the code for ebooks, and laying out things for the print editions, are not quite where they need to be. Depending on the results and how happy I am with the service I plan to use, I will then have them tackle my back list. This isn't to say my books look bad, I just feel that they are a bit plain when compared to the titles I see my fellow authors releasing, and would like it if mine were on par with the style I see within theirs.
Now, one area that I do feel I have improved quite a bit with when it comes to book presentation is in designing covers for my work -- so much so that I will actually be using my own for the next several releases rather than the artists I typically use. Below are three covers I did this month that I think are going to work nicely. The first one I created is for the upcoming BLIND EYE, the second for STRANDED, which is a short novel I wrote while in college (will need a bit of work before being released, especially in updating the technology people use when storm chasing), and the third is for THE PAIN GAME, which is a novel I began in 2009, but hit a wall that I could not break through around the three hundred page mark. While writing BLIND EYE, I realized what it was that had made THE PAIN GAME impossible to finish, that being the need for the Stacy Collins character. So, once I finish BLIND EYE, I will be able to finish THE PAIN GAME. After that, though I haven't started creating a cover for it since I'm unsure of what the title will actually be, is a novel that I've been tentatively calling THE MISSING KEY.
In addition to the above work, I've been toying with the idea of polishing up some of the screenplays I found at my parents house that I wrote as a high school student, ones that Hollywood showed interest in back in 2001, but ultimately passed on buying. Now, with a few tweaks and a little more insight in how the movie world works, I think I could certainly find a home for those screenplays. First things first, however, I want to get the novels I've been working on out there so that my readers can finally have something new to sink their teeth in to.
I'm also looking forward to seeing the German edition of JIMMY, which I should the rights for last year, which should be released in the near future. More to come on that.
Sunday, May 25, 2014
That Was Unexpected - Totally Creeped Out While Reading THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS by Jack Finney
It doesn't happen often, but when it does it always catches me off guard and leaves me a bit shaken -- not in a bad 'I never want to experience that again' way, but still, shaken nonetheless. Last night was a perfect example of this. I was upstairs in the family room, alone, drinking tea, my cat Toby on my lap, reading the first 100 pages of THE INVASION OF THE BODY SNATCHERS when, without warning, a serious chill slithered down my spine and into my bowels. The chill was produced by the initial discovery of one of bodies that had grown from the seed pods, a moment, while expected given my familiarity with the story, still managed to produced an element of fear within me. The pen wielding skill of Jack Finney was a large part of this, the way he portrayed the moment through the eyes of Dr. Miles Bennell, as well as the subsequent discoveries of other seed pod bodies that had been planted within his own home for their group. The other part was the sudden onset of memories from watching the 1978 remake followed by the original film adaptions. Boy, did those movies freak me out when I was a kid; so much so that I have yet to watch them since. Reading the book . . . well . . . many of those memories and terror emotions flooded back, and, when mixed with the writing ability of Jack Finney, totally did a number upon my mind and body, one that I would love to experience again. Being terrified while in a safe setting . . . nothing can match the experience. It is fantastic, and, hopefully, will happen again this evening as I finish the second half of the book, and then, if not too tired, pop in the DVD of the 1978 remake.