October 24, 2012

NaNoWriMo: The Basics

In case you haven't figured out, I'm kind of huge on this National Novel Writing Month thing.

The month of November has been christened as what I will refer to as NaNoWriMo: an entire month of writing quite dangerously. The event is run by a real-life non-profit organization that you can support (and please do!), and there's only one goal: to write a novel in a month. People get together and organize events and write together -- like in the picture on the left (that's me in the red hoodie, writing Cosmic on my phone, in front of the Flatiron building). You can make your own goals, certainly, but the standard goal for everybody is to write fifty thousand words in a month.

You read that right. That's 50,000.

There aren't really any other rules, although you should start from scratch, and you can't write anything before November 1st. You can continue after November, obviously, and you can plan as much as you like ahead of time.

You may be thinking, how is this even possible? But it is. I started doing NaNoWriMo in 2005, and I've won every year I've done it. Steel Angel was a NaNo novel. So is the first Cosmic novel. Blue Impulse was done as a special Camp version of NaNoWriMo this past June. And it hasn't always been easy. I've done six hour commutes, worked crazy hours, went to school, even led people to do the same madness I did for five years as a Municipal Liaison. And I have pulled off a win every single year.

Sound like fun? The official address is http://www.nanowrimo.org; you can sign up any time throughout November. Once you sign up, pick where you live, and you can find all of the local events in your area. If you're not sure, you can still sign up. There aren't any 'prizes' for reaching 50,000 the fastest, or being done on time, other than some cool online swag and some serious bragging rights. Oh, did I mention the first draft of your novel?

To say I'm a NaNo pro is probably the wrong term to use, although I do have a few pieces of advice if this sounds up your alley:

1: Find people to write with. This doesn't have to be local, or even in person. The first year I did NaNo, I sat in my parents' basement on my desktop Mac and interacted with people on the forums. Having other writers doing the same thing as you and cheering you on is crucial to success. Writing events called "write-ins" are held across the country, where people get together and write together. If you can, find one in your area. If you can't, there are ones held online all the time.

2: Have at least some sort of a plan on November 1st. You don't have to plan like crazy like I do, but it helps to have some sort of a running idea that you can stick with throughout the month. As mentioned before, one of the few rules is that you start from scratch, but it can be an idea you love with characters you've known for years. It can even be fanfiction! (Though I've never done this during NaNo.) But having a couple of characters and at least a theme will work wonders and ensure you at least get to Week Two.

3: Pace yourself. Not everybody can write a hundred and three words per minute -- although I do make everybody at write-ins jealous. In order to reach 50,000 in a month, the site has figured out you need to write 1,667 words a day, which is totally doable. Any minute you spend writing will help you.

4: Find ways to write. When I moved to NYC, I knew doing NaNo on my laptop would be hard because I would spend so much time in transit. It's basically the only reason I switched from my slider to my iPhone -- and it also meant that the time I spent on the boat and the bus was time spent writing.

5: Reward yourself. I am a notorious Mountain Dew Code Red drinker; it's just my vice as a reader. Some need alcohol, or drugs, or sex. Give me Dew. (I'm such a Midwesterner.) The first year I did NaNo, I rewarded myself with Code Red and peanut butter M&Ms when I got to a certain count. Last year, it was cookies at Panera, where a lot of the Queens write-ins were held.

I'll be posting about NaNoWriMo all month long, and I'll probably be talking a lot as well about last year's novel, Cosmic: The Heart Of It All, which some of you picked up at NYCC. The actual release date is still in the works, but you'll see it here first.

October 17, 2012

Thank You!

Wow, now that it's Tuesday and I can think clearly again, I wanted to take just a minute to thank you all for making New York Comic-Con such a success! I can't count a time when I didn't have THAT much fun in one weekend.

I shared a booth in small press with the lovely Tamsin Silver (in the middle; I'm on the left with Victini) and the crazy John Hartness (not in the picture, probably because he was talking to the booth babes). We spent all four days talking to people, taking pictures, and being generally awesome.

I'm happy to say that all of my Cosmic special editions sold out at the con! That also means if you want to read Cosmic, you'll have to wait until the release date is announced, along with more information. (The Workbook doesn't count -- the story itself has finally been edited and sent back and forth to betas.)

I do still have a few copies of Taconum Carnival and RB200X left, though -- which can only mean one thing: that online giveaways are in the works! Keep your eyes here, as I'll have them up soon.

October 9, 2012

New York Comic-Con Fun!

If you're not going to be at NYCC, please still read this post! There's lots of fun for you as well.

I am super-excited for this weekend in New York City, because it's time for New York Comic-Con!

To put it in a very small nutshell, NYCC is the second biggest comic-convention in existence (the first being San Diego) dedicated to all things pop culture. It's being held at the Javits Center, which is a very space-age convention hall on the Lower West Side, and a hundred thousand people went last year. That's 100,000. 

I will be one of them. But I'm not just going as a fan.

If you are going to NYCC, I will be at booth #2167 selling both The Mystery of Taconum Carnival and Rhythm Buster 200X: Blue Impulse. I will be on hand to sell both of these books. But it wouldn't be a convention without a couple of fun discounts!

1: Sanctuary Radio, an awesome online radio station that plays all sorts of genres ranging from goth to synthpop to retro 80's has been plugging our booth ALL WEEK. Mention that you heard about our booth at NYCC, and I'll give you a discount.

2: For those of you who want to be in the loop about Cosmic...and trust me, you want to be in the loop about Cosmic. The book is scheduled to launch either at the end of this year or the beginning of next year, but if you're at NYCC, you can pick up an exclusive copy, with a NYCC-exclusive cover! This is a once-only promotion.

3: If you're not going to make it to NYCC, never fear! Go to CreateSpace, enter code G7FBYZCA at checkout and you'll receive 20% off your order! This is for anybody, anywhere, on either Taconum Carnival or RB200X at CreateSpace. Get Christmas shopping out of the way early!

I will probably post again before the convention, so keep your eyes here!


October 7, 2012

Taconum Carnival Kindle Available!

The Mystery of Taconum Carnival is now available on Kindle!

Digital List Price: $0.99 What's this?
Kindle Price: $0.99 includes free wireless delivery via Amazon Whispernet

With a price of only ninety nine cents, there's no reason not to join Karen and Jet on their adventures. It's as easy as one click on the cover.

To celebrate, I've included the link to Ruins Deflation Spiral, so you can see the abandoned amusement park that inspired Taconum Carnival. The website itself is in Japanese, but the white buttons at the bottom will lead to other pages. Have fun!

Ruins Deflation Spiral

October 6, 2012

E-Books and Cowboy Boots

I've spent most of the day preparing everything for New York Comic-Con! I will shortly have a post up specifically about that (tomorrow or Sunday), and you'll want to watch for that, trust me. It will be exciting and fun to be at the Javits with everybody.

But if you're not in New York, no fear! As mentioned last post, Taconum Carnival and Rhythm Buster are both available in print. Also, Taconum Carnival will be available shortly in e-book format! Kindle will reflect in forty eight hours or so, and Nook and iTunes will hopefully be shortly behind that. If anybody has trouble downloading their copy, please let me know. (RB200X will take a bit longer to convert; I have to strip the 'gameness' from the file.)

It's no secret that I listen to music when I write. As a musician, I let the music become one with the story and carry it forward. Every one of my books has had a soundtrack. When I was writing the original Taconum Carnival, I listened to a lot of the Harmony series of J-Pop instrumentals. Rhythm Buster 200X was certainly conceived by a lot of DDR music, but I ended up actually writing to the Rewrite visual novel soundtrack. Last year's Cosmic was written mostly to 90's boy band music, but that was on purpose.

I'm not going to give away too much of the idea for this year's NaNo, save for that it's a sequel to Cosmic (but people already knew that). What they don't know is that I am currently constructing a playlist for this year...that consists entirely of 90's country music.*

That may seem weird to some, but it will fit in with the story. 90's country marked a shift in the style of the genre and how it was marketed. Listen to Taylor Swift? Carrie Underwood? Keith Urban, Zac Brown Band, Lady Antebellum? You have George Strait, Garth Brooks, Jo Dee Messina, Faith Hill and Tim McGraw and several others to thank for kind of paving the way. (Shania Twain released one album in a pop and country version. There you go.)

So as November comes and you start seeing word counts up here, expect to see a bit or two about the music. I'll share as much as I can without totally spoiling the story.

* In Cosmic, culture ends at the New Year, 2000, also known as Y2K. That's why there's the 90's boy bands, and the 90's country: we can't go any sooner than that.

October 1, 2012

Website Now Live!

Today's been a busy day for the website! I've been hard at work making sure all of the pages are live, and everything is all put together. Feel free to look around and enjoy all of the current stops!
Places I would recommend visiting:
The Mystery of Taconum Carnival: This is the novel I'll be pushing at New York Comic-Con. Those of you who have known me for a while know that this book was a special release a few years back. I've reworked a couple of style changes (but the plot, which was a huge hit, is still the same) and am now making it available to everybody. The print version is now up on Amazon; the e-book version will be out before Comic-Con on the 11th of this month.
Rhythm Buster 200X: I would recommend buying a hard copy of this book. Why? It's not that I'm trying to pass on my ego, or saying that e-books are bad (note above where I'm releasing Taconum Carnival as an e-book). I'm saying that because the experience of holding the print version of RB200X will be MUCH different than reading an e-book. First of all, as you can see, the book cover emulates a video game cover. The back cover, spine, and inside of the book also emulate a video game, which you won't be able to see in the eventual e-book version. In addition, the book time skips, and each time skip is marked with a different font. (This is a reason I will eventually recommend the Cosmic print versions as well, but RB200X even more so.)
Almond Dust: There is a lot of information up about the process that went into making last year's album, in addition to a link that takes you right to iTunes. If you are interested in any of my other music, the 'Music Store' stop will take you to BandCamp. You can listen for free there, and some of the tracks are free to download. Have fun!

More will be coming all the time, so make sure to stay tuned.