The Pain of Creation (NANOWRIMO angst)

I guess I already announced this on LiveJournal, but I’m going to commit NANOWRIMO, again.  I’ve tried several times, and it hasn’t worked well.  This time will be different.  Why will this time be Different?

Well, I guess one reason might be that I have flesh and blood friends trying it with me, and we’re actually going to meet.  Maybe that will keep me off of FB, LJ, rec.arts.sf.composition, and other forms of malcontent lurking.  Lately I’ve spent more time endlessly searching my junk filters than writing, and something has to give.

But, to start a new novel?  To concentrate on the requested sequel? To work on one of my other solid starts?

If you don’t know what NANOWRIMO is, you’re probably lucky.  If you think you might want to torture yourself, look at http://www.nanowrimo.org/.  Start on 1 November, write 50K words during November, and Bob’s your uncle. Where does that that expression come from, anyway?

Awards

It snowed on my house all Friday night, and continued snowing in Anchorage until sometime after 7:00 pm last evening.  With 134.5″ as of yesterday evening, we’re now about two inches over the highest recorded snowfall for a single winter (1954-55, with 132.6″), although it only snowed as much as 7 inches twice all winter (we did have something like 32 days in a row with an inch or two every day).  It froze pretty solidly last night (Saturday, April 7th) and somebody left my son’s window open all night, so I just woke up to a very chili upstairs floor a few minutes ago.  The snow may not last long as temps should reach into the 40s today.  My son didn’t build a snowman yesterday, because the two of us lit out and visited Anchorage.

Zook Country has generated some outstanding reader reviews, and I hope that there are many more to come!  I’ve posted snippets of a couple on the Zook Country page at http://www.billswears.com/storytelling/, and Lida Quillen has posted a few reviews at http://twilighttimesbooks.com/ZookCountry_ch1.html#ZookCountry_rev.

The nature of the industry is that “literary reviewers” aren’t likely to review Zook Country spontaneously.  Jake’s voice is very much appropriate for the story told, and literary types discuss authorial and narrative voice all the time, but many of them just can’t see a uniquely voiced book as worthy of review until the author is dead or somehow pulls the J.K. Rowling trick.  It’s up to fans and reader reviews to get the book enough attention to merit attention on high visibility web-sites.

Jess Mannion at http://www.goodreads.com/review/show/303981335 gets the “I’m a fan of this reviewer” award for March.  She’s a displaced Alaskan who seems to be thriving in NYC, and I very much miss her and Uncle Sean.

“interesting Juxtaposting” award for March (not juxtaposition, I’m making up a word here).  I received an e-mail from a reviewer who refused to review the book because, among other comments “if someone shot another person they would not get up and be able to drive a car. Now if they were wearing a vest or something else the bullet would not kill them but still leave its mark. My husband and youngest son are in law enforcement. My husband is a deputy and son is a cop. I asked them about it.”  She sent me this on March 12th.  On March 16th, just as I was sinking into despair from that rejection, but otherwise unrelated, a recently retired long term Law Enforcement professional (with a son still in the police department) posted:  “I don’t usually read science fiction, but I really enjoyed Zook Country. It is fast paced, action packed and easy to read. Zook Country would make a great action movie. I am looking forward to a sequel.” Pat L.  http://www.barnesandnoble.com/reviews/Zook-Country%2FBill-Swears/1108892461.

Okay, I know the retired cop who posted the Barnes and Noble Review, but it’s a really interesting coincidence (well, we knew each other in prehistory, before common folk had the interwebs). Pat L may not know it, but he’s the person who recommended that I buy the CZ-75 that made it into the book.

If you’re looking for something to do for a few minutes, please visit the Amazon and Barnes and Noble sites, “like” the book, “like” any reviews that seem particularly useful.  For that matter, tell your friends, and their friends, to buy the book! 

I’m not desperate, I just read that way…

Tracking Book sales

Aside

I suppose it’s early hours yet, but it’s abundantly clear that I’ve spent a lot more time setting up accounts to track book sales than my potential customers have buying books. If you are within the sound of this blog: a. buy Zook Country; b. tell all of your friends to buy Zook Country.  That’s totally a joke, but do it anyway.  It’s a good book.

Enough said?  I don’t think so.  Maybe I should try individually e-mailing all of my friends.  That should kill another ten minutes or so.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B0078X7CPI

Staying busy – Zook Country

Aside

Zook Country is formally available at Amazon as a Kindle book.  In the end, I decided that it was more thriller than horror, and have listed it as Action-Adventure and Thriller, rather than urban fantasy, which was my first instinct. Don’t know what I really ought to call it, genre wise.  It’s definitely an action book, and not far enough away from us today to call it alternate reality.

As an aside, Teri and I have bought a business license for Bleeding Edge Books which so far is an introductory web-site and an idea, but might yet become more.  I’m looking forward to populating another site www.billswears.com which will bring our family derived sites up to about five.

Sorry I haven’t posted more here in the past couple weeks. :-)

Bill

Zook Country from Bleeding Edge Books

Aside

With luck, the e-book version of Zook Country will go up next weekend.  I probably shouldn’t bring it up until it does, but I’ve been running around coordinating things for the last few weeks, and etc, so I’m getting pretty excited. I’ll reprise the blurb & etc. once I’ve got the final book in electronic hand.

Oh, it will be by Bill Swears – so the voters have spoken…

I’m not welcome at either the liberal or conservative tables.

I’m a gun owning machete wielding landowner (Haven’t found a better cure for devil’s club on a steep slope than a big knife).  I live on a ridge line in the Chugach Mountains of Alaska.  I believe that the TSA should be constrained, the Patriot Act should be eliminated or critically rewritten by people who value their rights more than their safety, or even my safety.  I think that every hospital and medical clinic in the US should be able to fearlessly take in every American patient that comes through the doors without worrying about who is going to pay, because they know that the bill will be paid.  Medical care costs have grown beyond the resources of the middle class, and yet the country only exists as a country because of the efforts of that middle class.  We build the chips and datasets, cars and trucks, and the economic environment that allows the rich to become rich.  We do have the right to expect healthy lives, considering how much we participate in empowering this land, for how little of the pool of money, and there is more than enough money in the medical care system to ensure that all of us can. Just the money wasted on insurance overhead and caregiver financial administration would more than care for a sturdy health care system for the currently uninsured.

You might say that I’m an independent voter.  I believe that the banks, not President Bush, took down Wall Street and created the mortgage crisis for a clean and continuing profit (take over a mortgage, foreclose when the owner is one or three payments behind, take the mortgage insurance, sell the house for it’s full market value, never repay the insurance payout.  What’s not to love about that?).  The national debt was created to fund a war half-way around the world that we won, but whose outcome was never going to create any greater good in the U.S.  Why? Weapons of mass destruction?  Not bloody likely.

Saddam Hussein and his minions were never a legitimate threat to the U.S.  I’d like to know what the real reason was, but I’m betting I’d disapprove.  Western cultures have been trying to remake the Middle East for more than two thousand years and it always ends poorly.  Maybe the U.S. really shouldn’t go 11,000 miles away and exercise American dominance games.  I’m not sure who it’s helping.  I know it isn’t me, and I know it isn’t my country’s economy.

Window Dressing

Republicans jumped on a bandwagon to pressure the president to approve a proposed oil pipeline through 1700 miles of the interior, and have gone all crazy when he did’t do that within a 60 day notional deadline the Republicans created from whole cloth. Ignore the fact that major construction that has a significant possibility of causing substantial environmental damage to the areas through which it passes.  Reducing or mitigating environmental damage isn’t on the Republican radar this year.  But the legal requirement for an Environmental Impact Statement, and the near impossibility of producing one of those that will stand up in a district court under those sort of time constraints would be on the Republican radar if they actually wanted the pipeline to succeed.

The Republican big-brain trust thinks that they’ve got a win no matter what. If Obama approves the pipeline, but the approval falls apart in court, then Obama is wrong.  If Obama refuses the stupid Republican deadline, then he doesn’t believe in progress, or finding jobs for Americans.

I hope that Obama will commit that unthinkable third act, getting it right the first time, so that we don’t have to do it over.

No, I don’t think that my president needs to be a millionaire

Aside

I know a surprisingly large group of people who’ve put their lives into public service, but never took the time to make themselves millionaires.  I have no problem with somebody who has made themselves a millionaire, but much rather vote for a public servant who considers supporting the nation to be more important than making millions of dollars.

One of my state’s recent senators made himself a multimillionaire during his first term in the Senate, many years ago.  I don’t consider that laudable in any way.