Archive for January, 2013

Writer’s Worst Fear

Posted in Indie stuffs on January 25, 2013 by normandixon

I don’t know about you, but the biggest thing I fear as a writer is the rejection letter. You’ve spent countless hours, months, or even years, chugging along, burning the proverbial midnight oil shaping a world. You’ve, hopefully, edited the hell out of the story, cut where necessary and polished it up and removed a lot of those twenty cent words, replacing them with their much more practical nickel counterparts. All that sweat and your baby is ready to meet the world. You go through the arduous task of typing pitches and, those dreaded query letters, and now our work is on its way. Now the waiting begins.

One day three or four weeks in the future, and only if our agent and publisher isn’t some hack douche, you get a response. Nine times out of ten you get a generic copy/pasted response, and every once and awhile an agent or editor will take pity and leave you some kind words. Every one of them are like a fucking dagger to the heart. I should be a pin cushion by now. Most people have given up by now. There are all kinds of stories about hundreds of rejection letters before getting an acceptance letter, but those stories don’t really mean anything, or help in grand scheme of things. All of your efforts were tossed aside, and in most cases your work wasn’t even read just your letter. It sucks but it is the nature of the business you’re trying to get into.

It’s all about validation. We all want our work to matter. We want someone to say hey, that book kicked ass. We want people to get it. Every artist craves this, and if they tell you they don’t care what people think, they just do art for themselves, well, they’re full of shit. We crave that validation almost as much as being able to make a living doing what we love.

For the longest time, every letter or email I received was like dying inside. I’d feel utterly depressed for days. I’d feel physical pain and the lowest kind of defeat. Sometimes it would take weeks to rebound. The last rejection I got was just a few days ago. But now there is a glaring difference. I’m published, self published, indie author extraordinaire. Sure it stung like a motherfucker, they still do but now I have perspective. Back to validation central.

I put The Creepers out there after eating a ridiculous amount of rejections, too many to count. Why? They all told me it wasn’t right, ‘it’s not for me’ and so on, but I knew I had a story, a good one at that. This is different than anything I’d written previous and it is better by leaps and bounds. So out into the ether it went and what a surprise. I started seeing people pay for my work and seek me out to tell me they enjoyed it. I’ve received fan art. People are already asking about a sequel. Almost three thousand people own my book.

Validation.

Royalty checks started rolling in today.

Double fucking validation.

And I did it all myself. It’s been a long painful, emotional journey, but I wouldn’t change it, though, I will continue to submit future stories to publishers. It’s that whole writer’s ego thing, a feather in the cap if you will. I’m not going to be the guy that doles out copious amounts of hope. That’s just not how things work, but I will say this. Let those rejections sting for a moment and then get rid of them and take your rage out on the keyboard. Writers . . . Keep writing!

Norm

Change of Plans

Posted in Indie stuffs on January 16, 2013 by normandixon

Can’t even believe I’m doing this–was going to put ‘consider doing this’ in there–but I’ve already committed, so there’s no going back now. My Amazon bio mentions a Sci-Fi romance, later changed to Sci-Fi detective story, due out in the spring of this year. I’ve mentioned the Sage and Jorah series before, and how it has evolved over time. It was the story where I found my voice, it was the first story I really started submitting and eating rejection letters on. It’s a series I’ve finished two 80k word novels in and plotted the third, as well as write a great chunk of the beginning of that third book.

It’s not ready.

Sometimes as a writer you have to let things go. You have to reevaluate them to truly understand what you have. Such is the case with the Sage and Jorah series. I’m not discounting the first two books, those events happened and they affected Sage and Jorah and will continue to be a factor throughout the series. The writing is just not me. If a fan of The Creepers were to pick up the series they’d probably be disappointed. Not with the story but with the style.

So now I’m attempting something that should get me committed. I’m writing two novels, in two different genres, from two different perspectives. The Creepers sequel is really turning into something big, a juggernaut of awesome and I can’t wait to share it with you all. Sage and Jorah are alive and well and this new direction is going to fucking blow the doors off multiple genres. There are some intense ideas in this noggin and I’m just going to put them to paper and screen. No more holding back. I finally know who Sage is. He’s me. My thoughts, my fantasies, my perspective, and every little detail encased within this far-ranging mind.

I can’t wait to share this bold new world with you all. But ask yourselves this…can you handle two genre-bending works at the end of this year? I’m aiming to get both of these out by then. It’s a big fucking challenge but its doable if the muse cooperates. It’s going to kill my reading time, but sacrifices must be made.

Norm

The Contest

Posted in The Creepers on January 8, 2013 by normandixon

I’ve been thinking about doing a contest for awhile now. And after the success of the holiday season and all the positive reviews, I think it’s about time to make that happen. I have some nifty paperback copies of the Creepers laying around and I want to sign them and draw in them. I can’t stand blank pages, they are just begging to get scribbled In. I’ve never attempted anything like this before but it should be fun. So, I have 5 copies in all, ready for defacing. That means the top five submissions, as picked by me, will receive a signed copy. If the submissions are absolutely overwhelming I may stretch that to the top ten.

Submissions you ask. Yes, submissions. I want to see your artwork. It can be any size, any medium, traditional or digital or both. It either has to be zombie themed or Creepers related. It can be your favorite characters from the book, a nasty Creeper. Any rotting member of the undead will suffice.

The prize: 1 autographed copy of the Creepers with a sketch by yours truly. I’m thinking maybe Ol’Randy, a few zombies, maybe a Yannek and Bobby, and maybe even a concept sketch of a character from book 2. I dunno yet but I promise the sketch won’t suck. Those of you that have read the book I urge you to do something book themed. I want to see your interpretations of the characters.

The fine print: the contest will run from January 7th until Valentine’s day, that’s February 14th. All submissions must be in jpg format. Send your submissions pasted into your email NO ATTACHMENTS. One submission per person. Include in the email who you want the book signed for or if you’d prefer just the autograph. Also include the address you want it shipped to. I will ship overseas. You have all shown your support and I want to show mine. Once all submissions have been sent I will take a week to evaluate and then I’ll post a blog showcasing the artwork.

To be eligible, like my author page on amazon. Send me a tweet @normandixonjr let me know you’ve sent your submission. All submissions must be sent to normandixonjr@yahoo.com

That’s it. I look forward to seeing some kick ass artwork. I know there are plenty of worthy artists out there, so bring your A-Game. Now I need to get back to writing I made a commitment to you all.

Thanks for all your support.

Norm

Argyle City

Posted in The Creepers on January 1, 2013 by normandixon

Those of you that have read the book, or my amazon author page, saw the line about working hard on my graphic novel Argyle City. You probably asked yourself what it’s all about. Is it zombie? No. Is it horror? No. It’s a dark comedy if it must be categorized, but like just about everything I do it is more than that. This is my magnum opus if you will. I have two actually. One which is a deeply complex fantasy novel and the other is Argyle City. The former is something I’ll probably work on for a very long time, and after gaining some momentum post Creepers it took a back burner again. Argyle City is something I’ve been working on in between everything. I forgot about it for a long time after graduating college. Well, that isn’t exactly the truth. I never truly forgot about it, but I forgot about art for almost six years and concentrated on writing. As a way to get the rust worked out I came back to it. I wrote the script, most of which had been living in my head for years, and once that was done I got to work.

It started as something so simple and silly back in college. A cigarette as a character. Yes, I was a smoker at the time, so that had a lot to do with it. I think it was an 8 page comic project or something close to that. I’ll have to dig it out of the archives so I can embarrass myself at some point. But back then, Cigman as he was dubbed by my friend Pete, was born, though, he did not really have a back story, or a reason to exist yet. Somewhere in between I read a lot of Raymond Chandler and Michael Connelly and Cigman became Cy. A gritty living cigarette detective, but that didn’t make much sense at all. Those influences did give him the fedora and tie, but his real background would come a few years later.

In came Butterfield Buddha and he became the reason for Cy’s existence. You see, Argyle City is the city away from home for so many strange beings: gods, goddesses, creatures beyond the capacity of the mind, and whole bunch more. Like all cities it is not without incident. Cy was once human but he was murdered as part of a deeper plot, but his killer did not know that Butterfield had a lesson lined up for his lifelong smoker friend, and so our smoky hero is born. But it was only supposed to be temporary, a mere lesson, but then Butterfield was taken out of the equation as well. I’ll leave the explanation there as I do not want to spoil the story.

So here you have the culmination of all of that: Issue 1. This is all pen, ink and brush (windsor newton series 7 #0). This is not the final product, not even close, but I wanted to share it with you all to give you an idea of what Argyle City is. It’s a rare glimpse into comics. There are plenty of errors, some of which have been fixed with white out, but I have yet to scan them in and really go to work. I didn’t even erase my pencil marks yet. This is about as raw as it gets. I have not settled on the design of Cy’s partner in crime, Twenty Big, her design is something I’ll probably fight with for a bit longer. So that is why she looks different in every panel she appears in. I just can’t make the transition from her image in my mind to the paper. It’ll happen eventually, but for now you have a generic placeholder. I used these pages to get back into the thinking of comics and to start working on my figure drawing, which has been sorely lacking for almost 8 years. This is but a glimpse of the project. I hope to share more with you in the future. First is the Creepers sequel though, and I’ve been cranking away on it.

I will update the Argyle City stuff as I make it, and I’ll even share some sketches and more the background work as I have time. I always want to know how people get to the finished project. Sometimes it’s more fascinating than the project itself for me, even when the final is amazing. But a lot of artists and authors don’t show that side. They don’t want you to see the flaws and how they hid them or changed them. I’ve decided I don’t care about that anymore. Each piece is a journey, each word, each page, each line and brush stroke. They are all parts of the whole and I think it’s fun to see them add up overtime. You can see all the pages by clicking the Argyle City link on the right.

Thanks for all your support.

Norm