Motivations: Blood Trade

I never really wanted to write a vampire book and I’m not a fan of Twilight (I read the first book and thought it was okay, but didn’t love it.)  Urban fantasy really isn’t my cup of tea either.  But my writers’ group used to meet in Borders and they would seat us right between two massive shelves of vampire books.  We would always joke with each other that we should all be writing one.  I always commented that my vampires wouldn’t be lovers.  They would be the bad guys.  I did finally relent and have a slightly good vampire, but she wasn’t really that good.

I started writing Blood Trade and got to the third chapter, when it took a really dark turn.  I was describing not the Vegas that I knew, but one that was in rapid decay as the forces of darkness took over.  I liked it.  So I went back and rewrote the first two chapters and the whole book got much darker.

I had originally planned my heroine Xochitl to be a goth girl, but as with the rest of the story, her background and character got MUCH darker.  I have to say, I really like how the story came out, but it is DARK.  I actually have the first two chapters of a sequel already written, but who knows when I’ll get to it.  After all, I’ve had the first few chapters of the Amathar sequel done for years.  I will say this though, the sequel to Blood Trade (assuming I ever finish it)  will be even darker than the first one.

Motivations: Women of Power

Once again, this is the new cover for Women of Power which graces the updated version.

I got the idea for Women of Power from Feedbooks.com.  Feedbooks was one of the early sites to get great ebook downloads (though I think it has suffered a bit since they went commercial).  One of the great things among their original books back in 2009 (that lately seem to be all erotica) were fan-fiction commics– mini books with comic book covers that were prose inside.  They were mostly based on DC characters like Batman and The Teen Titans.  I decided to try my hand at writing one of those.

There was a whole club and web organization which assigned which books each writer was working on.  That seemed like a whole lot of trouble to me.  Plus I just like to go with my own characters, so that’s what I did.  I made up All American Girl and Skygirl and patterned their descriptions after some cover art I purchased for the “comics.”  I wrote and posted the first two “issues,” but by the time I had finished “issue” (read chapter) three.  I decided that I wanted to make it a full novella.  I set it aside and didn’t get back to it for two years.

You can still find issue 1 of Women of Power at Feedbooks as a free download.  I took issue 2 down because it was significantly different than what became chapter two in the book, and I didn’t want people reading the former and then jumping into chapter 3 of the latter and getting lost.

On a side note, my son and I have just plotted a sequel to Women of Power, with some ideas that I just love.  I really want him to write it with me, because otherwise it may be a while until I get to it.  If that’s the way it turns out, it will be my first co-written work.

Motivations: His Robot Wife

His Robot Wife was written for entirely different reasons than any other book I’ve written.  All the other books (with maybe the exception of His Robot Girlfriend) were written because I thought I had a great story to tell and I wanted to tell it.  You could say that I wrote His Robot Wife for money, though that’s not entirely accurate.  I priced it an 99 cents even though I could have made more by pricing it higher.  I wrote it because I knew it would sell.

I publish His Robot Girlfriend in 2008, and it has been downloaded hundreds of thousands of times.  Many people wrote and asked for a sequel.  This was a big deal for me.  But I didn’t have a story.  As far as I was concerned, the story of Mike and Patience was over.  Still, people kept asking.  It took me three years to come up with a story for them, and I think it’s probably my weakest plot (but HRG wasn’t popular for its plot, but rather its characters anyway).  So in 2011 I wrote His Robot Wife.  It is short, at 28,000 words, but it went easily enough, and as it turned out, it has sold more copies than all my other books put together.

People still wanted another book in the series, but I really struggled to come up with an idea.  Then one night, it just popped into my head.  If I took the point of view away from Mike and gave it to Patience, a whole series of story ideas presented themselves.  I sat down and plotted out five books.

I spent some time writing the new book last night.  It’s not as easy to write as some other books in my workshop, but I’m having a bit of fun.  Now for those of you who bothered to read to the end… here is a little hint about something in the next book.

Patience acts as a mentor to another Daffodil, teaching her how to seem more human.  Talk about the blind leading the blind.

 

Motivations: The Dark and Forbidding Land

The Dark and Forbidding Land was the first of two books that I squeezed between the events that happened in the original outline of Senta and the Steel Dragon, the other being The Young Sorceress.  I enjoyed writing TDAFL and I think it works well.  Part of that was because writing about Senta as a pre-teen was my favorite part of writing the entire series.

One of the challenges of writing this book was not to top the events in The Drache Girl.  I didn’t want Senta aged 10 to be more powerful and experienced than Senta aged 12.  Remember Star Wars, where we watch R2-D2 trudge around in the desert in episode 4, only to find out in episode 1, that he could fly.

The other challenge that I had was that I knew there were going to be characters who were going to die, based on my single book outline.  But I was limited in which characters I could kill, because some of them appeared in The Drache Girl and The Two Dragons which were already written.  So I sat down and created a whole pack of characters who, unbeknownst to them, were doomed.  The down side of this was that I ended up liking several of them and was sorry to see them go.  Not all of them ended up dying.  So, there are a couple of characters who appear only in books 2 and 4.

I haven’t read The Dark and Forbidding Land in a while, so I have to go back and take a look.  My son though, tells me it is his favorite book in the series.

Motivations: Brechalon

By the end of 2009, I had already decided that I was going to publish The Voyage of the Minotaur myself.  I had three fairly popular free books out there– His Robot Girlfriend, and the two Eaglethorpe Buxton stories.  So I thought, what I really need is a prequel to distribute free that will drive interest for The Voyage of the Minotaur and subsequent books.

Brechalon was a difficult task, because I was trying to set up what would happen in a year or two before the action really starts.  Two of my main characters were at this point fairly uninteresting children and a third was in prison.  I decided to focus on the others, so I had the Iolanthe-Terrence-Yuah story line, the Iolanthe-Zeah story line and the Augie story line.  In addition I followed Zurfina into the prison.  Those decisions brought out a couple of other weaknesses.  The most interesting thing about Terrence is his drug addiction, but I couldn’t show too much of it without giving it away, and the most interesting thing about Zurfina is her magic, and she was in an anti-magic prison cell.  In the end, I was pretty happy with the story, though I don’t think it does much more than hint at what really is to come in The Voyage of the Minotaur.

I don’t think I’ll ever attempt a prequel of this type again.

Motivations: Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Sorceress

I don’t know what happened to my original post, but here it is basically.

I had finished Eaglethorpe Buxton and the Elven Princess and had a lot of fun writing it.  I decided a second Eaglethorpe book was in order.  A few years ealier, I had written a little play, which was performed by the Brown Junior High Drama Club to great success, and I decided that this play had been written by Eaglethorpe.  The play involves characters from his world– specifically the parents of the Queen of Aerithraine, so it fit.

I was watching lots of Shakespeare at the time and you will see a lot of not so subtle nods to the Bard.  The third part of Eaglethorpe (which is coming in The Many Adventures of Eaglethorpe Buxton) is really a continuation of the story in Sorceress.

 

Motivations: Princess of Amathar

I began writing Princess of Amathar so long ago, it’s really difficult to remember what I was thinking at the time.  It was about 1980 and I was just about two years out of high school.  I began writing several stories in short chapters, rotating between them.  One was a fantasy story about an alternate world, one was a fantasy story set in a dream world (which I later used as the white opthalium drug-induced world for Senta and the Steel Dragon), but most of them were fan fiction sequels to Edgar Rice Burroughs Books.  Finally there was Amathar.

My idea behind Amathar was to write a book that ERB might write if he was still around at the time.  In that way, Princess of Amathar more than any of my other books, was written as a book I would really want to read.  As the years passed and the story was revised, it became more of a love-letter to the fond memories I had reading John Carter of Mars, Pellucidar, and Carson of Venus as a kid.

I still have the original first chapter draft and the story is quite different than the final version.  Our earth hero arrives mysteriously in Ecos, though he doesn’t have the same name and he doesn’t meet Malagor.  Instead he immediately finds a family of neo-luddite Amatharians whose daughter has been captured by Zoasians.  The book changed again and again over the years.  Alexander got his first name after I wrote a college paper on Alexander the Great, and his last name from a girl I worked with at Kmart.

By 1992, when I started teaching, the book was only half done.  I worked really hard to finish it and did so about 1997.  Many of the characters and alien races were named after kids in school, though in revision they were usually changed.  It went through many revisions after that and it got many rejection letters from publishers, before I finally published it in 2007.  The ebook came out in 2009.

This month, Princess of Amathar should pass the 800 copies sold mark.  That means I’ve made about  $240.00 in royalties.  Considering I suspect I worked on it about 3,269 man-hours, that’s 7.34 cents per hour.  Of course thats assuming all the publishing and promotion as free,  Still, I cannot regret my time spent on this book.  It was a real endeavor of love and I still enjoy reading it.