Saturday, August 30, 2014

Cities of the Dead: Now Free! (For a while)

Since there's a new zombie show coming to town - Z Nation on SyFy - I'm letting eBook versions of CotD go for free for maybe the month of September or so, maybe longer, maybe not. For now, as in today and the short foreseeable future, you have to go to Smashwords to get a copy for nothing. The prices will update at all other eBook retailers over the course of the next week or so. I don't know how that works, but computers seem likely.

If you take a copy, come back and write a glowing review of it... (winky emoticon)

Friday, August 29, 2014

Z Nation and Zombie Stories

As I told my wife several years ago, or, rather, as she told me when I was writing the initial test stories for Cities of the Dead, "zombies are popular, now." Indeed, they are, and SyFy (I hate that and prefer SciFi, but the channel has almost no science fiction on it anymore) is coming out with Z Nation in September. I assume the reason is because The Walking Dead has made it five seasons and is continuing to grow in popularity.

With any luck, Z Nation will be better than TWD, and I say that as a fan of the latter. However, TWD is a marginally decent show about zombies per episode, but as a series, it tells no compelling stories. The story arcs are lame, and most of the characters are unknowable and unlikable. But, zombies!

Now, this is true with just about every zombie TV show or movie: the writers don't know what to do with the material on hand, so you just get zombies and people shooting them: zombie pron. This can be entertaining, but it's usually frustrating, too, since what you're really dealing with is a post-apocalpse scenario in which the real story is how the humans living create a new civilization amid the chaos. This is what I attempted to address in CotD, showing how mankind struggles to survive amid the new landscape where most of the "people" are now zombies, not just stories of people killing the undead (though there is plenty of that).

My book was looked at by a movie/television producer shortly after it came out, but he said he couldn't figure out how to make it into something (that's the short-short version, since he told me this through a mutual friend before I had even thought of how to translate it to live action). I could easily turn my stories into a television series, if ever given a chance. Not sour grapes, there, just noticing that I've had time to think about how my 20 different stories - which tell one complete story - could be altered to a different medium.

And, yes, I have written some more zombie stories for a possible second CotD book, fleshing out (heh) some of the original stories with follow-ons, as well as some new stories which look at issues left out of the first book. I may keep at that in my spare time (I'm currently working on the third Divine World installment, so...), but my spare time has many suitors these days.

And that's about as deep as I'm going to get with this today.

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Divine World #3 Begun

Yeah, I know, I don't write here nearly enough. Well, almost not at all. I'll try to change that going forward, but I think I've said that before...

Anyway, I've begun writing the third installment of The Divine World series, once again setting black ops commando David Arris into the super-natural world very few people ever encounter. Chapter One is complete, and I hope to get a few pages done every day and have the first draft done sometime before Thanksgiving. This is possible because I'm working from a very detailed outline.

In fact, the first six or seven DW installments are already done in outline, so if I keep at it, I should be able to crank through them rather easily for the foreseeable future. All I need is time, which is occasionally in short supply.

I had been working on another project, but the deeper I got into it, the more I realized I was getting further into the weeds and farther from what I thought the story was going to be. I'm going to let that sit and percolate for a while, maybe draft an outline when I get the time.

Let me know what you might want me to blog about, and I'll try to do some of that. You can follow me on Twitter at @william_young, but it's slim pickings there, too, which I'm trying to change.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

The Works in Progress

Been working more on my house than the new story, lately, so … well … my house is moving forward. Almost done installing the new hardwood floors. Have to finish the kitchen cabinets, plumbing, and fine details, so the book may suffer a little bit and sit it out while I try and make real life more livable.

But the story is coming. About a third of the way through it, and it's moving along just fine. Probably won't be out in the spring as I'd hoped, but unless the house surprises me (and, it always does) late spring or early summer are entirely doable. Sometimes these things write themselves, and, sometimes, I have to bring them out kicking and screaming. This one's in the middle.

But the kitchen re-build is more important deadline-wise than the new story, since I live in the kitchen.

Tuesday, November 05, 2013

Everything Is Free!!

Yeah, so in a shameless attempt to gain readers, I've made The Signal, The Divine World and (still) Cities of the Dead free on all eBook platforms. If you've been curious, well, here's your chance to read some off-the-beaten-track fiction.

Here's the Amazon link, but the eBooks are gratis anywhere eBooks are sold.

And if you like the stories, write a review and tell your friends.

For the curious, the current novel is still ongoing, albeit slowly. I'm writing it "seats of the pants" style, instead of going off an outline, so the story has a life of its own. I'm frequently amazed by it, and I'm the guy writing it. But, then, some nights the pages just stare at me and dare me to write a sentence. But that's the curse of "seat of the pants" writing: you just go where the Muse takes you, and sometimes it makes you watch television until midnight and go to bed not having written a word. Other night, you're furiously typing.

Not that outlining in advance is any different: you still have to come up with the nuts-and-bolts in outline form before writing, which can lead to many nights staring at an outline and wondering where it's all supposed to go.

Writing is a mental disorder.

Or, an addiction. If it's a mental disorder, well, then … because I'll never be able to admit I'm an addict and convince myself to quit. And I'm not sure I want to be cured. The stories force themselves out whether I want them to or not, and, mostly, I want them to: I want to see how they end, too.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

The Last Rewrite of CotD is Done

So, for whatever reason, I started going through my paperback copy of CotD and was astonished - well, not really - to find minor "technical glitches" throughout. Most of them were missing words that didn't change the sense of a sentence, but did make the sentence not read correctly. A couple of the mistakes were changes in a description of something from one scene to the next. So, I spent a couple of weeks reading the stories very slowly, marking the mistakes with post-it notes. And, today, I went through the digital files and corrected the mistakes.

I'll put the clean files up soon - maybe tomorrow - and then I have to get back to the work of writing the new novel, which is slogging by a page or two a day, on days I have time to write. So, in the very near future, the eBook versions and paperback text should all be more-or-less "professional grade."

The lesson learned from this is not to do my edits on the computer screen, but on paper. I must get lazy looking at the screen and scrolling down, looking for errors. On paper, they just jump out at you.

And in "exciting" news, I attended my first-ever Book Release Event. One of the shorts in CotD was accepted into an anthology produced by the Main Line Writers Group, of which I am a member. (We hired outside editors to do the judging, and all submissions were anonymous, so it wasn't a pure vanity project). There were more than fifty submissions, and twenty-one were accepted.

It was a fun first to lose my cherry on an official book release party, and it was weird to sign autographs, but someday I hope to be the only author in the room, promoting my latest book. Because the groupies would all be mine.

Anyway, Unclaimed Baggage: Voices of the Main Line Writers Group is available through Createspace and will be up on Amazon soon. I'll provide a link when I get one. My story in it is "Days Go By," and I had to do a small bit of re-write before I submitted it, so this collection is, technically, the first spot where that revamped story appears. Get it for historical purposes if you're a collector!

Tuesday, October 01, 2013

CotD goes Free!!!!

Cities of the Dead: Stories from the Zombie Apocalypse is now free.

For the time being, that is.

Since I have no marketing budget, and since giving away free copies of the individual shorts isn't stampeding zombie lit fans my way, I've decided to give the entire enchilada away as a promotional tool. And then, when my book has hit a certain amount of downloads, return to the marketplace with a price attached.

It's been two years since I put the first story out there, and since then about 45,000 copies of either the shorts or anthology have been downloaded for free or purchased (mostly free downloads of the individual shorts, but a not-insignificant amount of sales, too). That's not bad, but there are something like 9 billion people on the planet, and I want to get to as many of them as possible, and October 2013 seems like the right time to try and get noticed.

I do want to make a living off my fiction, after all, and to do that I need to let people know I write fiction, and if giving away the milk gets enough people to notice the cow, well, then I might be in the steak business soon enough...

It's available in all eBook formats, but I'll provide a few links here: