April 17, 2014

O Is For On The Outside Looking In

This one is a toughie for me to write, as when I originally came up with this topic I did have a faint idea on what I wanted to write about. However, roughly a month later (this originally being writing in late February) I have not a clue on what to write about. However, if you're one of my long time readers of this blog, you know that when I get just a little bit stuck on what to write, I wind up winging it in from the upper deck of Wembley Stadium.

Which is to say that I write like a politician bloviates on why more government and more taxes is a good thing.

So, here we go.

I have never been part of what people would call back in younger years, a clique. Didn't matter what was going on, who was involved or what it detailed, I was always the outsider. I guess you could partially chalk it up to being a major introvert throughout my life, which considering what I'm doing right now in public is very very strange, and partially chalk it up to an innate love of being a jack of all trades and a master of none.

So I acquire just enough institutional knowledge to not only keep me functioning, but to make me an indispensable individual for whatever particular unit/group I'm working for. I also have an innate desire of being left to my own devices, which I'm sure sounds to you like I'm being anti-social (or uncle-social as I like to call it), but in actuality, being left to my own devices allows me unfettered access to pay attention to my surroundings, aka grapevines with an infinite number of tentacles.

Ultimately, showcasing myself as anti-social to the people who don't really matter in my life (i.e. the majority of my co-workers), allows me to always be on the outside looking in, which if you think about it, isn't really that bad of a place to be.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 16, 2014

N Is For Novella

My current style of writing lends itself to the suitability of the novella, but it hasn't always been that way.

When I'd first started writing back in 2006, I churned out mostly what I like to call "longish short stories", in that the word length usually crapped out in the general neighborhood of 14,000 words. This was directly due to the fact that my writing initially drifted towards an over winded and wickedly excruciating detail oriented jumbled mess. By the time I was able to corral my writing, I found that the short story format really didn't work for me, as it didn't accurately reflect me as a person, and then, as now, I was a firm believer in that a person's writing should be an accurate representation of the person. An accurate representation of me as a person is someone who has a tendency to elaborate on a given scenario so that the other side that is receiving it can look at the scenario from all possible sides.

Even though I've made a few detours over the past 8 years to the short story genre (two published shorts and a year+ infatuation with the under 750 word flash fiction genre), I've basically stayed the course by keeping my writing within the 18K to 21K zone, which is by traditional definition a novella. Now I know you're probably scratching your head asking yourself "huh?", which is probably due to the fact that you read the post for the letter "L", which covers my debut novel. Well, to let you in on a poorly kept secret, that story will probably be my one and only foray into that particular word length. That story was something very special and it definitely did not lend itself to the novella length.

Anyhow, the main reason why I enjoy writing novellas is that particular format meshes perfectly with the way I like to flush out plot lines/characters. I don't feel the love in the short story format as to me it feels stilted. As for the novel, while I enjoy reading them, I just can't bring myself to write one as the love simply isn't there.

Right now, I have two completed (more on that later), another that I'm rewriting (see the letter "I" for details), and three more in my slush pile of ignorance. I would also like to point out that the novella format also meshes with the genre that I now feel comfortable in writing, which is paranormal/fantasy (more on that later).

In summation, the novella is my weapon of choice, as it allows me the flexibility to explore different themes without worrying about the complexities/nuances that a novel requires. In other words, I always go with the guilt free writing, and writing a novella is about as guilt free as one can get.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 15, 2014

M Is For Money

If you want to forgo the traditional route when it comes to becoming a published somebody, then you have to spend a little bit of money in order to do it.

Now before you get your panties in a bunch, I'm not talking about vanity publishing, in which you pay through the nose to get very little (more on that later), I'm talking about paying money to acquire a good product so that you can publish a good product.

If you want your manuscript to be the best it can be, with zero errors in the text, spend your money on a freelance editor. Chances are they'll help you get over that last hump by giving you a clear crisp 100% error free manuscript that still stays true to your vision.

You need a pair of excellent covers, both for print and e-book, so if you can't get it done yourself, looking into hiring a reputable graphic designer. That way, you can have a cover that stays true to your vision of what your story is.

For other assorted odds and ends, like business cards and the like, look into using a graphics company like VistaPrint. Chances are that you can do an excellent job of creating what you need within the budget that you use.

Sadly, money is what's bringing my self-publishing journey to a temporary standstill. While I have no problem in using VistaPrint (they have both payment options available: check & c/c), in order to use a graphic designer, I need a c/c and my c/c's are current under lock and key, so to speak.

So until I can get my financial house rebuilt, the most I'll be doing with my writing is to write, which isn't necessarily a bad thing.

While spending money to pursue your dream can be a necessary evil, if you have to spend, make sure you spend it wisely.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 14, 2014

L Is For Line 21

Back during Super Bowl weekend 2010, a germ of an idea happened to impregnate my subconscious in the wee hours of the morning. It basically grabbed hold of me and with the kind of lightning speed only seen in a fantasy series, gestated and grew until an hour later it was ready to pop. What was this idea that had such a bloodsucking hold on me? The basic premise was that a young woman was in debt to her uncle, who was a loan shark, and the only way she could raise the cash was to become an adult movie actress.

Different? Sure it was. But how to make it truly unique was the actually the easiest thing to do for this story. Taking a cue from one of my favorite Star Trek series that sadly doesn't get a lot of air time like some of the others, I gave the young lady a symbiont for a sister. Once I had that factored in, I wolfed down my breakfast and ran to my computer. In no time at all, the words were pouring out at such a fast and furious pace that it was quite difficult to reign it in.

Nevertheless, even though I was proceeding at breakneck speed with this story, which started as a short story before quickly morphing to a longish short story, then a novella and finally a novel, I wanted to make sure I got every single possible component of this story correct. You name it, from clothing to body shape, from hair to sexual practices and everything else in between, I researched it. If it had to do with a woman, I asked questions, both on my blog and with friends and co-workers, and trust me, those questions were very pointed and explicit. To put it bluntly, if I had asked those questions of typical strangers, you can rest assured that my face would've been slapped many, many times over.

Now in addition to making sure that everything that I wrote was accurate (example: I spent three days researching how to properly drive a motorcycle because the MC drove a Harley) I also wanted to have a little fun with it as well. So when I got to the final scene in the novel (dinner at a restaurant) I ran a contest on FB and my blog, in which I took suggestions for what kinds of meals the characters would eat. The winner would be written into the story as a throwaway character. I had two winners, one won a free PDF while the other was written in as a throwaway character.

Overall, the 1st draft took me about 2 1/2 months to write from the first word to the last. The rest of 2010 was spent taking suggestions from a few beta readers and revising and re-editing two more versions, until by the spring of 2011, I had a viable manuscript to submit/query. I spent the rest of 2011 submitting and querying, and by the spring of 2012, I sold my book to Solstice, and for the first time in my life, I actually accomplished what I set out to do.

Here, in this lovely book trailer produced by the wonderful folks at SelectOGrafix, is a two minute synopsis of my paranormal/fantasy erotica novel, Line 21. For details on how to purchase for your Kindle and how to purchase an autographed print copy for 30% off the cover price, check out my book blog Books By G.B. Miller. To read the first five pages, please click on this link at my adult blog called "It's Always Saturday In Suburbia" (disclaimer, my adult blog contains inappropriate material that is not suitable for all ages. reader discretion is strongly advised.).

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.

April 12, 2014

K Is For Knuckling Down

I have always been a pro's pro when comes to procrastination.

Whether it has to deal with blogging (yeah, baby), writing a story (awesome, baby), writing a scene (smokin', baby), writing a query letter (let's swing it, baby), synopsis (baaaaaaaaby), or even a hook for the query letter (yo, baby), I've always procrastinating to the point of know return.

For example, when I was trying to write a synopsis for my debut novel, it took me almost two months to write it. First there was research on various writer's websites (i.e. Query Tracker) on how to write a synopsis and what it should contain and how long it should be. Then there was reading a few samples of synopsis on what they should look like. Finally, after about three weeks of serious procrastination, I finally sat my butt down and hammered out a first draft. Then another couple of weeks went by, and after getting some advice, chopped it down from 8 pages to 6, then from 6 to 4, and finally from 4 to the general neighborhood of three.

Even though that was an extreme example of procrastination, I've always had problems in knuckling down. Ever since I was teenager in school, I always had an abnormal fear of failure. So for the longest time, I wouldn't see things all the way through because I couldn't stand what the potential end result would be. Even as an adult, when I decided to start doing this writing thing, I had a major problem in dealing with rejection. So for three years, I procrastinated big time and didn't submit much of anything to anyone.

It really wasn't until 2009, when I decided to get serious about my writing that I needed to stop procrastinating, and in the immortal words of Larry the Cable Guy, get-R-dun.

So from early 2009 to the present, even when there are days when I would rather shove a magnet under my hard drive and floppy discs and just be done with it, I make it a point to do some kind of writing/blogging. Whether it's something simple as applying a couple of edits to my latest WIP, or something complex as writing an intelligent blog post, I make it a point to write at least three times a week.

And for the most part, this has worked for me as I no long procrastinate with my writing/blogging. Instead, I now have issues involving time. Specially, finding the time to write/blog. But that is a subject for another time (eh?) and another place.

(c) 2014 by G.B. Miller. All Rights Reserved.