Sometime in the deep murky past, I agreed to be a part of a collaboration of authors who would each take a swipe at a couple of chapters of a zombie book. All the authors would write one chapter for the first half of the book and then turn around and write a second chapter for the latter half of the book. Fast forward to today and the book is halfway done (a little bit past that, actually) and my guess is that my second chapter will be coming up in the next few months. I loved creating the first chapter I did, which was probably longer than what I was asked to produce (over 10k words when they wanted half that…ugh!), but I loved that crazy trip all the authors were taking, and I did my best to start pulling some of the characters together. The scary part of doing a chapter now is that so much has happened in the story since my last deep dive into this sucker, so keeping track of it all is going to be tricky. Naturally, as it is a zombie book, people die, so a lot of those characters I worked on before are long gone, and some of the plot twists have been pretty wild as well, so I will have my work cut out for me. But one day, hopefully not too far down the line, this puppy will be all sewn up and will be produced in ebook and paperback versions for everyone to check out. Some of the authors have dropped out for various reasons and others have joined the cause, so it has been an even larger collaboration than expected, and that makes it all the more exciting to be a part of.
An artist that I know and love is the one who has created the cover concept, and I am thrilled with it. Matt Nord, who has been coordinating this project, shows excellent taste by selecting the inimitable Philip R Rogers, who did the artwork for my trilogy as well. So check this gruesome image out. More details, naturally, to come in time. But at this point, I am just getting prepared for when I am called to pick up the pen and write my second chapter for this sucker. All I can promise at this point is that there will be blood. Oh yes, there will. Until then, sink your teeth into this image to get you all riled up for when this puppy goes to print.
A lot of things have been happening lately in my writing and personal life, and it feels like I am finally able to take a breather for a moment before I dive back into the chaos. Most of what has been going on has been good, though there have been a few trials as well. I am going to just talk about the good things here, and try to keep it brief.
First off, the Kindle version of Comes The Dark has been ‘fixed’. By this, I mean that a few formatting errors that occurred in the transfer to the kindle have been rectified and the new and improved version looks terrific. For anyone who bought the original version, they can re-upload it and will get the new, clean version. I was told by the folks over at Kindle that anyone who has any problems with that process can reach out to them by via the contact button at www.amazon.com/kindlesupport. Hopefully, that won’t be necessary and it will just be a click of a button on your Kindle. Of course, that also means for anyone who hasn’t bought it already, the Kindle version of my book is back up and running. At $2.99, its a terrific price, so check it out!
Second, I wanted to announce that I will be posting a few stories here under the category “Dark Stories” that I had originally written with the intention of including in Comes The Dark or in one of its sequels. There were several reasons why that did not happen, including space limitations. As I have mentioned in more than one interview, I originally wrote about a half a million words for what would become this trilogy. The final word count of the trilogy is around 170,000, give or take a couple thousand. That doesn’t mean the 330,000 words that were sliced in the editing process was pure gold…or even tin for that matter, but some of it was decent back story on characters, including flashbacks as well as parallel stories happening at the same time as events in the novels. With a little more editing, I am hoping to present a few choice bits here on my blog that will give readers of my trilogy a bit extra about characters like Megan, George, and others that are introduced in the sequels to Comes The Dark. I hope to post the first story within the next week or so. After that, there won’t be a set schedule, but I will try to post some more after Horror Realm, which is two weeks from now.
Third, I have been working on Chapter 12 in the Collaboration of the Dead novel that nineteen writers agreed to take part in several months back. Each writer gets to write two chapters, one in the first half of the book, and one in the second half. Since 11 chapters have already been written, my responsibility leans more toward character development rather than introducing new characters-at least that is how I see things. I realize that others have been adding new characters all along and will probably continue to do so, but I am focused on stirring the pot with what is already there. All I can say about this process is that it is tougher than I had expected. I was nervous about it from the get go, given that so many other talented writers would be counting on me to avoid screwing things up at the very least and maybe even doing something a bit better than that. Now that I am actually writing this, I find that I am putting more pressure on myself than I would have for something I was doing for myself. With that said, it is still a blast, and a learning experience to boot. Here’s hoping that I don’t get stoned when I submit my chapter, or worse yet, asked not to write the second chapter I’m supposed to write down the line!
It appears that I will be participating in a collaborative effort with several other writers who have been published by the Library of the Living Dead and in other publications. I believe the term for what is planned is a mosaic novel. To the best of my understanding, this is how it works:
A coordinating editor or contributor brings together a group of different writers and sets the stage for a story they will develop together. Each writer is assigned a couple of different chapters they will write, either in a random order or perhaps in an organized setup. The order is determined and then the first chapter is written, edited, and then passed along to the next writer. That writer produces their chapter and then hands it back to the coordinator, who edits it, puts the two chapters together, and hands both of them to the next writer, who reads, reviews, and crafts a third chapter in the story. This continues on, and perhaps circles back through all the authors after they have all had a hand in crafting one chapter each so that they can complete their other chapter. Finally, when all the chapters are done, they are compiled and then hopefully published.
The project I will be working on was a spontaneous idea from one of the writers at the Library who has not planned further ahead than getting us all together. Whether it will end up being published by the Library or by another publisher remains to be seen. So as it stands, it will be a very exciting and unique experiment for me as well as the other writers involved.
I will admit, I am nervous about this, although the collaboration here is more generalized than one might experience if they were writing a novel in tandem with another writer and the communication is far more intense as you both strive to complete the story and make any differences in writing styles work. I am not sure with this mosaic novel whether the expectation is that we will all be writing in the same style and keeping the story consistent, or if the expectation is that everyone will be allowed to go crazy and really twist the story around as we see fit. It will definitely be a new and exciting experience for me, one which will definitely help me grow as a writer.