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Saturday, November 15, 2014

Cthulhu's call is my ringtone

Maybe not Cthulhu, but there are evil forces at work. One's that are determined to rip away my last remaining hope of sanity. that is sort of Cthulhu like. I've been a fan of H.P Lovecraft for a long time. I think I read At the Mountains of madness when I was fourteen and blasted my way through the terror-filled volumes from there. I recently read Cherie Priest's Maplecroft book with a beautiful blend of the Lovecraftian tales with Lizzy Borden and her sister, Emma as the main POV characters in a delightfully creepy tale. I got a chance to actually meet Cherie a few weeks ago and had my new beloved tome sighed. It was quite a moment for me as is each time I've had a chance to meet and author.

I've met a few over the years, Michael Stackpole, Kevin Hearne, Peter David and for Shallow Graves I interviewed Jim Butcher, who may be the coolest guy I ever met, especially when we went off on a tangent about classic Warner Brothers cartoons. Loved it. If I can tick Neil Gaiman and Stephen King off my list, I can die happy. Neil I have all five volumes of The Absolute Sandman poised ready for your signature. I'm sure you can't wait.

To me writers are rock stars. To put worlds down on paper and breath life into characters that only existing in the written word has always fascinated me. Don't get me wrong, I like certain TV shows and I'm a serious movie buff, but the joy of holding a book in my hand is unlike any other medium. The author had to pen those pages, had to have those thoughts, dug deep in their own psyche to tell a tale. I personally like genre fiction, horror, sci-fi, some high fantasy, historical fiction, and urban fantasy. Some steampunk, but that's so hard to get right, Cherie is hands down my favorite as she tells a good story in the a world that happens to have these cool, incredible machines instead of the story being about the whiz bang.

I hope I succeeded in doing that in Dex Territory. I just finished the edited copy. I'm passing it over to a confidential source, my wife, for a final rad through and then it's back to publisher for the next step. While the story contains all these fantastic elements, I think I'm most proud of the human aspect of it. I kept it fun, there's a lot of humor, but it's high stakes and wide open for more and greater challenges. It's been a hell of a ride.

I've agonized over the story and editors notes and questioned every word, every motivation all the while my characters are screaming at me about being treated unfairly. Tough shit guys, that's what you're being paid to do. The hardest part was taking some of the things that I was really in love with and dropping them on the cutting room floor. While they are darling to me and my characters find these things important, the reader probably won't find them as interesting. Out they went. We reordered so things and now the book is a sleek 66k words of intensity and gripping action from a bloated 100k words that took the reader down a more meandering path. Some of the character stuff will be explored down the road.

Hopefully, we'll have this gone by next weekend and I can then resume my normally scheduled madness as I work on the next volume and once again hear a familiar call.

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