Final ROW80 Check-In of Q3 2014!

TheWoodsman_1600x1000I can honestly say this is the most productive ROW80 quarter I’ve experienced in quite a while. Whee!

Let’s review those goals, though I’m renumbering them:

1. Find time to work on finalizing EyeCU The Woodsman. It’s tiring to even think about this one, but it needs to happen.

And it did! EyeCU is now on Amazon on preorder, retitled as The Woodsman, with the book set to go on live sale on Friday, October 17!

I am hoping to have the hardcover ready in time for the eBook launch, too.

Between ROW80 and the “Fantastic Finish” challenge over on the eight-hour fiction blog, I’ve finally got this book off my table and out there for sale. (Well, almost. Obviously it’s not live for another three weeks or so, but you know what I mean.

2. Write at least one new message for my faith community. (Because it’s coming up and I need to get it done.)

Done. And I wrote three, actually.

3. Complete at least one part of my new WIP, codenamed TEXTER. It’s a horror-crime sort of deal, and no, it’s nothing like Jeff Lindsay’s brilliant Dexter novels. TEXTER is just a codename I came up with to keep from revealing the actual working title until I’m ready to. Get two parts written, if I can.

I’m slowly getting back to TEXTER, which is my next horror/crime fiction-serial killer novel. It’ll make a great follow-up to The Woodsman, and is designed from inception to be delivered in three parts, and probably eventually collected as a single novel. I’m close to having the first part/book done with two more parts/books remaining.

4. Produce one new short for my secret pen name. Just one, but it needs to be done to liven things up with that name. Probably sooner than later.

This one didn’t happen, because I decided midway through Q3 to focus way way more on my own name, and less on my pen name. Counting The Woodsman, I have released three new books in 2014, the other two being Nice Girl Like You and Spoiled. The next two will finish the story I started in Spoiled: Rotten, followed by Renewed. And I’m planning a zombie story for Halloween, too.

That’d bring me to six new releases under my own name in 2014, and I may add a seventh if I find some time in December to do so. But I am kinda-sorta hoping to do a book blog tour to promote The Woodsman and my other new releases, so we’ll see if I can find the time.

Meanwhile, if Q4 goes well, I may eventually find time to do a secret pen-name book, too. Who knows? I’ve been super-productive of late.

See you all in October!


Another Sunday check-in!

TheWoodsman_1600x1000Hey all.

I know: a check-in from me two weeks in a row? Will wonders never cease? Let’s hope not.

My big news for the week is that my acceptance of the Fantastic Finish challenge is paying dividends. I pushed hard this weekend and am now 28 chapters and about 29,000 words away from finishing EyeCU. It’s realistic at this point to believe I’ll have the final revisions done, the book formatted, and available for pre-order by this time next week.

I have invested thirty-three months and countless hours on this book, so it’s almost surreal that it’s about to all come to a conclusion with me hitting Upload in KDP and CreateSpace. But it’s about to happen, and as you can see, I have a wonderful new cover and title for the book: The Woodsman is the new title, and my business-partner, Victorine E. Lieske, is the designer of the cover.

So, almost three years after I started it, the novel once known as EyeCU is now about to be unleashed on the world as The Woodsman. The book will, when I’ve finished formatting it, go on pre-order on Amazon, probably later this week. I’m eyeing mid-October for its official release date, when sales will go live, but a pre-order is certainly as good as an order!

Time to review my original goals:

1. Complete at least one part of my new WIP, codenamed TEXTER. It’s a horror-crime sort of deal, and no, it’s nothing like Jeff Lindsay’s brilliant Dexter novels. TEXTER is just a codename I came up with to keep from revealing the actual working title until I’m ready to. Get two parts written, if I can.

Texter is on hold until I finish up The Woodsman, so I should be getting back to it next week sometime. Only a chapter away from finishing Part 1 of this three-part series.

2. Produce one new short for my secret pen name. Just one, but it needs to be done to liven things up with that name. Probably sooner than later.

Still hasn’t happened. But I’m focusing on building up my own name for the rest of 2014, so this goal is taking a back seat right now.

3. Find time to work on finalizing EyeCU The Woodsman. It’s tiring to even think about this one, but it needs to happen.

And I’m days away from completing this one! I’ve had this as a goal for so many ROW80 sessions, I lost count long ago. THIS IS THE BIG ONE, FOLKS!

4. Write at least one new message for my faith community. (Because it’s coming up and I need to get it done.)

Done. I ended up writing three, actually, because I’m basically available to them on an on-call basis.


An early September check-in

Spoiled_1600It’s that time again, folks: time for me to be a little less lazy and post a ROW80 update. Especially since I have news to report that’s worth reporting.

First and foremost, as you can see to the left, I have a new title released! Spoiled is Book 1 in a planned trilogy, and was a story I completed as part of an 8-hour book challenge in August. It was exhilarating to sit down, write something in a set amount of time, get it up, and then get it out and published. My book took closer to 11 hours than eight, but it also happens to be 10K words instead of considerably shorter, so I’m still happy with it.

It was Joe Konrath’s original eight-hour book challenge that helped me get something new out a year ago: The Devohrah Initiative. That was a much shorter story. The tradition is being kept alive by a writer under the pen name of Donald Rump. His blog can be found here.

Spoiled isn’t a project I’ve had sitting around gathering dust. I just kind of “made it up as I went along,” as they say.

I have two more parts left, and they will both be completed as eight-hour challenge books before the year is out.

In the spirit of the Eight-Hour Fiction Challenge, I’m currently working to get EyeCU done as part of a new category there: fantastic finishes. I’m 23 chapters into a 92-chapter update and final polish of the manuscript, with about four or five hours invested. I can take up to 24 hours and still qualify for a fantastic finish, and that’s my goal this month: to get EyeCU polished, formatted, and up for pre-orders to it can go live in time for Halloween.

In addition to Spoiled and EyeCU, my “before the end of this year” plans include Rotten (Book 2 of Spoiled Rotten), Renewed (Book 3 of Spoiled Rotten), and a zombie novelette to be released on Halloween entitled Razed.

If I have time in December, I may do something then, too, but odds are I’ll be working on Project Texter and Project POTUS Sitcom most of that month, trying to gear up for an aggressive 2015.

Time to review my original goals:

1. Complete at least one part of my new WIP, codenamed TEXTER. It’s a horror-crime sort of deal, and no, it’s nothing like Jeff Lindsay’s brilliant Dexter novels. TEXTER is just a codename I came up with to keep from revealing the actual working title until I’m ready to. Get two parts written, if I can.

I’m a chapter away from completing Part 1 of Project Texter, and the main reason it’s not already done is that I took some time away from it to write and release Spoiled and concentrate on finishing EyeCU.

2. Produce one new short for my secret pen name. Just one, but it needs to be done to liven things up with that name. Probably sooner than later.

Hasn’t happened yet. May do this as an eight-hour challenge at some point. But I’m focusing a LOT on building up my own name for the rest of 2014, so this goal may take a back seat.

3. Find time to work on finalizing EyeCU. It’s tiring to even think about this one, but it needs to happen.

Right in the middle of that effort. Time to get this albatross from around my neck.

4. Write at least one new message for my faith community. (Because it’s coming up and I need to get it done.)

Done. I ended up writing three, actually, because I’m basically available to them on an on-call basis.


Midweek Check-In for July 23

Hey all.

Time for a check-in.

Let’s start by reviewing my original goals.

1. Complete at least one part of my new WIP, codenamed TEXTER. It’s a horror-crime sort of deal, and no, it’s nothing like Jeff Lindsay’s brilliant Dexter novels. TEXTER is just a codename I came up with to keep from revealing the actual working title until I’m ready to. Get two parts written, if I can.

The code-named project TEXTER is well on its way for Part One.

Part One will be written in five or six lengthy chapters. I’m currently in the middle of Chapter Four. That’s about 18,000 words in, so far, with probably in the neighborhood of another 9,000 to 14,000 words before it’s ready for the editor.

There will probably be two additional parts after Part One. Or more. But I’m pleased with my progress.

It’s been a summer of creativity for me, too.

I have two new projects I plan to work on, as soon as I can. One is codenamed POTUS Sitcom. The other is codenamed DN Girl. That’s all I can say about them now, because they’re just ideas.

2. Produce one new short for my secret pen name. Just one, but it needs to be done to liven things up with that name. Probably sooner than later.

Not yet. Too busy with other stuff. But it is needed.

Soon. Maybe.

3. Find time to work on finalizing EyeCU. It’s tiring to even think about this one, but it needs to happen.

Nah, I gotta ride this wave of new creativity. I plan to come back to this, but it isn’t happening in July.

4. Write at least one new message for my faith community. (Because it’s coming up and I need to get it done.)

I’ve written three, actually, and a fourth on the way. I’ve been needed, and that’s a nice feeling, but combined it’s gonna take 20K of word progress away from other things. Fortunately, I love doing these messages, so I don’t mind at all!

And that’s my creative life.

On the personal side, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes about a month ago and got serious about walking to help me lose weight, so I don’t die.

So far I’ve lost over seven pounds in the first month, walking an average of about 7,000 steps a day (my minimum for July has been 6,500 steps).

See y’all soon.


ROW80 2014 Q3 Goals

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

Well, here we are again, my friends: time for me to select some new goals for ROW80.

Here’s hoping I don’t mess ‘em up.

1. Complete at least one part of my new WIP, codenamed TEXTER. It’s a horror-crime sort of deal, and no, it’s nothing like Jeff Lindsay’s brilliant Dexter novels. TEXTER is just a codename I came up with to keep from revealing the actual working title until I’m ready to. Get two parts written, if I can.

2. Produce one new short for my secret pen name. Just one, but it needs to be done to liven things up with that name. Probably sooner than later.

3. Find time to work on finalizing EyeCU. It’s tiring to even think about this one, but it needs to happen.

4. Write at least one new message for my faith community. (Because it’s coming up and I need to get it done.)

And that’s all I’m gonna set as goals for now. If I get more done, great. But with EyeCU in the wings, I doubt I’ll get to EMBER just yet; EyeCU is a lot closer to done.


A Sunday check-in, with extra sauce

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

Well, one week or so in and I already have progress to report.

Remember Goal 1?

1) Finish the rewrite on the short story that started out as a Fogland Project submission, which I decided to re-purpose for my own use.

Well, I finished the rewrite and now have the story out to my regular group of trusted beta-readers. We’ll see how long I have to wait for my feedback and what sort of adjustments that feedback inspires, but for now, I’ll reveal that the name of the project is Rose Valley, and I’m hoping to get that out on Amazon yet this month. Yes, I mean April.

So now I’ve moved on in the interim to Goal 2:

2) Do a revision of EyeCU that pleases me, and get the novel prepped for release in the third quarter of this year. I’m looking at you, August-September!

EyeCU has been a fifty-ton albatross around my neck for well over a year now. I let the idea that a small press publisher was interested in the title play with my mind and got super-insecure about the tale, rather than just letting it be fun storytelling. Then when I was asked for changes that basically would have turned the novel into an entirely different creature, that froze me up completely. Only around the turn of the year did I decide enough was enough. I politely pulled my book out of consideration from the small press, and decided to do a fresh, final draft that pleased me… taking the story back to being the one I wanted to tell, rather than the tale the small press wanted me to tell.

So, while I’ll take some of the helpful advice they offered in the “under consideration” process into account with my revision, I’ve decided that from now on, if anyone wants me to tell a different tale than the one I’ve set out to tell, then I’m not gonna hitch my wagon to their “let’s reinvent every bit of your story until it’s what we want it to be” engine anymore.

EyeCU is a long story any way you cut it. My original take on it was just over 100,000 words. I cut that length into the low 70K range during an attempt to please the small press. I imagine after I complete my own personal pass on it, it’ll arrive somewhere in between that range.

The important thing will be to tighten it up, make sure the action is interesting, and try to avoid lags in the storytelling.

The last year-and-a-half have not been wasted, per se. The feedback I received helped me come up with an opening chapter that will better-communicate the sort of tale EyeCU is, right up front, from the word, “Go.”

But when an editor tells you, “I never liked the title anyway… that was NEVER going to be the title,” I’m sorry, but that brings out a bit of the rebel in me.

EyeCU may not be a perfect title, but this is a tale that found its genesis in a core idea, a plot inversion: Most horror movies tell the tale of an innocent person receiving the haunted eyes of a killer and finding their soul corrupted.

EyeCU flips that idea on its head: it’s the tale of a killer who receives the haunted eyes of an innocent and asks what that person’s nightmares might look like.

That’s the tale I want to tell, and cutting away too much of that plot element means I’m no longer telling the tale I want to tell.

EyeCU has always been a working title. It may not be the title I ultimately launch the book with. But, dag-nabbit, it will remain the tale I set out to tell two-and-a-half years ago. It will be a plot-inversion of the old “haunted eyes” tale. Making it something else? Doesn’t interest me.

So, I’m now beginning in earnest the work of doing a final pass on EyeCU. I’ll then entrust it to some beta-readers and editing I trust. And while I hope to have it complete by the end of this quarter or before, I will wait on launching it… actually publishing it, until probably September for marketing reasons. After all, it is a horror tale, and October is arguably going to be the key month for this particular release.

Back to work. Check-in complete.


ROW80 Goals, Round 2, 2014

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

Craig Hansen, taken by his wife, Andie Hansen

In Round 1 of this year, I kept my goals focused and achievable and had one of the most successful ROW80 sessions I’ve had in a while. I met several of the goals I set, so that was a plus. But now it’s a new round and time for new goals.

Here we go:

1) Finish the rewrite on the short story that started out as a Fogland Project submission, which I decided to re-purpose for my own use.

I needed more space to tell the story I wanted to tell, so I pulled the submission back from Fogland, which has a tight word-count limit. The story that was originally going to be called Rose Court will now be called Rose Valley. What was originally written to “not quite” fit into a three-thousand word limit will now be almost twice as long, but a lot more creatively satisfying for me to publish and feel good about.

2) Do a revision of EyeCU that pleases me, and get the novel prepped for release in the third quarter of this year. I’m looking at you, August-September!

EyeCU is a project that I’ve been working on for over two years now. Initially, I considered submitting it to a small press, but going the traditional route would mean a third year, at least, working on this one project. To grow as I writer, I just need to finish this thing and move on to something fresh, so I dropped the small press idea and have decided to move forward on my own. I just need to get new titles out there, under my own name.

3) Make significant progress on HOPE LESS, my Wayward Pines / KindleWorlds novella.

I think this could be a title that draws more attention to my other work, and I admire Blake Crouch’s work, so this seems like a smart project to pursue. It’s something fresh.

I’ve had several other concepts floating around in my head, too, and I’d like to get to them. But the only way to do that is to tackle these three goals in the second quarter, so I can begin to push some titles out of the nest and start hatching a new batch.

That’s what I’m working on for second quarter. Three goals seems achievable. Work on Ember probably won’t pick up until the second half of the year, but I hope to get to that after I get this out of the way. This year continues to be an emphasis on my own career, rather than an emphasis on my pen-name career, so this follows that theme. Let’s hope I’m right about these goals being achievable.


First check-in for March and Scrivener thoughts

Okay, where were we?

Goal 1, publishing the pen-name novel? Done.

Goal 3, writing and publishing a short? Hope Court is done and I’m waiting to hear back from the Fogland Project before I publish.

Goal 4 I changed from a pen-name project to a project for myself. I am currently in the middle of writing Hope Less for Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines world on KindleWorld.

And Goal 2 was to get done with revisions already on my oft-delayed nightmare of a project, EyeCU. It’s been like pulling teeth with that one. But I intend to tackle it, for better or worse, as soon as Hope Less is complete. Honest.

Now that that’s out of the way, here are some thoughts and ruminations on other matters:

1) I finally got my CPAP machine, so I’m no longer in danger of dying every time I go to sleep… or, at least, no more so than anyone else. And it’s nice not to be falling asleep at my keyboard all the time. Really helps creativity.

2) I lost my most reliable side-job contract in February and fortunately have been able to cobble together a partnership with Victorine E. Lieske, a fellow indie and a good friend. She does book covers, I do formatting, and together we’re Blue Valley Author Services. We’re not the cheapest, we’re not the most expensive, but we’re extremely professional and can keep your price for our services in the mid-three-figures somewhere, even for our full range of current services.

So if you’re looking to schedule your next book project, we’re pretty busy, but check us out here.

3) After my last check-in, someone requested I talk more about Scrivener soon. And so I will:

The first time I tried Scrivener, it’s long feature list scared me away.

Then, last spring, about a year ago, Amazon.com ran a half-off special on it and I bought it and decided to finally learn the program.

I was helped out by a book called Writing a Novel with Scrivener by David Hewson. The upshot of which made sense to me: learn to write in it first, then worry about what else you can do with it. Sage advice.

So I started out with a test-story, just to get a feel for the program. Then I did a story I was serious about. By the time I finished I decided to transfer all my stories over to it.

It’s different from MS Word and the main first-draft writing program I was using at the time, FocusWriter. But it turned out to be better for me. And I love the distraction-free mode, which looks like this:

Scrivener Full Screen mode, white text on black background.

Ain’t it pretty?

So, that’s the brief version. If anyone wants more details I might delve deeper some other time. If I can think of anything interesting to say about it.


Guest Post: About the McCall Initiative by fellow Portland resident Lisa Nowak

Almost a year and a half ago, while my husband and I were driving to a friend’s house, he told me about a story he’d read in the Portland Mercury. According to the article, fifty years from now much of the United States will be devastated by climate change. The Pacific Northwest will remain relatively unchanged in comparison, which will result in an influx of climate refugees.

“That sounds like a great set up for a dystopian YA novel,” I said. Within minutes, I had the basic premise outlined. The Pacific Northwest, disgruntled over the population boom, secedes from the United States to form its own country with a closed border. Wealthy Americans want to buy their way in, so poor people begin disappearing off the streets. Naturally, I needed a romantic aspect, but I wanted to give it a twist. I decided my protagonist would be a girl whose family had disappeared, and the love interest would be the boy whose family had displaced hers.

Over the coming weeks, the idea grew to include an existing political movement to form a bioregion called Cascadia, Portland’s major league soccer team and its rowdy band of fans, the Timbers Army, and a rock star-turned-activist who becomes the first president of the new nation. My husband, friends, and fellow writers supplied me with myriad excellent ideas and educated me about the subjects of history, politics, computer science, medicine, and soccer.

Several writers I know have been experimenting with serialized stories, and this idea seemed perfect for that venue. I envision it much like a season of a television series. Each short episode gives you part of the story, with the entire plot-line playing out over a nine-book “season.” I currently have the first three episodes published, (you can buy them individually, or as a box set) and the fourth will be released in early March. If you aren’t sure this is for you, fear not. You can try the first episode absolutely free at any of the retailers listed below.

McCall_CVR_SML_LR

What if the Pacific Northwest seceded from the United States? In 2063, it has.

The climate change that’s devastated all but the Northwest corner of the U.S. has been around since before Piper Hall was born. She doesn’t spend much time thinking about it, the secession that created Cascadia, or the closed border, erected to keep out climate refugees. All she wants is to get through high school and earn a medical degree so she can pull her family out of poverty. Piper’s sure her little brother’s stories about poor people vanishing are just rumors-until she comes home to an empty house. Losing her future, her family, and her freedom and forced into hiding, Piper has to find a way to get to the bottom of the disappearances. But the only one who can help might be the very boy whose family has displaced her own.


A pre-Valentine’s check-in

When last we joined the sitcom, “Craig, Interrupted,” he announced that he’s already knocked out goal number one. Has he done anything since then? Like, anything at all?

The answer is yes. Well, mostly yes.

With Goal 1 out of the way, Goal 3 was rewritten from writing an 8-Hour Challenge story to writing a story for possible inclusion in Fogland. I’ve now got the draft written but in need of polishing! Rose Court, as it is tentatively being called for now, is something I completed after being blocked on the final scene for over a week.

Lately, I’ve been getting blocked any time I come close to finishing something. An odd little habit, that. Annoying, too.

And I’ve also rewritten Goal 4 from “Write a new short for my pen name” to “Write a novelette-to-novella-length story, under my own name, for KindleWorlds publication.

I’ve now officially started work on that goal: The project is tentatively called Hope Less and beings a character from my 2011 Young Adult Coming-of-Age novel and sets her down in the much more dark and adult world of Blake Crouch’s Wayward Pines series. I have character notes and such set up in Scrivener and I’ll begin writing soon on that.

So, two goals down, two to go.

I’m taking goal number four first: I want Hope Less to run about 20,000 words and then be done.

After that, it’s on to my final goal, finishing out EyeCU already.