Hiatus

Posted in The Creepers on June 9, 2013 by normandixon

It has been almost two months since my last blog… Why does this feel like confession? Cue catholic school childhood memories. During that time I pretty much poured everything I had into book 2. I am very happy with the result. It just needed to get done. The story had hit that all consuming stage where you eat, sleep and dream it. I thought about it so much it was starting to affect my day job and my relationship with my wife. It’s so hard to stay focused when you have multiple characters vying for the podium inside your skull. A lot of days I was rendered to subhuman slop just barley drawing breath. This one took a lot out of me emotionally.

And by a lot I mean A LOT!

I really worked through some deep seated pain on this one. There were things I had made myself forget that came bubbling to the surface all of a sudden. Which was another reason for the mad blitz, but it was never rushed. I kept my pace of 500 words a night and chipped away. And after many sleepless nights I uncovered book 2 which, as you can tell, is still without a title. It comes in about 10k words less than its predecessor and it’s all business. I’m going to let it stew while I work on the book 1 edits and the cover.

I feel lighter now, so much lighter. It’s been said over and over to let it all out on the page and there are few things better in life than truly opening up. Sing it out, paint, draw, sculpt it out, or write it out, just get it out. I’ve seen too many friends fall to it over the years. Mask it, morph it, do whatever you have to but release it. I suppose that’s a major theme in book 2. I can’t wait to share it with all of you. Beta readers get ready because it’s coming.

In the meantime I’m going to try to be a better blogger and all around social media persona. Next up is a series of blogs on how I do cover work since I’ve been asked by quite a few of you. Some really cool artwork coming up.

Writers, keep writing.

Norm

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Delirium Trigger

Posted in The Creepers on April 8, 2013 by normandixon

Some people claim to live on almost no sleep. Some writers, Warren Ellis among them, have tried sleep deprivation experiments to push the limits of their craft. I remember plenty of sleepless nights in high school on one too many acid trips. I’ve pulled all nighters at work. I’ve stayed up willingly plenty of times before, but I’ve never had so many in a row. I don’t really know if it’s helping my craft . . . I guess you’ll all be the judges of that when book two (I really need to get a title going. I’m getting tired of saying book two.) finally comes out.

I’m seeing things move in my periphery, very Lovecraftian things, black like shadow and deeper than the night itself. I hear things too. Sometimes songs I’m sure don’t exist and have never been sung before, haunting hymns, and people calling my name when no one is there. Welcome to parenthood I guess. Those of you that have wandered this path before me are in the know. The rest of you can just shut up.

I just absolutely decimated a character’s life and I feel utterly horrible about it. I broke this character’s heart earlier to set them free, but this was worse. This wasn’t natural. This was cruel, but a necessary catalyst and interesting development. I spent a few chapters dancing around this one. I almost couldn’t bring myself to do it. But you have to sometimes. You need those moments. You need those driving factors in your work, but what you don’t need is to become the next cliché.

I feel like everything now is about who dies and who lives. That’s the draw in a lot of entertainment now. It speaks volumes about us as species on this planet. It certainly has always been the draw, the finality of death, the shining, glorious, heroic death, or that whimper of a death. That shocking but disappointing death. But when it comes to be the only draw I tune out. When who dies next becomes the only reason to experience something, I think the work has lost its way.

When I kill a character, or mutilate them it is a painful thing. There’s a measure of crazy in that last statement but work with me here. It should be. As a writer you should feel that loss, maybe you even explain some of your own loss, a very personal thing, in such a manner. I know I have and it has been painful , yet therapeutic at the same time. Anyone that really knows me, and cares to really look, can trace the tragedies in my work to actual tragedies in my own life. That’s the core of any good writing I think. So many of my favorite authors work their own torment into my entertainment. It’s a very ballsy thing to do, but it’s what comes natural to us.

Author. Writer. Scribe. Hemingway said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at the typewriter and bleed.” It’s the bleeding that makes it hard. It’s the reliving of those moments that can utterly crush you at times. A million little tragedies for everyone’s enjoyment.

I wouldn’t change it for a second. I consider myself lucky. I can kill off the hurt instead of holding it in. That doesn’t mean I forget it, but it definitely makes things easier to deal with. Hell, it even gives some of them a perspective you’d never be able to achieve otherwise. But the minute you start viewing things by body count alone you forget the struggles that got you there in the first place, and take a potentially brilliant work and turn it into another let down.

Make the hurt count. Make people pause and reflect. That’s the point of firing the gun, or slashing the sword, or hammer, or whatever instrument of demise you prefer. Make them count. Make them matter, and make them matter more when they’re gone.

Writers keep writing.

Norm

Music

Posted in The Creepers on March 25, 2013 by normandixon

I’ve been scouring the entirety of my music collection while working on book 2. Though there is one song that comes into the rotation more than any others, a song that pretty much defines what I’m going to address in the Creepers sequel. That song is Pearl Jam’s Garden it so clearly sums up a lot of the material. Give it a listen. Though it’s highly important it’s not the only song. There is another that I’d venture to say is more important, but to the Creepers as a whole not just book 2. It’s the song that will play over the trailer if it ever gets made into a film. That song is Nine Inch Nails The Day The World Went Away

Those are just two of the thousands of songs I’ve been listening to. I’m not one of those people who stay within genres. My taste runs from Meshuggah to Coheed and Cambira to Billy Joel and Johnny Cash to Maiden and Opeth to Gza and Aesop Rock to Morcheeba and damn near everything in between. I love Sam Cooke and Sarah Mclachlan. There is only one theme all the songs I like share. . . they tell stories. One could argue all songs do, but I’d say you’re crazy, some stuff is just noise.

All this thinking about music got me thinking. What do you write to? I know some of you don’t listen to anything when you write and I do not envy you, it must be maddening. I need noise to find direction. I need noise to draw up some of those emotions. Which is really what I’m using the music for when I write. Songs help me tap specific emotions. I need sad, I know I can drum up Flogging Molly’s Us of Lesser Gods One of my favorite songs ever, just saying.

Sometimes I find myself listening to word bending hip hop like Atmosphere, Gza, and Aesop Rock to help knock my brain loose. They help me find better sentence structure. And if I need to feel fucking bleak I listen to Pearl Jam’s Indiffernce a song that helped give Bobby’s story life. Kind of funny that two Pearl Jam songs played a big part in the Creepers cycle. I’d put PJ in my top 20 but they are not my favorite. But those two songs are just amazing.

So hit me up on Twitter @normandixonjr and let me know what songs you create to and why. I’m always on the look out for new music.

Big Things

Posted in The Creepers on March 12, 2013 by normandixon

As I sit down to type this I realize I’ve become what 99% of all bloggers become, and that is, one who stops blogging. I only had one post in February. This is my first post in a month. I should feel like a slacker, lazy, and uninspired. I don’t. Behind the scenes a lot of things have been going on, big things, life changing things, and a lot of solid writing on top of that.

The Creepers was picked up by Permuted Press for publication. You read that last sentence right. It’s official, legit, whatever you want to call it. The ebook will still be available but the paperback will go through another edit and be released early next year. But that’s not all. As many of you know I’ve been working on book 2 and book 3, well they’re coming by of Permuted Press as well. More details to follow as they come about.

I’m not really sure how I feel. I mean I’m excited and happy, but now that what I’ve dreamed about, worked towards, now that the moment is here I don’t know how to feel. All I want to do is keep writing, keep telling stories, and now that the Creepers is part of Permuted Press I can do just that. Book 2 is a third of the way through and is shaping up to be about the same length as book 1. Bobby’s story picks up right where it left off, but there are whole new cast of characters as well. Their stories run along side Bobby’s and they lend some insight into things only hinted about in book 1. A lot of this I’ve touched on in previous blogs but now it takes on a whole new dimension.

I have deadlines now. Still hasn’t sunken in yet but it’s an amazing thing. For so long it was that rung I couldn’t reach and now that that burden is lifted I feel it has opened up a lot of creative avenues. So expect to see a lot of things, big things coming down the pipeline over the next couple of years. First The Creepers trilogy, the reworked Sage and Jorah series, and Argyle City which is looking to be a 68 page graphic novel.

I can’t thank all of you enough. All the support, the retweets, the reviews. Writers keep writing.

Two Stories

Posted in The Creepers on February 7, 2013 by normandixon

Those of you that follow me on Twitter have seen my posts lately about having, potentially, two books in all this Creepers material I’m working on. Well it’s true, but I just didn’t know what kind of books until now. The obvious first is a direct sequel to the Creepers which picks up a few days after the first book ends. The other, which I was originally trying to weave into the sequel, turned into a plot much deeper and requiring much more space, and it isn’t fair to the characters to try and cram them into the second book.

Thus came about a third Creepers book. I never intended the story to go beyond one book. I wanted it contained, a one shot, but the characters were too much fun to write. Especially now, so many years removed from the ZA. There is a whole world that has zombies still, and they are a threat, but their time is winding down. Now we get to see what comes out after the rains pass. I assure you it’s going to be a shocking, gut-wrenching ride. There is a lot of work left for Bobby to do and a lot of coping with his world.

I’ve also been in the process of working on another series but that is taking a back burner at the moment because the Creepers is on my brain. Also life, as it tends to do, got in the way of art, so I’ve been dealing with a lot of changes at work. While they may end up benefitting me I can’t say that I welcome them. I know they will take time away from my art and the thought of it looming ahead of me is down right soul torching. I was never meant for this kind of work and it saddens me that I’ve allowed myself to become trapped. I’m trying to write my way out one word at a time. That’s all we can do as writers is empty that refuse onto the page and leave it there.

Just got a submission in today of myself as a zombie. It about sums up how I feel right now, but no need to fret Creepers fans I’ll put this stress on the page and mask it in fiction as every good writer should. My pressures will become your worry for the characters. I can promise you not all of them will make out alive, but at the end of the day do any of us?

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