Daily Archives: November 16, 2015
Posted by authorcamilson
About the Book
Title: The Journals of Bob Drifter
Author: M.L.S. Weech
Genre: Paranormal Thriller / Urban Fantasy
Bob Drifter is a substitute teacher with a secret. He seems like no more than a polite young man who loves to read and mentor students in his free time. Yet, on the side, Bob takes part in some rather strange extracurricular activities that soon attract the attention of local police. For some reason, people have a way of dying around him.
It’s not his fault. Maybe he just hangs around people who are already dying. Maybe he has bad timing. But Bob knows better. He has a secret mission that must be completed before he ends up in prison or raises the ire of the most frightening individual in the supernatural world. No pressure.
A terrifying new force has set foot into Bob’s life, and a string of ghastly mutilations follows this figure wherever he goes. Now, Bob has to keep his own secrets, protect his students, and fulfill his mentor’s wishes. Welcome to the world of those who watch over the dead.
L. S. Weech was born in August 1979 in Rapid City, South Dakota. He fell in love with fantasy and science fiction at an early age. His love of writing quickly followed when he tried to write a sequel to his favorite movie. He didn’t know what copyright infringement was. He can’t remember a time he wasn’t working on some sort of project from that day on. He wrote for a junior high project. The only way his freshman english teacher could get him to settle down was to let him start writing a book. He completed what he calls his first manuscript when he was 17.
He got a ton of feedback that was honest, helpful, and not much fun to listen to, but instead of quit, he simply wrote another, and then another.
He fell in love with reading in high school when he was introduced to Timothy Zahn and the Star Wars novels. Then he was handed Anne McCaffrey, Robert Jordan, Dean Koontz, Brandon Sanderson and so many more. He went from reading to complete homework to reading more than three books a month.
He joined the U.S. Navy as a journalist in 2005. He served on aircraft carriers and destroyers. He served in the deserts of Iraq and the mountains of Afghanistan. He finished his time in the Navy in 2015, and currently teaches future Navy Mass Communication Specialists at the Defense Information School.
When he wasn’t taking pictures or writing features or news stories, he was writing fiction. Photojournalism was a hobby he enjoyed getting paid for, but writing fiction has been and remains his true dream.
He’s completed six manuscripts and is already planning a seventh. He took his third project to Archway Publishing, who helped him turn his life-long dream into a reality.
Thanks for being my guest today. Tell us about you –
I recently ended a 10-year enlistment with the U.S. Navy. I served proudly, but it was time for me to follow a new dream. I still love it though, and that’s why it’s so great that my day-job is to teach journalism at the Defense Information School in Maryland, where I learned how to tell stories for the Navy and I currently help the next generation of mass communication specialists learn the skills they’ll need for their job.
I’m 35 years old. I was born in Rapid City, South Dakota, but all I remember about that place was how cold it could get. I was raised in Yuma, Arizona, (where I’ll never forget how hot it gets), and I call that home.
What inspires you to get out of bed each day?
The hope that if I work fast enough I can get back in bed? Kidding. My primary motivation is my family. (Mom, Dad, brothers, sisters, nieces and nephews). From there it’s my students, my friends and my passion for writing. I usually have something I center my day around, that “something” is one of those things. Going back to Yuma to see the parents. A particular lesson plan that I feel good about. Just recently I got to take one of my nieces to see a movie. On days when I have life all to myself, I have a entirely different group of people I love just as much. Those people are the characters in my books. I’ve spent a bit of time away from writing here and there, but eventually, the characters are louder in my imagination than I can stand. Those are pretty much the reasons I look forward to each day.
If you could hang out with one famous person for one day, who would it be and why?
I’ve been to conventions, and even had an awesome chance to meet some people I look up to. If I could sit down and talk with anyone for a day, I think I’d choose Jim Butcher. I haven’t had a chance to meet him yet. I’ve heard nothing but great things. His storytelling ability is amazing. I like the idea of just sitting down and chatting with someone like that. There are many others I’d be honored to meet (or see again) from different walks of life:
- Frank Gore
- Carol Guzy
- Brandon Sanderson
- Jennifer Aniston
- Joss Whedon
- Peter Dinklage
- Matt Smith (could I just arrange the largest Doctor Who party in history?)
That list probably rotates at infinite speeds with another hundred names. There are a lot of cool people. But at this moment I’m looking at my library at a Jim Butcher book thinking, “Man! Wouldn’t it be cool to talk to him about writing, role playing or just anything in general.”
What’s the story behind your latest book?
A couple things happened. The first thing was I saw my dog playing with my dad. The dog was getting old, and I started thinking about what life would be without him, and didn’t really enjoy the mental trip. That got me thinking about death, which inspired a short story. The short story bounced around a few people, but never landed in any publications. I’d moved on to a few other ideas, but when I told my brother (and the artist for the chapter icons in the book) about how I’d always envisioned the main character of that short story running into a big, scary version of Death, he demanded I write the book.
It was the first book I ever finished writing that I felt was undeniably a good story. I fell in love with the characters, and I felt the twisting of stories was a pretty fresh idea. So when I realized I was going to put something out there, I chose this book.
Tell us your writing process.
I’m still growing as a professional. I’ve written six books, and I’m 25,000 words into the seventh. I had to try different things, and I make it a point to try something new with each book. I do that just to see how well I can refine my process. I feel confident my basic process works for me, but I think it’s important to note that people try new things because thats how they’ll grow. If I break it down into simple steps it is:
- Develop characters
- Refine characters based on worldbuildng
- Plot each character individually (at least the ones that have distinctive roles in the book)
- Weave plots together into a single outline. Here, if I come upon a scene I’m particularly in to, I go ahead and write it. I let anything that comes naturally happen. The editor in me can hack away whatever it wants, but this is where the dreamer in me has the most fun.
- From there I write what I call my discovery draft. I’m a discovery-writer at heart. I follow my outline, but I let things flow here. I only revisit my outline if I come up against a wall. This is usually what happens if I don’t spend enough time worldbuilding or developing characters.
- The discovery draft becomes either the worlds most ridiculously-large, detailed outline or the smallest, most-shallow draft. I re-read that about twice, annotating gaps I need to fill in. Then I begin the revision process. I usually type another two drafts for content, then a few editorial passes. I’ve never written a book less than four times, and I’ve written one book 27 times. I think the “right” number is somewhere in between those numbers. I still don’t think I have that part down.
- As a note, I also think I have a ways to go with world building. I tend to discovery write my world. I’m usually very familiar with my characters, but now and then I need to take a step back and think about things in terms of the world, environment and (what I’d say is my weakest area) description. If I make a draft for each of these issues, I usually feel like I’ve at least addressed them in some way.
Do you have any tips for other authors how they can get the word put about their book?
Unfortunately, I have a LOT of advise. I could spend 10,000 words talking about all the things I wish I knew, and all the things I still don’t know. I’ll keep this to the top 5.
- Market well before the book is out: You have to generate some sort of steam for your novel. the biggest hurdle I’m up against now is the fact that I’m just not known, and neither is my book. When people read it, they like it, but getting it out there has proven a challenge I wasn’t prepared for. I think I can recover, and the more success I find as an author, the more this book will spread. But life is much easier when you have people anticipating your book.
- If people call you, they only want your money: This is also true of some self-publishing companies. They offer you marketing packages. The simple truth is this is how they make their money, not from selling your book. I’ve invested nearly $15,000 in marketing. I can’t point to very many sales from any of it. I found the most success in live appearances and word-of-mouth. But a significant amount of that money I’ve lost started with a phone call where someone says: “If you just give us this amount of money, we’ll promote your book to all of these people.” It seems great. But what I’ve learned is people are either going to buy your book or not, and everything someone has done isn’t something I couldn’t have done myself.
- Find out what you don’t know: I don’t like marketing. It’s one thing to get out and meet people and talk about my book, but marketing is a skill I don’t have and don’t enjoy. Regardless, the bottom line is you have to research it. You have to learn how to reach the people you want to reach, and if you’re resisting that fact, you’re setting yourself up for some hard lessons.
- Try a lot of things: This seems contradictory of number 2, but it doesn’t negate the necessity. The balance is keeping the risk within an established budget. I saved up quite a lot to get this book out and market it. I’m not necessarily sad at the spending of money, I’m horrified at the lack of returns on my investments. So try a lot of things, but track how those things translate into sales. Try it, evaluate, try something else. Note what works, and do it again. If something doesn’t, I haven’t had any experience that’s shown me doing it again will yield different results.
- Social media is a friend: Oh that friend is more annoying than nails on a chalkboard in some ways, but you have to do it, and do so constantly. Network, put your product out there and be consistent. The more people see you, the more likely they are to acknowledge you. That last statement was horrifically vague, but I don’t know another way to say it. The point is, if you want to get out there, you have to get out there, and stay out there.
When did you realize you wanted to be a writer?
I was 8 the first time I wrote something. I tell the story a lot. I was watching what turned out to be (and remains) my favorite movie. I cried as my favorite character died, and my biological father scoffed, telling me to write a better movie if I didn’t like this one. So I tried to do just that. Fourteen hand-written pages later (front and back), I learned writing was hard. I never let it go though. I have some sort of project from every major phase of my life.
One that comes to mind at this moment was the first time I showed my first book to my brother (who was only my best friend at the time). He read it and made some comments. I took the book back, rewrote it (and have another 26 times since). His encouragement means a lot to me. He’s my number-one reader and number-one fan. He’s also incredibly patient with me. I’m honestly the most stubborn person I know, and he deals with that in ways that continue to amaze me. There are a lot of conversations where I gnash my teeth and bark, but I do always listen, and he keeps reading my work and offering me feedback. That first time was when I realized not just how much I enjoyed writing, but how much I wanted to do it well.
Tell us about your main character.
Bob is a man who’s caught in a world that doesn’t fit him. He wants to be average. He wants to live life. He’d be over the moon if he could just teach all day, read and drink hot chocolate. But he’s in this hyperbolically-important supernatural circle. He’s tried to counter that by simply doing what must be done without asking too many questions. This book is built around what happened when he tried to do more. He wasn’t trying to win employee of the year in the supernatural world, he just didn’t want people to fear what everyone knows is coming sooner or later. He’s just a guy stuck in a position where everything he tries is going to disappoint, piss off, or kill someone.
What are you working on next?
My next book is called Caught. It’s a paranormal horror about a group of people stuck in reoccurring nightmares. I plan for this to be out next year, and I’m almost done with another set of revisions.
Do you have any special/extraordinary talents?
I jokingly refer to my radar. I have a knack for looking at a situation or group of people and accurately predicting how that scenario will work out. The joke continued to grow to the point where it’s eerie. No, I don’t in any way think I’m clairvoyant. What I think is I’m incredibly perceptive, and that leads to a fairly reliable ability to anticipate what’s going to happen.
I can also do a pushup without putting my feet on the ground. I saw someone do it in the 1994 olympics and wouldn’t stop trying to do it until I figured it out. It’s easily my most impressive physical ability.
Who are your favorite authors?
That list is fairly standard, but there are a few names out there on my radar too. But, as it stands:
All respect is due to Stephen King. His book, “On Writing” was my call to action. I work very hard to make his philosophy on the craft my own.
What do you like to do with your free time?
There’s no such thing. But, I sacrifice much needed sleep to play guitar and watch football. Other than my family, those are the two things that have the power to distract me from writing.
Tell us about your plans for upcoming books.
I’m growing as an author. I have too many ideas to count, but I have a clear idea on my next ten books. (These aren’t books I’ve written or plan to revise, but books I’m writing and plan to write. So they’re not books 1-10, but 7-17)
Perception of War: A Science Fiction fantasy series based around the crew of one particular ship. I’m currently writing the first book in that serial series. It’s about a young photographer who ends up on a special forces space vessel conducting operations in a war zone in which I blend WW II with the war or terror.
Chased and Betrayed (These are the working titles to the planned sequels to Caught)
The Sound of Freedom: This is a trilogy based on the idea that music (and the subsequent magic based on that music) is how God interacts with his children. So what what is the reaction to those born deaf? In my world, they’re excommunicated. They’re sent to this city of the forsaken until a former priest comes along trying to prove those people aren’t forsaken after all.
Those (and many more) are books I will write if life permits. Books I’ve already written and intend to publish are:
1,200: A book about a homeless veteran using his magic to help other homeless vets, only to come across a creature that eats anyone he uses that magic on.
The Nick of Time: A young-reader book about a little girl who’s trying to help her father discover why the world is ending.
New Utopia: This one book will actually become a set of two books. It centers around a post-apocalyptic planet (not Earth). Humanity lives on a city in the sky, but the city has a flaw that will doom them all if the main character can’t learn what that is. Giant creatures, magic, science fiction and political intrigue for everyone!
Any final thoughts?
I just want to thank you for offering to host me on this tour. I’m incredibly thankful to anyone who’s willing to give me the chance to talk about my book and help me live my dream. It means a lot to me. These words seem insufficient to me, but they’re all I have. Thank you!
Excerpt of “Viral” from Gristle & Bone
“You are looking into the Walker disappearance, is that correct?” Constable Nadeau dropped into the chair behind her desk with a squeak. She spoke with a heavy Quebecois accent, the English slightly stilted; th becoming t or d, depending; lone hs dropped; emphases in all the wrong places.
“Yes, that’s right,” Tara said. “Do you mind if I record this?”
Nadeau waved the question away.
“How long has she been missing?”
“Two week,” Nadeau said. “The Bamber girl reported she had not seen her the afternoon Daria made her video.”
“Nor her parents.”
Nadeau wore mysterious smile as she shook her head. “Oh no. MacKenzie was supposed to meet Daria to work on a video project for school. I suspect it was this video you see on the internet, which she had uploaded later that day.”
“You think these kids worked on it together. That it’s just special effects.”
“Oh, I have no doubt, Ms. Maxwell.” She folded her hands over the desk, leaning forward on her elbows, reminding Tara of Hal Waterman. “And you? Surely you don’t think it’s real?”
“Of course not.” Her indignation seemed forced even to herself. “Why did you smile when I asked about her parents? Did they—?”
“Greta and Anson Walker are… unique.”
“Unique? How so?”
Nadeau raised her sharp eyebrows. “Let us just say, it’s no wonder to me why Daria Walker disappeared,” the detective said, then frowned a little at the unintentional implication, and corrected herself: “Went missing. The girl’s father didn’t even remember what she was wearing that day, not that it would have helped one way or the other.”
De udder was how it sounded in Nadeau’s accent, and Tara couldn’t help but grin. “Why not?”
“The thing is, Daria left a pile of clothes in front of the computer before she slipped out of her bedroom window. The hoodie, her jogging pant, a pair of socks and underwear. All the things she wore in the video. There was even an earring and a little beaded bracelet—”
Tara seized on it: “A friendship bracelet?” Left her clothes. Left her bracelet, and her jewelry… everything she couldn’t take with her to the Great Beyond.
“Maybe.” Nadeau shrugged. “She’d just left it there on the carpet beside her desk chair. Like she want us to believe she literally disappeared…”
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