So turns out I screwed up the paperback on my children’s book pretty badly.
Apparently, I had the document set to the original text, which included lots of typos and misprints and such. After fiddling with the document for the better part of an hour today, I finally got it fixed so it contains all the edits my editor and I spent so much time and effort fixing.
Anyway, long story only slightly shorter, I screwed up and I’ve fixed it now. The changes should be live on Amazon by tomorrow. My bad, folks. Sorry.
Hey, I’m only a couple of weeks into 2020, so this isn’t too late, right? Right.
Anyway, here’s my favorite ten albums from 2019, in no particular order…
Gary Clark, Jr. – This Land
This guy just shreds, man. Plenty of chunky distortion and great guitar riffs, and his lyrics are pretty great, too.
The Mountain Goats – In League with Dragons
A concept album built loosely around Dungeons and Dragons? By the Mountain Goats? Sign me up for that gaming session!
The National – I Am Easy to Find
If this album only gave us “Rylan,” it would still be one of the best albums of the year. That the whole album is fantastic, start to finish, is just gravy.
The Highwomen – The Highwomen
My god, these harmonies! An update on the Highwaymen concept from back in the ’80s (that of Johnny Cash, Kris Kristopherson, Willie Nelson, and Waylon Jennings fame) with a scad of kickass women grabbing music by the horns and it like it. I want more of this.
The New Pornographers – In the Morse Code of Break Lights
Is there such a thing as a bad New Pornographers album? I’ve yet to hear one. Weird that it didn’t have a Dan Bejar-led song on it, though.
Andrew Bird – My Finest Work Yet
Bird continues to put out challenging, engaging music consistently with each release, and this one is no exception to that. “Bloodless” was one of my favorite songs of the year.
Wilco – Ode to Joy
A mostly-acoustic affair, but it finds the Chicago band writing some of their best songs in years. It’s cozy, comfy, rainy Sunday afternoon music. And Jeff Tweedy still keeps my dream of chunky guitar hero alive.
Lizzo – Cuz I Love You
Didn’t expect this one, did you? Well, I just took a DNA test, turns out I’m 100% that guy who really likes to listen to Lizzo play the flute like a badass.
J.S. Ondara – Tales of America
Sometimes, you say it best with just an acoustic guitar and minimal backing. That’s Ondara’s debut, Tales of America, which I found through NPR. The previous sentence is the whitest sentence I have ever written, and I used to write term papers about English religion and society during the theatrical reformation period.
The Black Keys – Let’s Rock
What? Sometimes, I just like straight-ahead bluesy rock. This is not an interrogation. Go away.
Welcome, one and all, to the year 2020! In celebration, I have a surprise for you: a new cover for Book 4, Crooked Halos!
Now, I updated the cover earlier this evening, so it may not show up on Amazon until tomorrow. But I think you’ll agree, from seeing the cover below, that it’s miles better than my original cover (which is not to throw shade at the original cover’s creator; she just didn’t have the resources available to make the cover I really wanted).
Anyway, behold! The new cover for Crooked Halos:
Pretty keen, eh? Here’s the full paperback cover, complete with synopsis and all that jazz:
Yes, you read that title right: books, plural!
First up is Book 6 in the Hazzard Pay series, The Long Fall Into Darkness. I just put it up for pre-order over on the Amazon this morning. It comes out March 27th (coincidentally, my birthday. And a Friday in 2020!). Assuming I can get KDP’s website to accept it, the print version will likewise be available that day.
Here’s the blurb for Book 6:
Life’s not easy for former Organization Boss and sometimes private detective Eddie Hazzard, especially when someone’s said the quiet parts of his identity out loud for him. Eddie’s been revealed as the (at least temporary) leader of the only criminal syndicate in Arcadia, and everyone wants a piece of him for it: the cops, the criminals, and this strange guy who keeps dying and being reborn over and over again. But if Eddie wants to clear his name, he’s got to get out there and confront the woman who’s behind all his misery: Carmen, the sister of his sometimes ally Vera Stewart, who has…well, there’s something mysterious and shifty about her, that’s all he knows. If Eddie doesn’t solve this case soon, he may not get a chance to solve any other case. Ever.
‘Cause he’ll be dead.
But hey, you say, I said “books plural” up there, didn’t I? Why yes, I did. And the second book is actually a children’s book that’ll come out this week!
The second book I’m here to talk about is called Dr. Jayne and the Missing Unicorn Horn. If follows the exploits of magical creature doctor Jayne Marie Forrester, whom everyone calls Dr. Jayne. She’s the best there is at what she does, and what she does is help out magical creatures. So, when Herman the Unicorn arrives at her office one morning missing his horn, she sets off an adventure to help him find it!
Hope you enjoy the sneak peak at the cover (minus trade dress, which is fancy author talk for “title and author’s name”). It was drawn by yours truly:
This morning, I wrote the last words on Book 6. It is officially drafted!
This one came easily, especially compared to Book 5. I wrote it in fits and starts, grabbing a few minutes here and there whenever I could, but it flowed and came together quickly. I’m actually quite proud of this book, and can’t wait for everyone to get a chance to read it.
That’s going to have to wait, of course. I’m sending it to my editor next week, and then I’ll have to do all the formatting and setup on the paperback copy and all that. I’m thinking I might make this one available in Kindle Unlimited, and maybe even go back and make all of my books available there again (going wide hasn’t done much for my book sales, so there’s really not much point to it).
All that being said, when can you expect Book 6? Probably around February next year. And I’m already elbow-deep in Book 7. I’ve got the rough plot outline done, and I know what I want to do and what’s going to happen. It’s just a matter of getting all the words on the page in the right order now.
Well, November has come and gone, and I did not get my novel finished.
I’m sitting at about 37,000 words on the thing, which I feel is pretty damn good. It’s not 50,000, for sure, but I know what the rest of the book needs to cover. I’m pretty sure I can get it finished in the next couple of weeks.
So, what worked and what didn’t?
Well, writing in short burst worked pretty well for me. Most of my writing took place between classes and during lunch or right after school in five to ten minute chunks. I was usually able to get a few hundred words cranked out each time, which was awesome.
Something else that worked pretty well was doing a bit of plotting beforehand. Did I follow all that plotting? Hell no. But it got me thinking about my characters before I started writing them, and it helped steer the direction I took the story.
But what didn’t work? Well, writing at home, first of all. There are too many distractions there, and I found myself staring at the screen and writing nothing more often than not.
I also need to start keeping better track of character and place names. I spent an hour one day last month combing through old novels, short stories, and half-complete stories trying to find the name for a character, only to eventually decide I hadn’t named her. I could’ve spent that time actually writing if I had a document with my characters’ names and basic info listed.
All in all, I feel pretty good about my progress on Book 6. No, the first draft isn’t done, but that’s okay. It’s not like I was going to be ready to put it out before Christmas.
But hey, congrats to all those NaNo’ers who got their 50K written. It’s a helluva thing, ain’t it?
We’re about halfway through the month of November, so I thought I’d give y’all a little status update on Book 6.
I’m currently sitting at a little under 24,000 words on the book. About half of that was written before this month began, mind you, but things are proceeding apace.
I’ve already commissioned the cover, from the same artist who did the cover for Book 5. I’ve seen the rough sketch for it, and I’m pretty pleased. I’ll share the final art when I get it.
I’ve got the book plotted out. I’ve got lots of surprising revelations in store for you; I am, as always, doing my best to just put Hazzard through the wringer.
I’m excited for this book. I feel like it’s one of my strongest to date so far, and I really cannot wait for you to get your hands on it. In the meantime, Book 5 is available to buy!