JULY 29, 2001
The "Virgin In The Church" column series is being well-received, with a growing number of subscribers to the newsgroup. It's being carried by at least five websites and a dozen or so writers' newsletters. The series is a lot of fun to write and gives me a chance to examine all of the weird stuff connected to being a published novelist.
JULY 23, 2001
My story "Doomsday Diary" has been accepted for the anthology The Omega Project. I don't know when and where it will be released. The story "The Shaping" was slated for the anthology When Darkness Answers, but that project has morphed into a book called Cold Touch. Projects have a way of morphing all to often, sometimes into complete vapor.
The astute reader (i.e., all who are sober) will notice that the Haunted Computer has undergone a redesign. My friend Brian did the polishing and concept, I did some of the minor grunt work. If you'd like to contact him for some web design, go for it here.
JULY 14, 2001
Also today received a letter from author Stewart O'Nan in response to my query. He wants to get an advance reader copy and write a cover blurb. I dearly admire his 1999 novel "A Prayer For The Dying." So my cover blurbs will be from a broad range of writers, I hope. One of my goals is to make the book appeal to a lot of different readers, because I think it has one or two universal themes that everybody can enjoy. Er, um, I mean "sucker people into buying the book."
JULY 5, 2001
Kensington Books does a good job of keeping its books in print for at least a few years, and longer if they are still selling steadily. A lot of books lose their steam after the first year, which is why it's important to get that next book in the pipeline and keep the kettle warm.
I ran into Jon F. Merz online, and he's also sold a novel that Pinnacle will release at the same time as mine. He's writing his own column on his experiences as a first novelist, so visit his website and sign up for it and laugh at both of our mistakes. We're working on some cross-promotion ideas that are sure to be a lot of fun.
June 27, 2001
Though it's primarily of interest to writers, I think anyone who is curious about books or the publishing industry will enjoy them. I've already written the first two installments. Got the contracts yesterday for "Scarecrow Boy" which will appear in Chizine in July and for "Murdermouth" which is slated for The Book of All Flesh in October.
June 22, 2001
This is my first novel sale, so it's all a learning experience, though I've been researching the publishing industry diligently since the moment I decided to become a professional writer in the summer of 1996. Neil Gaiman has a similar journal based on "American Gods," which is a hardcover bestseller and on a totally different scale from mine. He's produced numerous books, screenplays, comics, graphic novels, toys, etc., and is something of a god himself, with good looks, humility, and charisma.
So look for "Virgin..." to be posted online beginning in July.
June 15, 2001
Apparently the book beat long odds by rising from the slush pile of unsolicited submissions. Lucky for me, I had an agent reading something else at the time who agreed to negotiate the deal for me. It's really better than I could have hoped for, and now comes the real hard work of hyping the novel to increase the print run. Good sales figures are especially important at the beginning of a writer's career. So please tell your local bookstores about it (more than once, if possible!)
Also, stay tuned to the Haunted Computer for special giveaways and announcements concerning the book. If you haven't joined yet, consider signing up for the Scottstuff newsletter so you can get your quarterly news as well as win great prizes.
The book is apparently already in the pipeline, though I've yet to see the contract. My agent was able to get me a small increase in the royalty rate and it looks at this point the book will be marketed as horror. I think of it more as a "modern Appalachian folk tale," or a thriller with supernatural elements. Actually, it's a book about faith.
June 8, 2001
This is war, so I'm supposed to fake it. The Union troops ride in, and I get captured along with a bunch of women and children. After playing the coward for a few minutes, I get in the spirit of the thing. When troops start robbing women and scaring children, I shove Yankees, protecting my hat in the process. One of them has a little bit too much fun shoving me around with his rifle, and I hit the deck. (Northerners always wuz a little too pushy, ya know?)
Since this entire event consists of 200 people faking an entire battle, it's utter madness wrapped in caramel-coated fun. Dead soldiers lay on the ground and grins erupt too often from gut-shot soldiers. The Yankees shove us around, but then the fellows in gray mount a courageous counter-attack and drive the invaders away. Today, the Yankees are driven from the field, and the Rebel flag carries the day. Since the depicted battle centered around a town that changed hands 72 times during the War Against Northern Aggression, then it's safe to have the ending come out either way.
Some of my best lines shouted at Yankees: "Shoulda stayed in New York" and "Don't you mess with my hat!"
I'm ashamed to discover a streak of stubborn Rebel pride in me ;)
June 2, 2001
I actually had to write a rejection letter to an agent who had been reading a different project. Unfortunately, he hadn't contacted me in the last two months. The letter gave me no pleasure, though it was rather odd to be the one saying "no" after receiving several hundred "nos" of my own.
Sold the story "Murdermouth" to the anthology The Book of All Flesh. Mine is a zombie love story. I've figured out that most of what I write are love stories. They just sometimes have some weird stuff going on as well. But, really, what is weirder than love?
MAY 28, 2001
I've started swimming as a form of meditation/reclusion as well as a chance to get this middle-aged body into some form of limberness. I'm generally in better physical shape than I have been in years, though I suppose my mental health still remains suspect. I've posted some info on my novella Transparent Lovers, and will update it as soon as I receive cover art, jacket copy, etc. The Creep screenplay is nearly halfway through the first draft.
The screenplay of Creep is veering off from the novel plot line, at least in the sequences and minor character development. I knew the story would have to bend for the visual format because so much of the original is psychological and internalized by the main character Julia. I'm having to resort to using flashbacks, which usually means a story is either weak or should have a different starting point. However, since the flashes are Julia's memory, and her memory isn't necessarily accurate, and she's building the memory as the story develops, then maybe it will work.
My story ""The Night The Wind Died" was accepted for Flesh & Blood #10. It's the third story in the Makers series. I think I'm going to work on more stories this year and connect them into a young adult book. All the horror and crime stories I wrote last year seem very petty and nasty, and also aren't selling well. I need to throw my false optimism into my fiction instead of just spewing it into the real world.
You know, when times are tough, there's only one thing to go: let's go bowling.
A couple of my works appear to be edging toward print. Barley Books of England has asked for an expansion of my novella Transparent Lovers to sell as a stand-alone short book. Barley has requested that I work in some Christmas elements to make it marketable for the coming Yuletide season. Since the story is currently around 10,000 words and involves a ghostly detective in L.A., working in the seasonal trappings will be a welcome challenge. Also my story "Beggar's Velvet" should appear in an as-yet-unnamed anthology to be released by Cosmos Books later this year.
What I'm not reading: Britney Spears' new novel.
Current projects include the screenplay for Creep and more on the novel in progress. The novel's working title has changed from Troubled to Deadscape. Guess it's been a busy week for re-naming. I did a lot of Internet research and came up with some possible good names that were already taken: Brainfire, Blindsight, etc. Ah, well, other cool discoveries-- serotonin uptake levels in people falling in love are similar to those with obsessive-compulsive disorder; the brain has 100 billion neurons, and the possible "network" connections between the neurons is greater than the number of protons and electrons in the universe.
Scott Nicholson copyright 2001-03ŠAll rights reserved