‘Transylvania’: Halloween Fun

As a late, late, late follow-up to this post, I guess it’s better late than never. That said, I purchased the CD last year and meant to yak about it a few days after. Took me about twelve months to do it. Yay me.

So, yeah – I upped and bought a CD of Nox Arcana’s Transylvania, which is a collection of vampire-themed songs all inspired by Bram Stoker’s Dracula. And, you know, I love it when art (literature) begets art (music). It’s a great CD, a lot of fun to listen to, and if you’ve read the novel, it’s pretty cool seeing specific scenes in your head while listening to each selection.

“Night of the Wolf”, for instance, makes me imagine wolves running through the forests of the Carpathian mountains, searching for prey or following their master’s orders to protect the castle. Maybe even attacking hapless humans outside the castle walls, half-crazed from grief and rage and demanding their children back. Other songs I really dig are “The Voyage” (think of the Demeter and her dead sailors), “The Black Coach” (off to take Jonathan Harker to the castle), and “Shadow Hunters” (Van Helsing and company).

The most macabre title, I think, is “Lair of the Vampire” because you can hear the pounding of the stake repeatedly throughout the song. It’s like a pretty gruesome back beat. Note to Nox Arcana: good job, guys!

One of the things that I used to do and that I’d like to get back to was to write while listening to music – classical music, mostly. I’ve written books inspired by specific songs (and books) before: The Glass Minstrel as inspired by “In Dulci Jubilo”, Banshee as inspired by M.R. James’ ghost stories, and Renfred’s Masquerade as inspired by “Barcarolle”. There are others, too, and while I’ve long stopped doing that and was still able to get inspired enough to write more books, I think there’s a very specific quality to those stories that’ve been “born” from a full immersion in other forms of art. And that’s not only in reference to the stories themselves, but also to the writing experience.

Of course, if I want an absolutely immersive experience writing, I’d be listening to music while writing in longhand – the latter bit being something I also want to get back into.

This getting old business is for the dogs, man. I turned 47 in August. When before I could stay up till one or two in the morning, lost in writing, reading, outlining, and whatever else I needed to do to get a story out of my head and committed to paper, now I’m all done in by nine-ish. If I don’t get to bed by ten or ten-thirty, I turn into a very unhappy pumpkin. And one of the hardest lessons I’ve learned recently was the fact that, as a fortysomething type, I can’t even manage to write stuff against a deadline. It’s almost as if brain cells stop doing things on command once you hit a certain age, and they go wandering off to do what they damned well please. I can’t wait to be done with the last Sheridan Diggins book (and it’s only a freaking novella, for God’s sake!), so I can go back to a slower, more open-ended writing schedule.

And that includes opening myself up for inspiration again from something outside my head. Looking at my CD collection, it makes me cringe, trying to remember when I last listened to any of them. But going back to Nox Arcana’s themed music, yeah – Transylvania is highly recommended.

Now Available: The Romeo and Julian Effect (Plus E-Book Giveaway)

And here we are! The third installment of The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles is now available, and it’s over yonder. Here’s the blurb:

Intimidation from the underworld is escalating, this time involving a person from Sheridan’s past who really shouldn’t be hanging around Sheridan if he knew what’s best for him. Shapeshifting demons come out to harass Sheridan in the most hilariously bizarre ways imaginable, and with the help of defensive-wish-granting knight, Clonia, and some space-age technology, Sheridan proves himself a worthy opponent.

In the meantime, Yuli Soulweaver’s beginning to display alarming symptoms of fatigue, possibly from the prince’s constant crossing over between two worlds in order to court Sheridan — unless a more ominous reason lies behind Yuli’s spiraling weakness.

Nobody messes with a Diggins, however, and the more Sheridan meets resistance from antagonistic entities from the underworld, the harder he fights back. Disgruntled immortals might very well be in for a huge surprise in their campaign of terror against a young colonist with nothing to lose and everything to gain.

As always, there’s a 30% new release discount if you purchase directly from the publisher’s site. And as a bonus, I’m doing an e-book giveaway over at The Novel Approach. Since this is part of a series, I’m giving out the first three books to the winner.

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Since we’re on the subject, I’d like to add that I’ve decided to start my writing slow-down earlier. My part-time job’s taking over a sizable chunk of my time, so I asked for one last adjustment regarding release dates of future books.

The fourth and last book of The Cecilian Blue-Collar Chronicles was supposed to be released in late December (after Christmas). It’s now been pushed back to January since I won’t be able to get the manuscript in my publisher’s hands by the deadline required for a December release.

That also means The Flowers of St. Aloysius will now have a pretty open release date. In brief, it’ll be out when it’s good and ready, and I’ve no idea when that’ll be. It might be February or March. It might be later. At any rate, I’m not going to rush through that book and will update you accordingly.

Having One’s Pain Mirrored (a Good Thing – the Mirroring, Not the Pain, I Mean)

Consider this to be one of those “a funny thing happened on the way to the forum” deals or, in my case, “on my idle jaunt through the web”. Clicking one link after another, I stumbled across a prominent M/M author’s blog and read a great post about writer burnout, its cause, and the need to pull back and reconsider one’s priorities.

Here’s a snippet:

So how does this relate to the epidemic of writers blogging and writing and admitting in whispers in cafes and hotel bars, emails and Facebook how burned out and disenchanted and tired they are?

Basically, all this bullshit about “brand” and “marketing” and sales numbers – that’s what did it. It’s the left brain, and over the last two years or so, we have collectively fed the left brain steroids (does brain tissue do steroids?) – we’ve worried about strategies and pricing and yield per book, and blog tours, and whether people on Twitter think we are asshats.

We’ve done the numbers and realised (rightly) that we need to release 4 novels per year, every year, to make our dream true (“Quitting The Evil Day Job” – QTEDJ), and then we ended up nearly killing ourselves to try to make it happen. Read more

And, rather predictably, I posted a longish answer to the blog entry.

I’ve talked about going back to a part-time job and writing part-time again – a set up that’d been extremely successful for me in the past, up until 2012, I think. That was when burnout started making itself felt, but it was also the time when I started “expanding” my presence online and dug around for writing / publishing blogs I could follow and read up on. That was the time when I heeded every writing advice, took it to heart, and reshaped my own goals and expectations accordingly.

You’ve seen the result.

After my birthday post about my new part-time job, I was still thinking about things and trying to really figure out what happened that had led me to this point. Well, this epiphany, I suppose. I thought then I’d learned what it was, but it took Voinov’s blog post to really, clearly put into words the pit I’ve dug for myself through the years.

I’ve since unsubscribed from all of those writing and publishing blogs. I’ve learned not to look at them as The Ultimate, Final Word of God in Publishing, and it’s proven to be extremely easy and fun to replace them with e-books I’ve happily purchased for my personal enjoyment. That expert advice has its purpose, I suppose. Just not in my world.