Listen to the Whispers

From my partner in writing on The Arcadia Chronicles.

KENNETH MADER

There are times in one’s life and career when something you’ve dreamt of and worked towards for many years comes to fruition, in a way that far exceeds your expectations and at the same time is exactly how you envisioned it. That time came for me last week.

It felt different than my film experiences since it truly is a first for me. I’ve been making movies since I was a wee lad, but book writing always seemed more fantasy than reality. A kind of “one day I’ll do that” goal that other commitments and life in general tended to get in the way of. That also ended last week.

For months we have been in the thick of edits and revisions on my upcoming book AFTERLIFE, but last week I received the final artwork for the cover, and I’ve got to say it rocked my world. 

Co-written…

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Behind the Scenes, dissecting a book trailer

When you realize your humanity just took a turn for the worst.

This is one of my favorite scenes in the trailer, but where is it in the book? I can say, without spoilers, that it’s actually a composite of two different scenes that take place at two different times thus making the situation more complicated. As an exercise, it was interesting to decide what elements to draw from the book and compress into a teaser. The spine thing started out as something of a joke (that is my husband’s chiropractic model spine which I was allowed to cover in blech), but it soon became serious business in the plot as new baby monster Zyraxes realizes he’s going to have to keep himself in check.

 

The Corvus Rex Journey, There and Still Going

I talk much about how I came to develop Corvus Rex in the afterword of my first book, The Substance of Darkness, so I do not aim to rehash all of that here, but I do want to discuss other elements, decisions I made along the way, etc. without much in the way of spoilers.

Book one is, essentially, an origin story and something of a slow burn. Our hero is born, grows into a warrior, goes through a horrific transformation, and establishes an arch nemesis.

He also happens to be having a conversation with a young H.P. Lovecraft.

Corvus Rex Book One

This element, which I have discussed elsewhere, is not new in terms of general concept, but it is a matter of how I’ve done it that will be different from other authors using Lovecraft as an historical character or elements of his works. To that end, I decided early on that I would not read any further stories set in Lovecraft’s overall mythos (Dream Cycle or Cthulhu Mythos) by modern authors, even those by my beloved Neil Gaiman, though there is one exception that only visits the mythos occasionally and even then it is almost more to spoof it than anything. Some day, when this is all over, I will go back to reading some of these newer, brilliant authors and enjoy their takes on H.P.’s works.

However, for now I will read Lovecraft’s contemporaries, those to whom he wrote many letters and encouraged to play in his universe, such as Clark Ashton Smith, Robert Bloch, or Robert E. Howard (creator of Conan the Barbarian), and I read some of Lovecraft’s inspirations such as Ambrose Bierce, Edgar Allan Poe, and Robert E. Chambers (The King in Yellow) to name a few, because these have some historical bearing on my story.

This decision was partly because I did not want to second guess myself on some of my plot devices. I didn’t want to find myself saying “Well, so-and-so already did that,” or, “But that’s like (insert plot element) in (insert title).” I also, to a certain degree, stopped sharing my story plans with friends. This all goes back to the old adage that there is nothing new under the sun. It’s true, and there are no new ideas, but I could shield myself from feeling derailed before I got to what made my presentation different from all of the others. In the past, if I shared an idea, ultimately a friend who had read some other novel would say, “Oh, like in such-in-such,” and I would say “No, this is not that.” People have an instinct to compare elements, and that’s not a bad thing, really, but you can’t convince them of the differences without sitting them down and having a come to Jesus talk.

I have to say that taking this course has been quite a break-through, and I’ve felt more free to explore this world I’m playing in and share my interpretation without too many stalls. Now, almost the entire series is developed, with a few holes to fill in and questions to answer, but it is a relief to know where it is all going and how it will get there.

Corvus Rex: The Substance of Darkness will finally be available in print this weekend in a gorgeous 6×9 matte copy, and yes, it is an independent publiscation. This print version has been run through the proverbial wringer in terms of proofing and the Kindle copy will be updated to match this quality and prior Kindle purchasers can access these updates in their Amazon libraries. I believe in honesty, and I would be remiss to not admit that stuff was missed when I published the ebook. In fact, I right drove myself crazy the moment I discovered just one typo in the Kindle version… and then another… and then… What happened? I asked myself. It is possible that I uploaded an incorrect file, or Word failed at some point to save one of my comb-throughs. Whatever the case, I’m happy to say that it’s fixed now and I’ve actually stumbled upon a great method to edit from now on for both me and my other proof readers, and it is this method by which I will operate with the next four books.

Is it unprofessional for me to admit to these mistakes? I don’t think so, honestly. I’ve read professionally published works that were full of missed typos (once even encountered a publisher who had left a partial paragraph from another novel accidentally pasted into the wrong work). When I commented on my typos to one of my proof readers, she was surprised and said, “Well, it goes to show that we were more caught up in the story than catching typos.”

Okay, I’ll accept that. As long as I’ve presented a good story that people are enjoying, that makes me very happy indeed.

The Substance of Darkness trade paperback goes live this Saturday on Amazon, and I am pleased to say how proud I am of it even after stumbling over a few stubborn booboos.

It is done… and more is coming.

The first complete draft of Corvus Rex: The Substance of Darkness is done. I hesitate to call it a first draft as so many chunks of it have been through edits, re-edits, and experiments that it is more like draft four and a half. At last I pushed through to the end, and while it is now time to turn it over to a few beta readers and take a step back, I resist the urge to go back and start edits myself on those last couple of chapters. For one, my eyes are a little burned out and I need to refresh and focus for now on a piece for The Arcadia Chronicles. Continue reading “It is done… and more is coming.”

Decisions! Decisions!

In the last few months, I intentionally held up the finish on Corvus Rex Book One because of an experiment. If you get a bee in your bonnet, after all, you must remove the sting. So I decided that Corvus needed something more on the background of a supporting character, but in the long run realized that by revealing so much about said character, it would change the entire nature of the rest of the book. It would force me to juggle what my main character knows or doesn’t know during the formative experiences that mold him. Continue reading “Decisions! Decisions!”

We’re getting published!

The  “we” in the “we’re” is myself and my writing partner Kenneth Mader (please see his blog post on it here: My First Novel). Around 2015-2016 we embarked on a journey collaborating on an urban fantasy series titled The Arcadia Chronicles. It’s based on concepts developed by Ken and friends Gerald and Debra Hopkins and also a short film in Ken’s directing oeuvre titled Passing Darkness in which Gerald and Debra both starred. Continue reading “We’re getting published!”

On the status of Corvus Rex Book One

It has been far longer than intended for Corvus Rex to hit the presses. Much has happened since this journey began (an ill timed move to Santa Fe, NM and then back to North Carolina within the same year among other stressors, for example), and the journey continues. I’ve come around to evaluating how I wish to go about putting this book out, and that also includes the story’s presentation itself. So far, it has been a large experiment, and once it comes to an end, we shall see if it works out or if a new perspective should be taken. Continue reading “On the status of Corvus Rex Book One”

Viridescent

12687891_150321102015123_7757497759970013908_nEarlier in 2018, the short film I wrote (and then later co-rewrote along with friend Troy H. King) completed its festival run and is now available for public consumption. When I first blogged about Viridescent almost two years ago, it was still in post but very close to complete, but now it has come full circle and is a project that I am super proud of. January and February are forever the anniversary months in which it was filmed, and those of us involved will always remember fondly those cold nights shooting in a haunted hotel.

So here it is, available on Vimeo for public viewing. It is a horror film (content warning here: violence, sexual situations, gore) both psychological as well as supernatural.

Or is it supernatural? Click the link below and decide for yourself.

Viridescent Short Film

Getting Caught Up

It has been a long time since I’ve blogged or posted news of my latest projects anywhere but on Facebook, but now it’s time to get caught up and stay on top of things. That said, I can’t do all of that catching up right here, right now, but I will be back more often with news on where the Corvus Rex series stands and some other decisions being made at this time to streamline and simplify things while prioritizing writing and art.

Continue reading “Getting Caught Up”