Monday, 5 March 2012


Posted by RLL for REPORT FROM A FUGITIVE. © RLL, 2012.

Brace for impact. This final blog in the series introduces another D-Day. Just before I posted this entry, I published LYGHTNYNG STRYKES. According to the plan. Blog for six weeks and self-publish a book before year’s end in 2011. Gather short stories and put out a second book after six more weeks of blogging. Throw all eighteen blog entries into that collection. Format LYGHTNYNG STRYKES for publication after six more weeks of blogging.
   I thought this possible. Separating Deployment-Days by six weeks gave me time to deal with the unexpected. John Lennon’s famous view. My life was indeed disrupted by life, while I was making other plans. At least those other plans planned for life’s interruptions.
   How much realism can you apply, in a line of work that is mired neck-deep in fantasy? As much as you can. My publishing plan seemed realistic. Here’s a book. Written, rejected, ready to be resurrected. I have to do some work on it, to adapt to the new format. But I won’t be rewriting the plot of the damn thing. That’s not something I do.
   I may have cut a six-line paragraph into two three-line paragraphs here and there. That’s not changing the plot. Just making things a mite easier on the reader. To pave the way for further books in the series, I added a few thousand words. No change in plot.
   Anyway, my goal was practical. The hard work of writing the book was in my past. I did a spot of tidying, and publication was inevitable. Well, it didn’t seem so on the day. I had my finger hovering over the button and spotted one last thing.
   There’s always one last thing. Even after you are done. I managed to press that button before day’s end. Once Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords was published, I had to re-publish immediately. The blurb needed fixing. A two-minute job, but still a job worth spending two minutes on.
   Realism. I published a book. Learned a lot from that first event. Then I kicked a bunch of short stories into shape. This involved real editing – deciding the reading order. (Something the Kindle reader may choose to ignore, clicking story links instead. But I must start with my choice of beginning. I have little choice in that.)
   Editing. Throwing up steel beams, from which to hang my skyscraper. I know it’s really work, but it’s a joy to read, write, and edit if you’re a wordy cove like me. Formatting THE WINDOWLESS WOOD-PANEL ROOM took me up to midnight one winter’s eve. Toil? Yes. Fun. Yes indeed.
   I found curious quirks in the typography. THE MALTESE WALNUT makes use of a decimal point for the calibre of a handgun, as does THE WINDOWLESS WOOD-PANEL ROOM. WALNUT was an earlier story, and the decimal point passed muster when converted to Kindle.
   My WINDOWLESS tale must have been written using a degenerate inbred later and better version of Microsoft Word. (And suffered as a result.) As usual, I cast a wary eye over proceedings and edited the hell out of those expletive deleted whimsical quirks.
   This blog is often about my thoughts on publishing, when I’m not veering off into talk of rain. My thoughts strayed to writing fiction for the blog, and I decided to serialise part of a crime story from long ago, over seven hills, and far away. Now that story has finished appearing in the blog, I’m left wondering what to say about LYGHTNYNG STRYKES.
   For it is D-Day once more. By the time this blog goes out, I’ll have received a reply, yay or nay, to a © request concerning use of quotations from the work of Anaïs Nin. Why would I fill LYGHTNYNG STRYKES with her words?
   Nin’s words match the plot. Thematically. Atmospherically. Readers of LYGHTNYNG STRYKES are faced with the prospect of discovering whether Schrödinger’s Cat or Nin’s Quote survived to see print on opening the book.
   What to say of Nin? A woman whose writing physically and mentally exhausted me. Was there anyone she didn’t bang in France back in the 1930s? (Er, no.) She was portrayed to a rather spooky degree by Maria de Medeiros, in the film Henry & June.
   Nin wrote porn.
   I wrote LYGHTNYNG STRYKES. You can see where this is going. I fear I may have to draw a veil across the subject-matter of my third self-published book, lest genteel readers of this blog blush with the shame of realising that I have written a porno.
   Shy readers, look away now. Tear yourselves from these words, for these words say nothing of what comes next – and this is your chance to steal away. Quietly, in the company of not-yet-upset horses. Don’t fall over those comedically-placed milk bottles. (Someone, somewhere, must still bottle milk.)
   Fear not. For the plot of LYGHTNYNG STRYKES is not revealed here. Dick and Marnie used to be a couple. They spend their time investigating conspiracies. One day, they investigate a genuine conspiracy. This brings them closer, aw, just like the old days.
   Oh, and there are a few scenes in which banging occurs. This is unavoidable, as it features as part of the plot surrounding the conspiracy enveloping the town of LYGHTNYNG STRYKES. That’s as much as you need to know.
   Is it porn? In the strictest Greek sense of writing about prostitutes? No, I can’t really say that it is. Well, is it erotica? All lace bodices, black stockings, and unseen Eros poking his giggling head around a powdered thigh? No, I can’t really say that it is. Well, is LYGHTNYNG STRYKES a story featuring naughty bits?
   Here and there. The book does have a plot, and characters, featured in scenes. Some of those scenes are a bit rude if you feel in the mood to call those scenes rude. I shall place a form of tittering warning at the end of the blurb, for those sensitive types in the audience. The sensitive types, presumably, who haven’t already waded through Neon Gods Brought Down by Swords or INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS.
   Yes, I, too, find it strange that I come across as a vaguely literary-minded type in this blog. Yet I’ve gone and written a porno. Er, erotica. No, a story with naughty bits in there. Somewhere. Deep in the shrubbery. That wasn’t a euphemism. If you laughed at my use of shrubbery, you are the sort to laugh at my use of euphemism.
   Perhaps I should say euphemysm. For the plot of the book dictates that, under certain conditions, the letter i becomes y. That isn’t asking too much of my readers. (What would be asking too much? Could you give me a saliva-based DNA sample? That’s pushing it. I’d be accused of cloning my own army of readers. Some enterprising authors have done this.)
   My plan unfolded realistically. For LYGHTNYNG STRYKES was another book written in the dim and distant. All I had to do was a world of formatting. The book is long. Have you taken in this message, about having realistic publishing plans? I wanted to publish two books I’d written. And I knew I could cobble another book out of short stories, the odd article, some poetry, excerpts from a shattered, fractured, novel, and these blog posts.
   I didn’t set out to write three novels from scratch, over twelve weeks. That would have been less realistic. Could I have done so? Given my current editing ability and potential daily output, yes. I chose to go with the material I’d already written. It was sitting earning nothing, after all.
   Time to say farewell, as I welcome another book into the digital world. This last series of six blogs appeared in my INCOMPLETE UNCOLLECTED SHORT WORKS before reaching the blog itself. It will interest me to see how much of the plan held together, while life intruded on my vast publishing empire, run from my top secret volcano base – located inside my own tiny mind.
   With the goals and timetable kept simple, I imagine that all objectives were reached. You will know that is the case if you see this text on the blog itself, or view LYGHTNYNG STRYKES for sale on Amazon. There’s a short warped window of opportunity, in which it is possible to publish the blogs inside my second book…
   According to plan, celebrating the completion of the plan.
   With the spectre of bus-related failure hanging over publication of the third book, for a few weeks. It is this shift in time that I find fascinating, as I sit typing words that will appear in a book before they see the light of day on the blog designed to lead up to the actual completion of phase three of the plan.
   Here comes that bus again. If it runs me over, I’ll not be best-pleased. Some dim rays will escape from my vanished star. It should come as no surprise to readers that I have written stories about time travel. I suspect my future self will write more.


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