Chapter 4 of DinoLand is up this morning at Geek Eccentric.

It’s aliiiiive. Or rather, it’s liiiive.

Chapter 4 of DinoLand is posted at Geek Eccentric as of half an hour ago.

In this month’s installment, the zoology team attempts to help a sick brachiosaurus. How do you do that? With armored vehicles, a team of acrobats and tranquilizers fired from a cannon. While praying. With a few ambulances on standby.

How does it go? That would be a spoiler. Click over to Geek Eccentric and check it out.

Freelance & fiction & the third Resistance book, which is definitely being written.

Just a quick post today: I’m working on freelance projects and prepping the fourth chapter of DinoLand for its publication on Sunday (there will be be big doings in Chapter Four, for those who have been following along. I promise you blood, my friends.)

That’s right, freelance projects! I love teaching as an adjunct, but I’ve been wanting to get back into the freelance world for a while, and I’ve finally had the opportunity to do that. It’s part of my long-term goal: freelance as a writer and editor until my books start earning me money and I can live the life of a full-time author. Then I can just sit in my office, eating bonbons and killing characters all day like George R.R. Martin. george-r-r-martin-meme-generator-have-a-favorite-character-not-anymore-cce918

Speaking of George R.R. Martin, it’s taking me a long time, but I am actually working on the final book in the Resistance series. No really, I am. The last book has a title and a new protagonist and everything. I know that my books are under 100 pages (as opposed to Martin’s 3,000 pages) and you’d think I’d be done by now, but as it turns out I have a lot of loose ends to tie up and I’d like to do that well, so it’s taking longer than I’d like.

What I can tell you is that the new protagonist is male, which is new for me in this series, and that we will finally find out what happened to the mysterious package in Beware the Hawk.

Also, the readers’ survey – I have not forgotten my “What Are You Reading” survey, which still needs a bigger sample size. (A lot of people read literary fiction, and almost no one reads philosophy. Descartes would be disappointed in you guys.)

And that’s it for me. I will post more later. I’ve been working on two posts for several weeks, but work and the baby have gotten in the way. Eventually both posts will see the light of day. At least, I hope so.

A Writing Day. (Or, a Writing Couple Of Hours. Same thing, really.)

Today is a writing day for me!

A good ol’ fiction-writing extravaganza day. Today, I do my favorite thing in the world: make stuff up.

w00t for a writing day!

Well. Actually, it’s not really a writing day. It’ s really a writing couple of hours. I’ve set the day aside, and my mother has agreed to watch the baby, but between feedings, packing the computer and the manuscript and the child in the car, travel time, catching up with my mother and lunch, it’s a writing couple of hours, not a writing day.

But that’s fine, because these couple of hours make it possible for me to have several stay-at-home-mom days and freelance writing days without losing my mind. Just knowing that these couple of hours are going to happen at least once a week enables me to spend days vacuuming, and washing diapers without feeling guilt about my work. Guilt is the worst.*

I’m planning to publish a lengthier post about writing with a baby and how I’m trying to make it work. (I’ve been drafting it, during naptimes, for something like three or four weeks. I’m not even kidding.)

But for now, I’m going to work on my fiction. Because I have the time.

*And my mother is the best.

I’ve had a short story up on Amazon for a week and haven’t told anyone.

I call this “stealth marketing.”
(Pro tip: I just checked my metrics on Amazon. “Stealth marketing” doesn’t work.)

short story, fiction, horrorAnyhow, the story.

Final Statements is about a woman who is obsessed with reading the last words of executed prisoners online. (This is a real thing. Someone records the final words of death row inmates and then those words are posted on the Internet.) She has her reasons for this, but you’ll have to read the story to find out why she has such a creepy hobby.

Check it out here.

This is the second piece in my short story experiment over at Amazon. About a year ago I decided to post my previously-published stories as e-books on Amazon. My first story, Undertow, went up on the site in March and it’s been read a few times, which is cool, because as far as I know, no one’s read that since it was first published in 2003. (The first version of Final Statements was published more recently, in 2011.)

I never realized how much horror I’ve written until I started this project. I tend to write a lot of literary fiction on a day-to-day basis, but when I started combing through the stories I want to publish on Amazon, it turns out, they’re all horror.
Huh.
I’m too squeamish to watch a horror film, but I write horror stories. Go figure. This is probably what I get for being obsessed with Thomas Harris books in my 20s. (Clarice Starling, I still want to be you.)

Anyhow, that brings me to my next point. I have several unpublished genre (horror, of course) stories that I might include in this project. Rather than try to publish these pieces the old-fashioned way (send them to journals), I might just put them directly online. My reasoning: Amazon is where the horror readers are. Literary journals are where the lit-fic readers are.

Writers, what are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear from you.

Chapter 3 of DinoLand is up at Geek Eccentric.

Dinoland_Logo_1Just a quick post to let you all know that Chapter 3 of DinoLand is live today at Geek Eccentric. Head on over and check it out because the plot is thickening and it is getting real.

As an aside, I’ve been meaning to write more than these monthly posts about things that are getting published. I actually have several posts started, but the first month of our son’s life has gotten between me and this blog. That said, I’m hoping to post more in the next few weeks; I have some projects I’m working on now that the school year is winding down and I’ve also just wanted to blog more.

Chapter 1 of DinoLand debuts today!

Chapter 1 of DinoLand is live over at Geek Eccentric right now. DinoLand, Ch. 1I’ve just run around the house yelling “Ahhhhh, it’s alive” and now that I’m settled down, I’m posting here while I can sit still.

If you like dinosaurs, sci-fi, or thrillers head over to Geek Eccentric and check out Chapter 1. If you really like it, return on the first Sunday of each month for a new chapter.

(FYI: I’m going to be changing this page today so that you’ll be able to access the latest DinoLand chapters right from the menu at the top.)

I really, really, hope you enjoy this. Rawr.

 

One of my novels is being published as serial fiction! (And there are dinosaurs.)

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

photo credit: Thomas Hawk via photopin cc

I have some pretty awesome publishing news. Are you ready? Get ready.

Geek Eccentric, a site I’ve been working with for a year now, will be serializing a novel of mine, DinoLand, starting on Sunday, March 2, and running the first Sunday of each month.

I’ve been working with an artist, the fabulous Max Farinato, on this project, and I am excited to be able to finally share this news with you all.

DinoLand is a book I started working on several years ago, as a National Novel Writing Month project. I’d planned it as a novel, but after Margaret Atwood’s success with the webserial Positron, I’ve been interested in trying that route myself.

What’s DinoLand about?
DinoLand is set in a sprawling, Disney World-like amusement park which has introduced live dinosaurs as an attraction. The park saved a dying mill town and its leader is revered as a genius and a hero for his work. However, a new attraction is being planned, one that may not be as beloved as the herd of Brachiosaurs.

We need to talk about Jurassic Park.
Let’s address the pink Tricerotops in the room. This theme park hasn’t got much to do with Michael Crichton’s Costa Rican Island, or even with Velociraptors. The park in this book is very different from the one in Jurassic Park. Let me put it this way: the real monsters in this book aren’t the big lizards.

Rawr.
Have I mentioned that I’m excited about this? Because I am. So. Excited. I’m a little nervous about starting a webserial around the same time that I have a baby, but this is a project I’ve wanted to do for a long time, and I hope you’ll be interested too. So stay tuned for more announcements, links and posts. Let’s get prehistoric!

My galley proof is here, and I have a lot of feelings about it.

The proof of my new book, The Eagle and the Arrow, arrived on Monday, causing me so much agitation I couldn’t write for the rest of the day, so I took a bunch of photos that looked like this and posted them on Facebook and Twitter.

Photo 34

Shamelessness: Just one of the reasons you should follow me on social media.

Here’s the thing, though; excited as I am when a galley (a proof, galley or galley proof is a preliminary version of a book) arrives on my doorstep, I’m also filled with dread. Why? Because when the galley proof arrives, that means I have to sit down and read the whole thing.

I know that probably sounds weird. But now, a month before the book itself is released is the absolute worst time for me to sit down and read it, because at this point in the process, I am always convinced that whatever it is I’m publishing – in this case, my book – is the most horrendous thing I’ve ever written.

 I ride a roller coaster of self-consiousness when I’m writing and publishing. it goes a little something like this:

  1. When I first write something, minutes after my fingers have lifted from the keyboard, I’m convinced that I’m a genius.
  2. When I look at it again, I regain my sanity and revise.
  3. When I revise again, after my writers’ group has seen it, I’m once again convinced that I’m brilliant.
  4. Then I submit it somewhere, and am certain that it’s the worst thing I, or anyone else, has ever written.
  5. If it’s accepted, I believe I’m a genius again.
  6. If it’s rejected, I also believe I’m a genius, but that no one appreciates me and that somehow makes me more awesome and when I die an old hermit, someone will discover my manuscripts under hundreds of tins of cat food and realize I was a genius and then people will teach graduate courses about my work.
  7. When the publisher and I start work on rewrites, I regain my sanity for a while.
  8. But when the rewrites are done, the copy editors have done their thing, and it’s time for me to read the galley proof before it’s finalized and sent out to reviewers, I hit my biggest low since Step 4 and I believe that this book is the crappiest crap to ever have been written in English or any other language.
  9. I also go through a mini version of this whenever I stand up to read from my work to a group of people.
The Eagle & The Arrow, book, A.J. O'Connell, Vagabondage, Battered Suitcase, Beware the Hawk

It’s here!

Why do I do this? I don’t know. At this point in the process, several sets of eyes have been over it and the book is certainly better than it was back when I thought I was a genius.

Maybe it’s because the reviewers will be the next people who read this and OH MY GOD THEY MIGHT HATE IT. Maybe it’s because after the reviewers read it, everyone else will be able to read it and OH MY GOD THEY MIGHT HATE IT.

Although the insanity doesn’t last long; last year, when my first book came out, a couple of weeks after the release, after I forced myself to look at my reviews on Amazon, and then I was fine. I’m hoping that’s what happens this time, too.

And so my first reaction, after the galley arrives is to be very excited about it and then to carry it around in my purse but not read it for a day or so. And then when I try to read it that thing happens where I read the same page three times but no words actually get from the page to my brain.

Luckily I have my husband, who reads the whole galley first, points out errors, and then, somehow it’s easier for me to read it.

The thing that makes me feel extra divaish about all this is that I’ve only published short stories and novellas. I can sit down and read my books in a few hours. I can’t imagine what it would be like to publish a full-length novel and have to sit down and read through the whole proof by the end of the week.

Someday, though, I intend to find out.

First look at the cover of my new book.

The cover art for The Eagle & The Arrow is here!

The Eagle & The Arrow, book, A.J. O'Connell, Vagabondage, Battered Suitcase, Beware the Hawk

It’s here!

What I love about this cover is that although it’s visually similar to the cover of Beware the Hawk, I think it communicates the atmosphere of the second book beautifully. The Eagle & The Arrow continues the story started in Beware the Hawk, but features a new protagonist, a fresh set of dangers and a much different setting. As you can probably tell from the cover, these characters aren’t living in safehouses and fighting in bars. If the characters in the last book were pawns, these new characters are the chessmasters.

I’m very excited; this cover art represents a lot of work on the part of Vagabondage Press‘s art director, Maggie Ward,  and on the part of my editor, N. Apythia Morges.  I think Maggie put something like eight or nine possible covers, (including one we all loved, which couldn’t be used because the art we wanted was suddenly unavailable.)

I was very lucky to be allowed input into my cover. From what I understand, authors often don’t get a say; the cover is the responsibility of the the publishing house’s graphic arts department. I’m thrilled that I was allowed to make requests; I really, really loved the cover of Beware The Hawk, so much so, that I wanted the cover of the sequel to look consistent. Maggie obliged and here we are.

If you want a closer look at the cover, or to comment on it, visit my Facebook page. There is a photo album there for my book covers.

I do hope you like the cover as much as I do; you’ll be seeing a lot of it in the coming months as I start to ramp up promotion of the book, which comes out in June. I can’t wait, myself.