Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 29, 2014

Self-Publishing Goals Vs. Reality

Reality_1920x1200_by_pyxelatedAbout 15 years ago, I had a pretty decent shot of getting traditionally published with my first novel, The Starchild.

15 years ago.

1999-2000.

That was when I was in my mid-20s and feeling pretty gung-ho about myself. I figured that I could accomplish something worthwhile so that I could show all the naysayers and pessimists who kept dogging me for the better part of my life that…yes, I could do something! Will you kindly shut up now?!?

In my life experience, getting people to understand what you’re trying to accomplish (in terms of life goals) is a lot more harder than it looks. Since I chose my profession to be a writer and a hopeful author sometime this century (and no, I’m not kidding on that front), people have become less interested in what I’m doing and more interested in giving me the third degree on pretty much everything I’ve tried to accomplish or set out for myself because in this life, everyone is expecting me to be either insanely successful or stupidly rich beyond measure.

But when I’m bumping along from one minimum-wage job to the next and not advancing at all in my career choices (it’s hard when you’re not a kiss ass like everyone else), people start to look at you differently and treat you just the same; like you’re damaged goods or something.

It’s even worse when you don’t have the same lofty ambitions as say the guy who works as a mechanical engineer at Boeing versus the guy who is just getting out of college and trying (again) to find a better job than something that is less than minimum wage.

So…as such, my life hasn’t been all that exciting. Or fulfilling. I’ve been stuck doing the same thing over and over for the past 15 years and nothing has come to fruition. What’s worse, is that I don’t have a job to speak of and the prospects of finding one is less than the same odds in winning the lottery on a $1 ticket.

Or waking up the next day and finding out that you’ve been accepted by a major house to publish your book.

None of those things are in my immediate future. No job, no publishing contract, no lottery winnings, no nothing.

Just absolutely nothing. And the reason I say this is because my situation–as it is–isn’t going to change in the next several years, possibly longer.

Because there are no opportunities out there for me to advance. Not when you’re living on so little money and having to prioritize things once again to make sure that everything you need and have is met. The base existence and nothing more.

So as things have changed and times have changed, I find myself looking hopeful again that I can at least get something on the board in the coming years. It would be so easy to ask people for money to help me accomplish my dreams through some lofty Kickstarter campaign and get the ball rolling then, but as I’ve already stated, not too many people know what I’m trying to accomplish. When you’ve shown no encouraging results from your past attempts, people begin to question why they must do it all over again. Especially to someone like myself who isn’t going to be doing much but sitting on his butt, drinking lemon tea with juice, watch the world go by, and write his books.

Novels that few people will end up reading in the end.

So my goals in getting self-published in 2014–or even earlier–is dust in the wind. I mean, I could just self-publish now, but the truth is, none of my books are even remotely edited. And as I’ve seen in many self-published books of the past 7 years online–and in print form–books without a hint of professional editing or whatever, don’t tend to sell at all.

Especially when they don’t have a good cover to them.

So I could self-publish everything I’ve been writing for the past 20 years, but it wouldn’t avail me anything. Or you anyways. Because my reading audience would pick up on that fact and clue me in on how bad everything is, how many grammatical errors there are (more than the industry standard allows) and so I wouldn’t make enough money to buy a single loaf of bread or a gallon of milk in terms of combined royalties.

I just wouldn’t.

But 15 years have passed and I find myself writing my novels and not thinking about the urgency in getting something out within the next two or three years. I just don’t have the urge. And it’s not just because I don’t have money or an online presence to speak of (or a reading audience for that matter), I just find myself growing tired of the whole thing.

I’ve put so much effort trying to make people understand my position and my own ambitions, that I’ve left nothing else in reserve to fall back on. I simply don’t have the energy anymore.

I’m tired most of the time. And as such, time goes by and I still don’t have anything to showcase. And I’m not getting any younger either. With each passing decade, I find myself just less interested in the process and more focused on basic survival than anything else.

I stopped thinking about the fame and fortune game years ago when I lost my chance at becoming traditonally published after 9/11 hit.

So…self-publishing seems to be the only game in town. But for me, I still want to make something of an impression on people and I want to do it right. But as I’ve said before, I lack money and resources to do it. People tell me too many times that self-publishing is cheap and inexpensive, but you tell that to someone like me who has trouble scrounging up enough money to buy a decent pair of shoes every eight months, and you’ll soon discover that the process isn’t as cheap and inexpensive as one is led to believe, okay?

Because in my world and in my profession, I want to have a decent cover for my books and a professional edit for my novels before I sell them to the general public. I do not want to end up like those tens of thousands of self-published authors who have forsaken both because they were impatient.

So when I say that one of my novels won’t be available until 2026 or later (or never), I’m not saying this to piss interested people off. I’m simply gauging what I can do now versus what I can accomplish for later. I have to weigh in my options just like everyone else and act on them in kind.

But the truth is, without a stable source of income to propel me forward towards my goals, or anything else for that matter, I’m not going anywhere anytime soon.

I’m going to be stuck in this one gigantic holding pattern until my situation changes–for better or worse. I wish I could give people better news, but there hasn’t been any better news in a good long time.

Of course, some people will think–after reading this–that I’m not making any effort to change things, to take charge of the situation, but the truth is, I’m not assertive enough, nor am I aggressive enough.

I never wanted things badly like some of you have in the past, people who are driven to succeed at the cost of everything else. For me, my life has been empty of want and needs, but the desires are still there. I still dream of things, of better days ahead of me, but realistically-speaking? It’s not going to happen anytime soon. Not this year or the next, or the following year after or in 2018.

Because the opportunities that were there in the past that kept me and my life on an even foundation is now gone. And what’s left isn’t worth writing home about. So I’m stuck in a rut for the time being. I have been like this for awhile now. And not because I’ve grown complacent and lazy, but because I’m watching the world and I’m seeing how things are changing and how things are impacting a whole population of people, and I don’t see how their situation is going to change any better than mine is at the moment.

I wish I could just go out there and grab things by the horns, but in truth, it’s not who I am. I am a passive individual. I don’t go out there and take the initiative like so many people I’ve watched (and failed at) have, I just wait. I’ve made a career of waiting. And watching. And observing.

Because when you’re in a holding pattern, you begin to see things differently. For the past five years, I’ve been waiting. I’ve been in a holding pattern. I’ve also been struggling to get my life back on track. And having no job doesn’t help matters much, but when you’ve been out of work for as long as I have and have nothing to really offer to prospective employers, your chances of getting a job is so diminished, it’s not even worth thinking about.

And yes, I’ve thought about college too, but the truth is, I would find myself back where I started 15 years ago after I got out of college the second time and discovering the hardened truth about how employers treat the college-trained graduates like me. (It’s not pleasant or pretty.)

So when you’re faced with that and so many other challenges, your options of advancement is severely limited and you have to start thinking realistically what you can actually do versus what everyone else around you expects you to do.

And I for one would rather do the things I’m capable of than do the things that society demands I do out of some sort of misplaced sense of hierarchical methodology that pits the strong against the weak for a bid at the top rung of the sociological ladder.

But as I’ve said, I’m surrounded by impatient people. By parties who don’t value individual accomplishments, but are more consumed by the acquisition of money, power, and status. By how they see people like me even.

So unless you’re really pressed for time, you’re just going to have to stick things out a little bit longer than planned. Because I have no intention of rushing things. I could–realistically–wait out the rest of my life until the very end to get something going.

Seriously, another fifteen year wait wouldn’t faze me. I’ll be 55 then and probably homeless and living on the streets with only the clothes on my back to sustain me. I couldn’t tell you for certain. But what I do know is that for now, I have nothing waiting in the wings–but just a bunch of unpublished books.

And it could very well be that I’ll never publish or self-publish. I keep seeing myself just writing and not doing anything because the color has gone from my life and all I’m doing is nothing to advance my situation in any way.

And when that happens–the common sense approach is to cut everything loose and salvage what you can. Start over from scratch.

In the business world, it would be called a lay off. In the working world, it would be called a termination. But whatever you want to call it, it would simply be simple dead wood. Drift wood.

And from my experience, nobody is really interested in that–leaving my reality very much in doubt for any hopes of change.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 26, 2014

Panty Thief Sample (The Vampiress Hunter)

black_by_kanikeyI don’t know much about vampire hunters other than what I’ve seen on both Vampire Hunter D movies, but my vampire hunter has this black cat named Sebastian who is a load of trouble and a lot of fun. His favorite activities are getting out of the apartment to eat bugs and hide Marlena’s panties under the bed for later.

So writing this bit made me laugh because…hell, it was funny having a pet that did all sorts of strange things, right? Because I had a black cat named Bandit that used to poop under my bed when I was a teen. But he was a superb mouser.

So writing about this particular black cat made me think of him and so many others whose antics were the stuff of legends and memories.

***

I tossed them into the small hamper next to the door, then went on the hunt for my own clothes and found them to be in three separate locations–with my panties stuffed partly under the bed towards the end.

I was at a momentary loss as to how this could’ve happened and then I suddenly remembered something.

Damn. I thought with hot embarrassment; turning to the one and only thief in the house who had the balls to pull something like this off time and again.

“Sabby, you little pervert!” I scolded him in a whisper–looking at his beautiful yellow eyes in passing. “If I told you once, I have told you countless times: No stealing Mommy’s panties!

But my cat just bumped up against my legs while I wore a disgusted look on my face.

“You better not have peed on them again, you little monster.” I growled, holding my panties to my nose and doing a sniff test.

Nope. My cat was in the clear this time. No smelling of funky cat pee. Nothing to suggest he was marking them for his very own…this time.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 23, 2014

Sample Teaser For The Vampiress Hunter. ^_^

lesbian_animals_by_inusen-d5ltjuiA bit of a teaser sample from my Vampiress Hunter novel. Publication date? 2026.

***

Tabby continued to kiss me tenderly on the stomach, trailing her mouth along the soft contours of my abs, dropping down just a little bit more in passing, her fingers snaking themselves down a little further towards my kitty.

With a little gentle insistence on her part, she managed to get my legs partly open so that she could gain access to the prize that awaited.

I didn’t so anything then, but stood there and let her explore on her own terms. I certainly didn’t want her to stop either, even as I felt the first of two fingers gently probe my folds, part my lips, and play with my swollen nub just a little before going a little further down.

“You smell wonderful.” Tabby complimented. “Like fresh rain after a summer storm.”

I tried not to giggle, but what came out of my mouth was aborted laughter and I quickly squelched any further precept by letting her retain control over the situation.

For a moment, a sliver of clarity entered my mind and I thought for a second that my little mind trick had gotten things a little backwards.

Wasn’t she supposed to be enjoying this to the fullest or was it vice-versa? Me enjoying instead? I thought to myself as I felt her nose bump along the my stomach before she spread my lips as far as they could go. Then I felt flicks of her tongue delicately plumbing my valley and swirling around my clitoris–sending small shots of electricity down my spine and into my legs–while ending somewhere below the knee.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 21, 2014

Panic. Just…panic.

panicThis month has been a complete and total waste–so far. Three chapters in less than three weeks means that my current win streak is over. Not to say that the past couple of months haven’t been liberating, but I wish August had been a little more kind to me than it has been thus far. But I suspect that all my energy reserves had been depleted after a vigorous summer of writing non-stop.

However, I have broken the 200K word count barrier for The Vampiress Hunter today, so all that remains is the 30,000 to do before the next month’s goal and deadline. I do have to get a start on The Lost Princess and The Life of Pi for the coming new year and that means a lot more writing ahead of me. But it also means a couple new goals to set in the interim.

I’m hoping that the fall and winter months are as productive–before December comes calling and it’s another job of bell-ringing for this out of work writer. (I have since given up looking for work because…no jobs and nobody interested in hiring the chronically unemployed. And I’ve already had long discussions with people about going back to college and facing the same hurdles coming out: Being overqualified and having no work experience, plus being out of work for almost twenty years. (How do you explain that to employers?) )

But I think I can nail down 1.5 novels before then. But as it stands, inspiration to write only strikes when you want it to, not because it has to.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 16, 2014

Codename: Velocity Fan Art #1

image_by_artemuses-d7uiikvI think I’m going to start encouraging people to send me fan art based on the book–so that everyone can see who their favorite character looks like. 

But this one is based on what Velocity might look like lounging about. I still have to come up with some that depict Jaen and Mari. But those might come later. :)

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 15, 2014

Time To Set A New Goal!

goals__by_costalonga-d50x4vwAugust is officially my slowest month so far yet.

Two chapters in 15 days, with five days off and I feel fragged. So I’m going to reset my goal keeper for a mid-September completion date and see where that lands me.

I still haven’t broken 200K on the novel, but I did come up with two new Vampiress Hunter novels for the planned prequel trilogy which follows Child of Blood, Circles of Desire, and Pools of Sorrow.

The first novel is called Blood and Bone and it will take place 16 years before the events set in the debut novel. The story line follows Marlena around in the European Union during the year the terrorist bombings strike the college campuses around the US, heralding in a new age of fear and terror–while laying the groundwork for the military protectorate.

I’m still trying to figure out the whole plot to the book–on top of everything else–but this is what I do as a novelist.

The second book titled Shadows in Starlight tells of what happened to Marlena during her first job assignment as a vampire hunter 200 years after her family and village were wiped out by the earthquake which left her an orphan and into the eventual care of her master and Creator, S’onu.

The third novel in the planned trilogy still doesn’t have a title, but I’ll be thinking of something in the interim.

 

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 7, 2014

What Makes People Buy Self-Published Books?

Schuyler R. Thorpe:

Interesting bit of information…

Originally posted on Tara Sparling writes:

In this post, I discussed the findings of a scientifically incontrovertible study (of myself) on the factors which influenced me when buying a self-published book.

The findings surprised me (which surprised me, because I was surveying myself). I found that I knew what made me buy a self-published book when it was in front of me, but not what put that book in front of me, unless I was browsing by genre (e.g. today I feel like reading a romance set in Ulaanbaatar: therefore I will now search specifically for such a story).

It was still hard to know what put those books in front of my eyes in order to buy them; to quote one of the commenters on that post – this is the thorny issue of “discoverability”. How will we find these books in the first place?

So I did the unthinkable, and asked some other people…

View original 640 more words

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 7, 2014

Fine Time For My Sleep Cycle To Go Out The Window…

the_need_of_sleep_by_shortpinayYes, yes, yes…I know, I know. I have ten days left until I reach my goal of 230,000 words for The Vampiress Hunter to be at least 60% complete (I’ve just added a couple more subplots which will just add to the story line overall.)

Presently, I’m at 195,000 words and I’ve been slowing down gradually over the past few days. I’ve also been super distracted by life’s many nuances. So I’m doing the best I can under present circumstances.

And on top of that, my sleep cycle is all switched around.  I’m sleeping the afternoons and evenings off and waking up in the early morning. And judging by that, it’ll be at least a week (maybe two) before I start going to bed at a regular time.

But the wife isn’t complaining. She’s enjoying having the whole bed to herself and sleeping like a bear. Of course whenever I go to bed, the dog has to climb into bed with me, chew, chew, chew himself silly, and then crawl all over me in the process–by rubbing his veg all over the place.

And then I’m snoring to beat the band and so this has put my writing into a bit of a pickle.

Sigh…

Even if I don’t hit the mark on August 16th, I’ll be fairly close. But this whole thing was just an incentive to keep writing and keep adding to the novel. So it’s not bad…considering what I started with on June 4th.

I’m thinking I should be finished by September at the latest. So I’ll be adding another target date soon to my blog.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | August 2, 2014

Bad Romance vs. Good Romance

Bad_Romance_by_4everbaconAs many of you know, my main strengths in writing is primarily science-fiction and fantasy. But lately, I’ve been taking a detour from those two specific genres and dipping into either fantasy-romance, or paranormal-romance.

And I hate romance. With a passion.

Naturally, you might think that what I’m doing now is a bit hypocritical, but let me explain: I don’t hate romance for what it is. I just don’t like the romance that everyone else in the industry does to make a fast buck or to pass the time. It’s just silly and ridiculous and not the least romantic or realistic.

Romance to me must speak of the heart. The passion. The feelings. The raw emotion of being able to share that special someone with your life and never look back.

To be able to say “I love you” in so many different ways, in many different languages.

I hate it when romance is being used strictly for cheap thrills and knock offs because it doesn’t set a very good example for either the reader or for the rest of the world in general. In romance, there should be an underlying connection and a bond between the two parties in question, rather than just focus on their appearances, looks, and money value. (Which is what most romance novelists do these days. They can never, ever write a realistic romance relationship without dipping into the crazy pot and pulling out God knows what to fill their empty-headed plots with.)

So for both Codename: Velocity and The Vampiress Hunter, I went and created those realistic romance scenarios and relationships. And it took me some time to iron out the bugs too. Getting the romance right in both novels required me to get in touch with myself and my feelings, my emotions, and some general idea that all these things mixed together would balance everything out in the end.

But like everything I write, I am especially bonded with my characters. They are them. But they are also a part of me. A small part.

Each character is drawn on a specific facet of my own personality, hopes, dreams, desires, even fantasies. (I won’t tell you which ones of course. That would be telling.)

Despite my introverted attitude and off and on behavior, there’s this other part of me that yearns to be free. To experience the world in all its glory. It that part which drives my characters to do the things that they do. To display specific qualities and mannerisms that are theirs and theirs alone. (As each one is different.)

So when it comes to falling in love and being in love with that said character or person, it becomes a very personal thing for me. Suddenly, I’m happy for the lucky couple. I’m also excited, because I can’t wait to see what happens next: What they will do, what fights they’ll get into, arguments they will share, disappointment, anxiety, nervousness, the whole ball of wax.

I want to see it all.

And these traits and characteristics is what is sorely lacking in today’s romance novels. There is just no emotion or feeling in them. Nothing to connect the reader to the characters. It’s just an over exaggerated reality show like The Bachelor or American Idol where everyone is so damned focused on appearances and looks and not the personality or the emotions of that said character.

It’s all empty and hollow.

For romance to really work in a book, you have to have chemistry and understanding. You have to begin the process of a long-term courtship that exposes the vulnerabilities of your characters to each other; to see if they are compatible or the least bit interested.

Simply having the girl lust after the hot guy and vice-versa will not accomplish anything you set out to do in your novel. There’s more to appearances and looks than simply wanting to charge your batteries and launch yourselves at these caricatures in question for the sake of a quick fling or a one-night stand.

When I decided to spill the beans and pair Mari with Velocity, I didn’t do it on a whim. I decided (or rather she decided) that it would do Velocity some good to be with someone whom cared about her and loved her very much–both as a person and as a life-long companion and partner.

Throughout most of the beginning of the book, I was throwing out clues about how Mari felt about Velocity: In either the locker room, at the dining table, or in the bedroom. I was showing how much of a loving individual that she was being towards her friend. And not because she wanted to jump her and have sex. That aspect was a growth medium as well for the teenage girl. It allowed her to experience what both love and a relationship entailed and not one that was hurried or spontaneous and left a lot of questions in the long run.

No. Mari cared about her a great deal. She stood by her through all the trials and tribulations that Velocity faced and didn’t forsake or desert her when the going got tough. Or they had an impossible challenge to deal with.

This is what a real relationship in a romance novel should be about. This.

This is what readers really want in a book. They want to feel connected to the characters in a way that speaks to them and binds them together in this one circle of friendship and love. This is what romance novels should entail. Should be.

But in the world of publishing and marketing, it simply isn’t meant to be. Not the way the mainstream has everything fixed.

In The Vampiress Hunter, I took the concept of relationships and love and turned them both on their head. In this novel, Skye and Marlena’s relationship is a bit lopsided and hurried to some degree. The sex is quick and intense and very funny or sweet–depending on how you look at.

But the principles are still the same: I wanted both parties to have a full and long-lasting relationship. I also wanted them to face their problems and challenges head on. For Skye Thompson, it was having an actual relationship with a girl after the death of his last girlfriend and coming to terms with that loss. For him, it was a time to reflect and rebuilt. But while he is relatively new and inexperienced at finding out what a girl wants and likes, he’s also quite the gentlemen and a goof. He acts like a kid at heart and is silly at times because of the way he is.

He’s not afraid to show his emotions or his feelings, but there are times when indecision and personal doubt reigns. But overall, he’s getting used to having a solid relationship with a woman who’s lived many lifetimes and is a vampire hunter on top of that.

For Marlena, it was more of an opportunity to break a long drought and get back to having a life that she had neglected for so long. It was also an opportunity to fall for someone who looked like the last guy she dated nearly thirty years ago. (Marlena was very impulsive in this regard–throwing caution to the wind in earlier chapters.)

But she’s also a bit of a stickler for tradition and rules. She hates being rushed and doesn’t appreciate some of the stupid stuff that Skye pulls on her from time to time, but she’s not the type of person to be holding a grudge against her new boyfriend either. The bonus aspect of this relationship is that she’s very open about certain things and is very attentive to Skye’s needs when the time calls for it. (She’s not the type to simply roll over and give in. That’s not how she is.)

So this relationship aspect is also very realistic to some degree and telling at the same time. Unlike Mari and Velocity’s relationship, this one of Skye and Marlena’s has more grit and dirt. It’s more defined than the two girls’ relationship. It has more quantifying attributes than two teenage girls who have never had sex before or even had a worthwhile relationship to boot.

And it also bonds with the reader on some level. It brings to the table a certain aspect which is often found lacking in today’s romance novels. And while some people may take issue to having to deal with a real relationship versus a fantasy one that they can wrap their infantile little minds around with, these relationships of mine pulls no punches.

I deal in realism. I can only take the fantasy crap for so long before I want to blow my brains out. And if I find a fake relationship thrown in, I’m just going to laugh at your stupid little self. Because that’s not how relationships should be portrayed.

Not at all.

Posted by: Schuyler R. Thorpe | July 23, 2014

Now On Amazon (Promo #1)

FamineThe fate of every soul rests upon his shoulders. His fate rests in the hands of a troubled, young girl.

It’s 1895 — the cusp of the Victorian and Edwardian eras — and Bartholomew Pelletier is a gentleman and a warrior. For fifteen centuries he’s endured the depraved appetite of Famine — one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse — as she’s consumed his strength and sought to unite with her fellow Horsemen. But now Bartholomew’s chance to imprison her has appeared…in the form of his young ward Matilde.

Chosen to wield the immeasurable power of the Catcher — the one entity that can capture the escaped Horsemen — Matilde is a distrustful child from an abusive and impoverished home. She must be hidden from Famine as she grows strong, learns to fight, and reaches adulthood. But Bartholomew faces a terrible act: For Matilde to become the immortal Catcher, he must gain her trust, and then he must end her life.

By any means necessary, Bartholomew intends to conquer this enemy, but is he willing to sacrifice the one person he loves in order to save mankind?

 

Now available on Amazon in e-book format and paperback.

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