An Experiment

In addition to working on Back Lot and publishing Remnants, I have a third book I’m working on, a sort of modern retelling/homage of Alice in Wonderland.  Over the next few weeks/months, I’ll be introducing that novel, hopefully in whole, to the blog.  It’s an experiment in the sense that I don’t really know what the outcome will be, or what I’m expecting, except to maybe brighten a few days for people.

Hang on.  It’ll be weird.  Let’s hope it’s at least fun, as well.

Future Title

I’ve been working on a novel.  It’s about half done, and somewhat stubborn in that I’ve been working on it for about a year and a half, and I tend to write it in spurts.  It’s a definite love/hate relationship, where I love the writing, but I hate half the words that come out.  That said, the first draft should be done by spring, and I can start the rewrites.  Rewrites – the hate/hate part of my relationship.  Like a cobra and a mongoose, or a rodeo clown and a bull, or clowns and the general human populace.

The book is called Back Lot, and is built on the idea that the monsters of the 1950s era of film are real, alive, and well, and living on an abandoned studio back lot outside of L.A.

Here’s an excerpt:

Some days, you’re the Woodsman, some days you’re Red Riding Hood, and some days, you’re the guy with the biggest teeth. When I woke, I felt distinctly Riding Hood like. I rolled over, every muscle and bone seeming to protest. A groan escaped me. Where my ribs had been broken, pain throbbed in bright pinpoints of agony for a moment before quieting to the dull throbs of healing bone.

I lay on my back in the early half-light for a while, trying to collect my thoughts. The dream had left me shaken. It was a memory of things long dead, but in the wrong order. I hadn’t been stalked by a creeping darkness. I wasn’t confronted by Adam when we first met. A part of me knew it was the guilt of killing Manny that had crept into my sleep, but that didn’t make it better.

I wondered how I would tell my friends, and how they would react. I wondered what would happen when that news slipped from my friends to those I wasn’t so close with, or even to the Church. I wondered if I would be cast out, or maybe tried and executed, in house. I wondered if there was still room for understanding and forgiveness in the hearts of those who had shared the title of ‘monster’ with me not so long ago.

Depression tried to crash into me, to push me down. In my head, the Beast whispered, wandered the halls of my mind, still free from his cage. I hadn’t had time to constrain him again, to bring him under control, and he tried tempting me now. Whispers of freedom from guilt, of a life lived on instinct and passion slid through my mind, telling me it would all be okay if I just gave over, quit living the lie of humanity.

 

Kind Words

Reviews for Remnants are trickling in to Amazon, and so far, I’m flattered.  The book is getting decent praise, and the reviewers have gone so far as to compare it to Stephen King’s early work.

There are definite shades of Stephen King’s influence in this collection. While Snyder avoids the overt “gross-out” scenes that King has made famous, I didn’t mind the lack.

The author’s lack of gore does not stop him from evoking vivid imagery in each vignette.

In one tale, a two-sentence paragraph describing a bit of swirling dust puts the reader behind the eyes of the man seeing it. In another, a Vietnamese jungle comes alive – both in the mind of the main character and the reader.

A small word of caution – each story leaves you without all of the information, much like an episode of Twilight Zone or the Outer Limits. There is no worldbuilding here, no expansive filler. Even the conversations in most of the stories are rather short.

That said, this is no accident, and Snyder makes it work beautifully.

If you’re looking for a nice bit of quick reading that will leave you feeling a bit disturbed, pick this collection up.

I don’t really have words for that.  I’m not going to turn this into an Oscar acceptance speech for two reviews, so I’ll leave you with this:  thank you.  You made my day.

The book is here, if you’re interested.

Frequently Assailed Quails – Er…

Despite being not the most recognizable author in the world, I still get questions about writing.  Some of them are amusing, like: “How do you live with yourself?”, or statements, like: “You worry me.”  Hey man, not everyone has the idea for a short story about a robot/zombie Lincoln that sits on the couch most of the day watching TV and complaining.  And he’s powered by pennies, because the idea of Lincoln having to consume little images of himself in order to survive made me giggle.  I’m special.

Okay, yeah, they might have a point.

Anyway, I figured I might answer a couple of those other questions to the best of my ability.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

I don’t.  That is to say, I don’t let it get to me.  I find things to do if I’m stuck.  Paint Warhammer figures, watch some TV, play a game (Crusader Kings, usually – nothing  like marrying members of your family to political rivals then disposing of their natural children so you can take over their throne by proxy when they mysteriously die), take a long shower, or write regardless, even if it’s gibberish.

All of these things do the one thing I need – they take my mind off of the serious writing, and let it reset.  I like to think of block as one of those knots, where the harder and longer you worry it, the tighter it gets.  Leave it alone, and it’ll practically undo itself.

How often do you write?

About two to three hours a night – I usually shoot for a thousand words.  Sometimes, if I’m on a roll, and it’s the weekend, I’ll write ’til I’m done.  Sometimes that’s six hours.  I usually take Friday nights off.

Where do you get your ideas?

One-offs from conversation, art, playing What-If, and the Idea Leprechaun. 

How do you deal with rejection?

I bitch and moan for about five minutes internally, then move on.  There’s always another idea, another rewrite, another magazine I haven’t tried yet.  Something’s bound to give.  Reckless optimism doesn’t hurt.

I’m sure there are others, but these seem to be the ones I get asked the most often.  If you have any others, feel free to ask, or if you just want to point out that a zombie Lincoln would never work because he’d probably just be brittle bones by now, thanks a lot, there goes that idea.

All About, Well, Not the Benjamins

I know I’ve posted a lot about my book.  About it being on sale, about it being free, and about it.  Before you get the wrong idea, believe it or not, it’s not all about making money.  Take this, for example:

Untitled-3

This is the graph of my book sales over the past few days.  Keep in mind, these are the free copies that have gone out.  I call it ‘The Widowmaker’.  No one should have to ski that, let alone try to expect to pay bills on it.

In the long run, writing is more about one thing than any other right now – can I get someone to read what I’ve done?  The tip of that peak says ‘yes, maybe’.  The low end says ‘meh’.  In the end, I don’t mind not making a ton of money.  I don’t mind struggling while I work my way up.  I just mind if you’ve read this stuff or not, and if you like it.

If it’s any consolation, you’ll never catch me at your door, like this:

Better-Off-Dead-Wheres-My-Two-Dollars

Bits and Pieces

Figured I’d share a couple of excerpts from Remnants.  The first is from ‘Old Dominion’, a story about an old man, a broken-down semi, and a dragon.

“What were you keeping in here?” Will asked.

Hank sighed, a dejected and desperate sound. “Dragon.” He said.

Will laughed, but it died when he noticed Hank wasn’t laughing with him. His nerves began to jangle a bit.

“Look. I’ve got a wedding to get to. I don’t think there’s any reason for me to tell anyone about this. I’ll just say I got tied up at a gas station.”

Hank gripped him by the shoulders, and turned him toward the fields. Something the size of a small jet flew by on massive wings carrying what could only be a small cow. It screamed once, a bellow that echoed in the air, and sent a chill of fear up Will’s spine. Then, without warning, it dove into the copse of trees, and left the air and the morning empty.

“Dragon.” Hank said in his ear.

The next is from ‘Hell, Inc.’  What if Hell were run like a corporation?

They made steak. Big, nicely marbled, medium rare New York strips, with a salt and pepper crust, and a baked potato and a glass of Yancy’s bourbon. While they ate, they talked.

“So, how long have you been doing this?” Kendall asked.

Cooper shrugged. “Collections and contracts? About five hundred years. More so in the past thirty, though. You?”

Kendall whistled. “Five.”

Cooper grunted around a mouthful of steak. “Newbie, eh? First time up top?”

“Yeah.”

Kendall moaned in pleasure, and took another mouthful of food, chewing slowly. After he swallowed, he chased it with a sip of bourbon. “God, I miss this. All I need is a good lay, and who needs Heaven?”

There’s more there, and if you want to read it, it’s free on Kindle for today.  You can get it here.

Once More, With Feeling

It turns out I had one more free day left on my book promo for the year, so I used it.  Remnants will be free today and tomorrow as well, and well, that’s it.  I’m out of days.  Hopefully you’ve had a chance to read it.  If not, now’s your chance.

It’s waiting here.

It’s lonely, you know.  Have it keep your other books company.  It’s a big Kindle, after all.