Archive for the ‘Publishing’ Category

So, years and years ago, before the internet and Mario Kart, when I was first toying with the idea of writing, I sent Stephen King a short note asking if he could give me some sage advice about the craft. Of course, I had no delusions I would actually receive anything back from the man himself, but I did receive several photocopied articles from his envelope stuffer in which he spoke of writing in general. I was a little disappointed in the photocopies. I mean, I could have found the same thing at the library, made my own copies, and mailed them to myself, right?

Right.

Anyway, I tossed the whole of it in a desk drawer and it’s made the rounds with me from continent to continent for the last 25 years, a bit dog-eared but still legible. The other day I pulled it out and had the bright idea to go all Star Wars on it and Google the return address: King, 49 Florida Ave., Bangor, ME, 04401.

This is what I found.

stephen-king-joke

WELL PLAYED, MR. KING. WELL PLAYED.

I’m excited about this one, folks. Here’s a taste of what to expect in my upcoming release, COLD CURRENTS, the first book in the new Bobby Taylor mystery/thriller series.

“Thirty years after the shocking murder of Jenny Franklin, followed by the arrest and conviction of his brother Terry, Knoxville Detective Bobby Taylor returns to his North Carolina hometown of Clayton at his aging mother’s request. Reluctant to face his estranged father and make amends after blaming him for not doing more to save his brother, Bobby arrives to discover the head of another young girl has washed up on the banks of the wild Neuse River. Disgusted at the brutality and familiarity of the crime, he realizes the murderous, sadistic monster from his past has returned with a vengeance. His brother’s blood is now on the hands of those who failed to catch the real killer the first time around. Fueled by retribution, and eager to heal his past, Bobby’s determined to bring the true murderer to justice.

Armed with equal parts instinct and desperation, Bobby confronts his broken relationships while chasing a mysterious trail of death that spans thirty years and two continents. Obstacles, lies, and deception face him at every turn as he partners with a tough-as-nails female reporter and a reluctant Chief of Detectives to catch a resurrected killer and vindicate his family’s name. In the end, Bobby finds redemption in a way he could never imagine as the whispers of the river reveal the horrible secrets beneath her swift, cold currents.”

Meanwhile, you can find a quick trailer over on my website , and I’ll have a new cover reveal coming soon!

The Cows Came Home

Posted: November 18, 2015 in fiction, novel, Publishing, Writing

That’s right. After three years of meandering through the literary field of dreams, the cows came home. I did not want them to come home. I was hoping they would find a nice, big literary house and settle down. But they came home today, their heads appearing over the hill as I received word from my second, and beloved, literary agent that our well of acquisition options had run dry. She still loves the book, but what else could she do?

Nothing, that’s what.

That’s the nature of the business. Having an agent and a good manuscript will not guarantee a book deal. Just as having a book deal will not guarantee a runaway bestseller. Bottom line is, even if you’re lucky enough to find an agent, your book is still, and always will be, at the mercy of editorial and personal taste (let’s be honest here, okay?), with a touch of business-driven-literary-trend-thingy thrown in to send the scales one way or another.

That’s where “the buck stops.”

I’ve been riding this emotional rollercoaster, even through a good deal of personal tragedy and setbacks, for three years now. Tonight, my literary future takes yet another turn into the unknown. The book on the chopping block today was Cold Currents, a southern mystery/thriller. It’s a good book, at least according to a lot of people along the way that have read it in advance. And I think the second book I’m writing in the series, The Layers Beneath, will be equally as good, if not better.

All that said, I’ll be publishing Cold Currents on Amazon soon. Hopefully, Layers will not be far behind. It will have good company in my debut novel, Rockapocalypse, and my short story, Anything But, both of which have garnered mostly four and five star reviews. I’d like to think the diverse (and comfortable, if you like series) nature of my books will do well over the coming months and years…

…but only the cows and time will tell.

The cows will head back out soon, in a much different direction, but with a slightly familiar goal. Again, I’ll be praying I never see them again, wishing a few people buy my books, hoping I can eventually make a good go of this literary business. Until then, I have a “gifted” police detective and an aging six-foot-seven Indian bounty hunter to ride shotgun with on a terrifying, white-knuckled chase across the Carolina landscape.

I hope you’ll join us.

There’s always room for one more reader on this crazy ride.

I am not dead.

Not physically, or creatively. But I’m older. And time waits for no one. That said, here’s where the rubber meets the road on this beautiful Spring day: I’m still on a 3-book-deal-seeking submission with my current agent, Stacey Donaghy of the Donaghy Literary Group, for COLD CURRENTS, I’ve parted ways with my second (and latest… and last) publisher for ROCKAPOCALYPSE, and I’ve planted my first garden in many, many years.

Time marches on, unrelenting, making me older and wiser.

Sometimes you have to shift your perspective… or it shifts for you. Mine shifted in a big way a few days ago as I perused my new garden for fresh shoots pushing courageously through the soil. Beginning May 1st I’ll be offering downloads, in various formats, of ROCKAPOCALYPSE and ANYTHING BUT for a small price on my author’s website. Over time, I hope the available selections will grow.

This will not be an easy venture. I’ll need the support of family, friends, associates, and anyone who genuinely loves a good tale. You won’t pay much and I won’t make much, after every part of the machine takes its slice, but that’s not what I wanted anyway. All I ever wanted was to entertain you with imaginary places and people whose lives mirror a bit of the happiness, sorrow and lessons of the heart that we all experience… and to make enough doing it to live a simple life doing what I love. Like the newly sprouted shoot that pushes skyward against great odds, I know I’ll have to be just as strong and tenacious to succeed.Bean seeds germinating shot

Please visit my website if you get a chance, even if it’s just to say “hi” in my guestbook. Your support means the world to me, and gives this old writer a tug on his creative heartstrings.

“…and with that, he was gone in a swoosh of wind and leaves and dust, leaving not so much an impression of being, as an impression of never was.”

Download my debut novel at Amazon.com and Barnes & Noble for only $0.99 starting tomorrow!

ROCKAPOCALYPSE Sale

ROCKAPOCALYPSE Sale

Check it out at http://blackheartmagazine.com/2012/08/10/monsters-and-martyrs-by-byron-suggs/

Finally got the cover for Rockapocalypse from the publisher. I’ve celebrated by updating the book trailer. Check it out!

http://www.byronsuggs.com

or

http://www.byronsuggs.weebly.com

 

 

It’s been awhile since my last post, but I’ve been busy. Actually that’s an understatement. I thought I would share my experiences, albeit as on-going as they may be, on writing and the editorial process.

First, unless you’re a writer blessed with talents far beyond mortal means, you probably are not the best editor for your work. Why? Because you love your work. Because you don’t handle self-rejection and self-critique very well. Because…well, isn’t that enough? Sure, you can run spell check, catch a few of those seriously stupid words or sentences that crept into your work while you were busy seducing it to paper. Maybe even realize you blew the plot and are able to fix it. But you won’t see it like a reader will see it. You won’t see it like a publisher or an agent will see it. You won’t approach it from a ‘marketing’ standpoint. You simply won’t… because you’re a writer.

With my first book, Rockapocalypse: A Boy’s Tale (now called Rock of Ages: The Keeper, after umpteen million revisions), I contracted a freelance editor to do a developmental edit. It was rather disastrous from my standpoint. My book had various problems and I spent many months re-writing. So much re-writing in fact, that my book changed drastically. Which put me back to square one, and that was not a happy place for me.

Fortunately, I had enough of ‘something’ in my work to get the attention of a small, traditional boutique publisher. After failing to get a contract through their publication board process, for reasons that went far beyond the merits of the book, I was lucky enough to peak additional interest with the owner/CEO, and was offered a collaboration of sorts to get my book up to their publishing standards. Collaboration, you say? Yes. I now meet with the her once a week at their company offices and do a combined developmental/copy-edit on my manuscript. No contract has been offered, but I’m learning a great deal about the editing process and hope it will lead to one in the near future. The really cool thing? It’s not costing me a dime. And that means they’re willing to invest time (=money) in me.

On another front, my second book, Cold Currents, is now under editorial eyes. After a careful search, I landed the editorial services of a well-respected freelance editor with over 40 years experience in the publishing industry. I won’t go into details for discretionary reasons, but he’s associated with a lengthy list of well-known works spanning  his career. He’s currently providing a full edit on my manuscript as I write this. The cost will be a bit steep for my pockets, but it’s a sacrifice I feel I have to make at this point. I have to admit, I’m a bit nervous about his pending prognosis. It’s like waiting for a call from your doctor on your lab results.

The hardest part about both of the above? Not touching my work until the editing touches it. I really, really want to get back in there and ‘meddle-in-the- middle’, keep my fingers in it. But for now, I’ll just be content knowing I’m learning as I go with the edits on my first book and that I’ve got a professional’s eyes on my second book.

What are your thoughts on the editing process? Do you think the ‘wordsmithing’ stops with you? Do you have an editor you’re comfortable with that you return to over and over again? Is it important to you as a writer that your work shines to readers, and the industry in general?

Let me know your thoughts!

Disclaimer: This blog post has been edited with the narrow/bias perspective of its originator. Professional quality content should not be assumed by the reader.

Second novel…

Posted: January 5, 2012 in fiction, novel, Publishing, words, Writing

2012 Milestone: I’ve completed the initial brain dump of my second novel as of 7:30 pm Jan. 4th..

More to follow…

Not really… just been so doggone busy. In fact, I’m heavy into learning all about ebook conversion software. Why, you ask? Because like it or not, the doors are blowing off the traditional publishing model. Ignore it if you want. It’s a quick fix society…has been for years. I’ve played by the rules, played nice, followed the guidelines, waited patiently.

Nobody has ever said, “You suck as a writer! Don’t quit your day job…”, so I’ve maintained the course. But I can’t ignore the technology, the tools that are available in a free society. Or the growing tide of self-pub mania. Oh, I’ve not completely pulled out of the trad-pub realm, just keeping my options open. It’s like this…if I came to your playground with my dodge ball and I saw you and your friends playing like a bunch of octogenarians wearing depends and sporting walkers, the dust collecting on the ball as it sailed through the air in some odd (and very slow) time warp, and was told I would have to be voted in to play, I would go form my own dodge ball game. I wouldn’t care if yours was the Queens dodge ball league and had been around for 150 years. It’s that simple.

My first book has undergone a metamorphosis that would put The Fly to shame. I’ve done all I can do with it, but it will be published. I will not surrender. My second book is coming along nicely and I just did a line edit on the first 200 pages. I’ve also “sold” a story to a literary publication that will be in print by January and I’m fishing around another short story as I write this. See? I have been busy!

Here’s the deal with the trad-status, per say. I’m working with a trad-publisher to get my book in print, but when, no one can say. There is NO contract, just a “gentleman’s agreement”. I will not live forever. For the life of me, I cannot understand why traditional publishing takes so long! I know the ins and outs of the process, but there seems to be a floating lag factor that cannot be nailed down and stomped like the turtle-paced, snail headed monkey that it is. We’ve come too far to be operating like scribes from the 16th century. That’s why I’m learning ebook stuff. Enough is enough. Sure, I know if I go that route it will be a struggle, but it will be a struggle that I have control of. It will be a struggle that will keep me engaged in the process and not sitting around waiting for the turtle-paced snail head to tell me what’s going on.

Well, that was refreshing. Just needed to get that out.