by Todd

Saturday afternoon soundtrack.

May 29, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Work continues. Part 2 is finished.  35k words to go. Lots going on. Today I’m listening to this, and everything is grand.


by Todd

Black eyes and jagged teeth.

May 24, 2010 in Blog by Todd

From Ch. 9 of THE LIMINAL MAN:

“Mister?” Donovan walked across the street with heavy footfalls.  There was no way this guy couldn’t hear him.  His bare feet slapped against the ground. “Are—are you dead, too?”

The bald man cocked his head.  Donovan froze in place.  His heart stopped for that instant of time.  The world, and its flashing sequence of color, also stopped, and a thousand nightmares clawed their way out of the recesses of his mind.

Aleister Dullington turned and smiled back at Donovan with a grin full of jagged teeth.  His bulbous, black eyes jutted from their sockets and glistened with delight.

“No, Mr. Candle, I am most assuredly not dead, and neither are you.” Dullington swept his hand through the air.  The sleeve of his robe billowed with his movement, and the world flashed with color. “Welcome to the spaces in between.”

There’s something strangely satisfying, yet terrifying, about things finally coming together after more than a year of planning.



by Todd

A speculative fiction contest.

May 20, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Phill passed this one along. It’s a speculative fiction contest hosted by Daniel Simpson. The deadline is May 31st, and the details can be found here.

So, you’ve got less than eleven days. Get to it.


by Todd

Infinite repeat.

May 20, 2010 in Blog by Todd

I read an interview with Chuck Palahniuk many years ago when I was still young and in college, and trying to divine as much as I could about writing from those I deemed “masters” of the craft.  Even though I’ve fallen out of love with his work in recent years, I have to admit Chuck has one hell of a work ethic (he had, and I think he still has, a book deal dictating one title a year).  Leave it to Chucky P. to plant a seed for a tactic I still go to time and time again.

This was around the time Lullaby came out. In the interview he mentioned his playing the same song over and over again while he wrote. The idea, he said, was that once you’ve heard that song, you tune it out.  You hear it, but you don’t, and it sort of becomes a kind of mantra to which you work. I’ve done it several times and, so far, it seems to work for me.

The method has been a godsend at times.  This novel, which (I thought) would be something as simple as its counterpart, reared its head early on to reveal the monster beneath, and I found I had a hard time sticking with it. Listening to a song on seemingly infinite repeat has helped a great deal. I like to think of the music as a tool for channeling and focusing.  If writing is a meditative state (and it usually is for me), listening to one song over and over is the switch that gets me there.

So, Monday night, I came home, locked myself away, turned off all the lights, put on “The End” by the Doors, and started to write. I emerged five hours later with chapter 8 finished. I’d listened to the song a little over 27 times, and I don’t remember hearing most of it.

It worked. I recommend you try it. Go ahead. Experiment with your music. Find something you already know by heart, and then put it on infinite repeat. Sit down, turn off the lights, and listen. Write.

Give it a try. I’d like to hear what musical choices work for you.


by Todd

Getting there.

May 17, 2010 in Blog by Todd

This is the last chapter of Part 2. 75k words down. I estimate another 35k until completion.

For now: Sleep.


by Todd

In the updates, the ramblings.

May 17, 2010 in Blog by Todd

I spent most of this past weekend glued to my computer. It’s been a while since I’ve sat up until 4AM staring at my monitor (a very long while), and I’m feeling it today.  It reminds me I’m not 19 and in college anymore.



ALT 2.0 is done. We uploaded the files to CreateSpace last night. I should hear back from them sometime tomorrow. If everything’s sound, I’ll order the proof; if that’s sound, everything gets the green light. I’m estimating early July for Amazon; late July/early August for other distro channels.

The print version is going to retail for $13.95, as some pages were cut (nothing from the story, however), and my royalty slightly increased. I dropped the price a buck to even it out.  As for the eBook version, it’s going to be available in early July as well.  It will be available on Smashwords, in all available formats, for 99 cents.  If you read a previous entry on the pricing of eBooks, you’ll know this pricing decision isn’t permanent. It’s more of an experiment.  You may say it drop down to “free” for a while, and you may see it rise to $2.99.  I want to see where it performs best. (And, by the way, I’m still looking for input on that entry, hint-hint.)

Now, the Kindle version. I can’t say it will be available right away on Amazon, simply because I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to sift through the code and make it perform the way I want it to perform. Could I upload the Smashwords-ready .doc and be done with it? Yes. But, something I learned this weekend is that the Smash guides dictate a free-flowing document, with as little extras as possible, because they’re catering to a wide variety of formats. The Kindle, on the other hand, is a controlled environment, with features that, when utilized, can make the reading experience all the better. Namely, page breaks for chapters, and the ability to jump ahead to those chapters from a table of contents.

This version will also be available for 99 cents.

If you think this is too much, or too cheap, please say so and explain why. I’m new to this sort of thing, as are most of us in publishing, and there isn’t a tried-and-true way to price a book just yet.

As for material changes to the book, there isn’t much. The back cover changed a bit, with a new description and bio, and also an extra blurb. The cover remains the same. The text and story isn’t vastly different. All the plot points are there. I added a sentence or two to flesh things out. I added a couple of lines to the ending. So, if you were concerned you’d have to buy a new copy due to changes in the story, fear not. The story hasn’t changed. After a couple more months, your copy will be one of a few.  Maybe, some day, a rare first edition might fetch you a decent sum on eBay.

Signed copies? Possibly. It depends on when the book is ready, and so on. I want to work out a better system than I’ve utilized in the past (and I’m open to suggestions). We’ll see.

I accomplished little in the way of TLM this weekend, as I was knee-deep in edits and Word documents and code, but after I finish this post, I’m going to grab a bite to eat and then devote a few hours to finishing chapter 8. It’s at 70k words now, and I estimate another 5k-8k will be required to finish out Part 2.  The longest book I’ve written clocked in at 108k words. If this one goes as long as I expect it to, it could very easily top 110k.

August is looking more and more likely for a finished first draft.

Well, I’m starving, so I’ll go ahead and say good night, in case we don’t see one another until tomorrow.


by Todd

“They shredded the cat?!”

May 15, 2010 in Blog by Todd

From a post on my Facebook wall:

“So, no exaggeration, my friend got laid off from a telemarketing job after many years of faithful service. She tells me this, and I say, ‘Hold on. Have I got the book for you.’ sent it to her. She texts me yesterday out of nowhere, ‘they shredded the cat?!'”

My work here is done.


by Todd

A letter to Ariel Gore.

May 13, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Dear Ariel,

I wrote a rather lengthy post over  a year ago about your book.  It came at a very important time in my life.  I’d spent most of 2008 away from writing, hiding from something I wrote and self-published because I thought I was ashamed of it.  I considered walking away from this business. Away from the craft. This blog sat stagnant for many months because I was afraid I had nothing to say, and no one would read it anyway, so what did it matter?

Then your book showed up on my doorstep. It was a random gift from a relative who happened upon my Amazon wish list. I forgot I’d even added it, and when I saw it, it took me a moment to remember where I’d seen that title (it was from Chuck Palahniuk’s site, The Cult).

Like you, I’m a slow reader. I have to take my time with books. I started yours with the same approach, taking a little at a time, expecting it to be just like all the other “How to” books I read in college. The thing about your book is, it’s easy to read, and it’s not full of bullshit. Your book doesn’t talk down to its audience. It doesn’t say “this is the only way to do it,” and I appreciate that. It offers suggestions. It’s a travel guide into the world of publishing for newcomers and people like me who thought they’d lost their way.

I finished your book in days instead of a few weeks. It renewed my interest and desire. I embraced that book I wrote, and I started working on the next one. That was back in February of 2009.

Now it’s May of 2010. I’m still working on that book. I had some set-backs, I had a lot of trials, but the book is on track. It’s nearing the 75% completion mark, and just crossed the 70k word threshold. I picked up your book again this week, looking for reassurance, and I’m happy to say it’s still there.

So, from one writer to another, I have to say thanks, Ariel. Thanks for helping this writer get back on track. I will not forget it.



by Todd


May 13, 2010 in Blog by Todd

Method and madness.

by Todd

He who winds the watch.

May 7, 2010 in Blog by Todd


“Do you really think killing Sparrow will reverse everything?”

“Best I can figure,” she sighed, “both sides of this place move like a watch so long as there’s someone winding it.  Everything goes together, all tick-tock like, and when one moves, the other does too.  When Dullington left, that watch started to slow down.  Sparrow’s not where Dullington used to be in terms of power, but he will be, and when that happens I think the watch will start moving back at its normal speed.  Killing him might stop the watch altogether and weaken whatever’s keeping us here. We need to move on it before he’s back where Dullington used to be.”

He nodded, then let out a large yawn.  Evelyn smiled and patted his hand.

“I done talked your ear off,” she whispered. “Go get some rest, Q-ball.  It’s going to be a long day tomorrow.”

Quinn did as she suggested, failing to hold back another yawn as he rose from his seat.  Something occurred to him, though, as he took the first few steps away from the burning barrel.

“Evelyn?” he called out.  The old woman turned from the flames and looked up at him. “What happens when no one’s there to wind the watch?”

She stared at him for a moment, her lips pursed into a kind of frown that shifted in the dancing firelight, and when she turned back around to face the flames, Quinn had a frightening epiphany:  She has no idea.

More soon.