This year hasn’t turned out the way I wanted. I started with the hope of publishing Psychopomp and a couple of novellas. Obviously this didn’t happen. I worked hard on Psychopomp, trying to get the novel into shape. But no matter how hard I tried, it just didn’t work. The same old problems kept popping up. It’s a huge mess of a story, with a ton of different elements. None of them ever came together in a satisfactory manner. I decided to scrap the novel back in May.
Over the past five months, I haven’t been able to sustain anything for more than a few pages. I inevitably lost focus and bounced to another story, or screenplay. Every month it seemed like I was working on something different. I’d add a few thousand words, only to move on to something else. Just total frustration. Complete failure as a writer.
Then I discovered Billy Rezneck.
Billy likes to play with dead things. Thinking about Billy, I started to get excited about his story. Since it was late in October, I decided to put off writing about him. NaNoWriMo was just around the corner. Maybe between the fresh unknown of Billy and the rigid schedule of the challenge, I could finish something.
November started, and I began work on Necroshine.
That was 25,000 plus words ago.
I don’t know if this thing is publishable. It contains some of the most graphic stuff I’ve ever written. Explicit scenes of necrophilia, hardcore sex and ridiculous gore. But to be honest, I don’t care. I think the biggest problem I’ve had all year has been pressure. Worrying about publishing what I’m writing has made me second guess every decision, no matter how small. Necroshine is pure id. Every creative impulse I have just spilled out on the page. Will it ever see print? Who knows. I’m just happy that I might actually finish this thing. For now, that’s enough.
Following completion of Extreme Haunt I drifted from project to project. I started a couple of novellas, but nothing really clicked. I always knew they weren’t the right next project. I wanted desperately to work on anything but the one project I knew had to be done. The day after Christmas I settled down and stopped messing around. I started work on Psychopomp again.
Intended as my follow-up novel to Live Undead, Psychopomp grew into an ugly mess of a book while I wrote it. Instead of cleaning it up, I locked it away and focused on other things. Some of those things came out, others withered and died. But still, Psychopomp lingered in the back of my mind. I knew I had to fix it. I wanted to finish it up last year, but Extreme Haunt took way longer than it should have.
Psychopomp will come out this year. I’ve hacked and slashed at the thing. I cut it down to the bone and then started to rebuild it. I might need another month or so to finish it right. I plan to be done around February. This means the Beast will rise in May or June.
Like Extreme Haunt, I’ll release a physical edition of Psychopomp. When I first started this self-publishing thing, I never intended to produce a paperback book. But my experiment with the physical format made me realize how much that option opened up my book promotion possibilities. While the physical edition of Extreme Haunt was rushed, I want two to three months to do Psychopomp right.
I’m looking forward to finally sharing this novel with you. Ethan Marks, the Disciple and The Beast Divine all deserve their chance to raise a little hell in public. I just wish I could have brought them to you sooner.
I wanted my first post this year to be the release date announcement for Extreme Haunt. Unfortunately, things got complicated. The slash and burn rewrite I planned turned out to be more extensive. I’m fleshing the novella out to novel length. Right now, I plan to release the book in late February or early March.
But what then?
Last year I hoped to release six or seven titles which included a mixture of novels, novellas and novelettes. Unfortunately only Nothing Zero materialized from my ambitious publication schedule. This year, I’m aiming to release three titles: Extreme Haunt, a slasher novella and Psychopomp, a book I abandoned last year.
While I would like to put all three out during the first half of the year, I’m not pushing myself. I want the slasher novella to be fun, and re-visiting Psychopomp is a chance to redeem a very bitter failure. I’m pretty certain I can complete work on all three before July, but after that I’m not sure. I have ideas, but nothing I’m ready to mention. I feel like looking past these three things would be unfair to them. I want to get them done, get them right and get them released before I move on to things four, five and six. It just would be nice if all these things happened in this calender year.
But I wont’ be disappointed if they don’t.
After months of wrestling with Psychopomp, I’m afraid I’ve lost. I’m simply not happy with the way it turned out. The writing is weak, and the story isn’t focused. It feels very scattered, and that’s because I tackled so many different elements. It currently feels like four disparate books, and I honestly don’t know how to make them feel like a cohesive whole. I bit off more than I can chew.
Maybe in a few months, I’ll feel differently. Maybe I’ll figure out the secret to making the book work. But today, I’m doing more harm than good in trying to sort it out. I’m wasting time, when I could be writing something else.
Unfortunately I don’t really know what I’m going to work on next. I have ideas, but nothing set in stone. I guess that’s something for me to figure out over the next couple of days.
I’m currently working on Psychopomp for a May/June release. Written as part of NaNoWriMo, it’s a dark super hero book with strong horror overtones. More details to come in a couple of weeks.