Release Day!

My terror and elation have not abated. Am I a writer now? Will I ever be? I don’t know, but for good or bad, the day is here. For anyone who wants it, you can get my book here: To buy the book:

Torquere: http://www.torquerebooks.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=97&products_id=3966

Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Winters-Trial-ebook/dp/B00EOR0406/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1377110900&sr=8-1&keywords=darren+endymion

I have also set up about a billion pages for myself. If you want them, here they are:

Twitter and Facebook I can be found under Darren Endymion (both of which have very little of anything right now, I assure you)

My (very much in process) web page: http://darrenendymion.com/

(It's hideous and new. Don't judge me. Yet.)

(Later)

Okay, so I'm in the process of setting up my author pages on Amazon and Goodreads...and I noticed that someone is reading my book right now! *cheer, nervous, vomit, die* This shit just got real. Hahaha.

I’m so nervous, I don’t know what to do with myself. I think I may drink heavily today. Cheers!

What now? Now I work on the short mer story I mentioned before. I think from there I will branch into something bigger and more ambitious than I have any right to try at this stage, and maybe even write a novel about some super heroes, a life-long geeky passion of mine. In the meantime, I will be here, annoying, terrorizing, and hopefully amusing people. Now everything won’t have to be about this novel, because I’ll be able to think about something else. I’ll keep everyone updated on writing and all that, but with the ability to think about something else comes…bliss.

I’m ready for this stage to end, but at the same time I don’t want it to. I’m not actively working on anything else right now. I just have snippets here and there and a short story to edit and submit. I have too many ideas to run out of stuff to write for a long, long while, but I’m not involved in any of them right now. Not yet. For now, I will be adrift at sea. It takes me about 3 months to pound out about 360+ pages, even with my atrocious writing habits, so I will let people know what’s going on. And it won’t be long.

I will miss Austin and Cris. I will miss Pearl, and Quinton, and especially Taylor, and all the others, but I think I’m ready to move on. I’ll come back to them—there are at least three more books to write there. But I think I’m ready to move away right now.

Until the separation anxiety kicks in. My editor thinks it started for me about a month ago. J.L. Langley has mentioned suffering from it frequently in her Yahoo group. I have read many, many other authors talking about it, and it makes sense. You spend so much time, effort, and love on these people, and then they are gone, but with you forever. They aren’t just yours anymore; they belong to anyone who wants to pick them up, for better or worse. They are out in the world. It’s like a mental empty nest.

But, this is a happy day, not time for examining the melancholy of a writer’s (?) separation anxiety. I’m sure I’ll talk about that in a later entry. Lucky you! Hahaha.

Thanks to everyone who has read my babblings up to now, and for those who might have just joined. I’d have a drink with all of you if I could. *cackle, clink*

Holy Crap, the Big Day is TOMORROW!

Luckily, I have the day off tomorrow, because I think there will be little sleeping tonight. Tomorrow I will be a wreck, likely flitting about my apartment in a daze, like some deranged hummingbird with ADD. Tomorrow, my first novel, Winter’s Trial by Darren Endymion, published by Torquere, will be released.

The very thought loosens my bowels. *cackle, stealing my dearest friend’s line* It’s my first, and I’m proud, scared, and…horrified. What if people hate it? What if they love it? What if nobody, not a single person, buys it? What if all this work was for nothing? What if it actually becomes popular?

It all seems like terror and happiness wrapped in seaweed and bile. I don’t know how to feel. What I do know is, as the illustrious Blanche Devereaux once said, “I’m as jumpy as a virgin at a prison rodeo.”

Blanche at the rodeo

I will leave you with that. Tomorrow I will have links galore for all the imaginary readers of this blog and for all my future (hopefully not so imaginary) novel readers.

*terrified*

Being Difficult and Thanks

I sincerely hope not, but I think I might have been difficult through this whole publishing process, and several misunderstandings only added to this. Luckily, I was surrounded and helped by some wonderful people. First, there was the acquisitions manager/owner/head honcho. “This contract doesn’t say ‘novel’ it says ‘novella’. Will it be billed that way, therefore excluding me from a print book after the eBook?” No, idiot, it was a mistake. She was kind and good humored, and went through extra work to appease my throbbing insecurity. I appreciate it.

Then there was the author liaison. She was great and very understanding with my million questions right after my book was accepted. When do I start? What should I be doing now? Is there anything I should know? After a while, I’m sure it sounded to her like the cacophonous kawing sound of a flock of crazed ravens.

Ka-KAAAW!

Second, (and the biggest hero here), was my editor. She and I do have a rapport, and I think she’s a clever, witty woman. One of the biggest misunderstandings was with her, and it led to us (me, mostly) being a little snippy with each other. Once we uncovered the misunderstanding (curse you, Mercury Retrograde!), things were fine. As a professional, she recognized that her unrelenting beating of me about the ear, nose, and throat with a certain aspect of the process was making me absolutely insane. I was a man on the edge.

She realized this and decided we should back off from it and come at it fresh. She couldn’t have been more correct. Not only did it help, but I was able to give her six examples when she needed only one, and together we decided on the best short blurb we could come up with. Her sense of humor was intact and charming throughout. I’m sure she wanted to choke me, though.

Obey me!

Third, the establishment pissed me off. I mentioned the pronoun rule in a previous entry. Again, I don’t know what’s okay to divulge, but this gave me severe angina. It seemed so arbitrary to me (and still does). If a pronoun is unclear, the editor should mark it and I should fix it. A blanket rule applying to all pronouns and all paragraphs seems unnecessarily limiting. People do not naturally read or write that way. I thought it would actually pull people out of the book. “Why the fuck is this idiot writer name dropping a billion times in this freakin’ paragraph? There are only two people in this scene!”

I said as much to my longsuffering editor. While she understood how I felt, and even said she felt the same way once upon a time, she very kindly (and with a lot of humor) told me it’s a publisher rule and I had to suck it up. I did, but with ill graces.

cranky-early-morning-1

Once again, taking a step back, and the fact that I was paired with an amazing proofreader helped this. (My editor was more excited than I was. “Oooooo! You got the good proofreader!” And she was right.) The proofreader was almost like a second editor, not just fixing commas and run on sentences, but commenting. She also helped elevate the language. If a sentence was unclear, she helped me upgrade it, not downgrade it to make it less intelligent.

I was in contact with an author, J.L. Langley (recently seen on Huffington Post along with my publisher’s head honcho), who has been supportive and kind through this process. She told me more than once that I shouldn’t feel pressured into changes and that I should basically stay strong. I have told her since how helpful that advice was.

Even if I’m a wordy bastard, I churned out something I’m proud of. Pronoun changes and all, though I emerged from that fight bloody, strong, and still unconvinced of the necessity of these changes.

Leave my pronouns alone.

Third, the cover artist. This was total misunderstanding, and I hope he believed me. He sent me a cover with a comment that if I liked it we could move on to the next step. I assumed that “next step” meant “not done  yet” and said it was a great start.

“Uh, asshole, that wasn’t a start. That was the goddamned cover.”

No, he didn’t say that, and he was nothing but patient and professional. I, however, was mortified at my own misunderstanding and the jerkface it made me seem like.

He was amazing and incredibly kind, despite my babbling insistence that I misunderstood. He said he felt that I wasn’t satisfied with the cover and asked for suggestions. I was floored. I didn’t think that was an option after I turned in my Cover Art Request form. I asked two friends and they helped slap me into reality. I gave some suggestions, he took them, and he gave me back the cover art I currently am in love with.

Winter's Trial

I hope it all seemed like a noob, fretful, insecure, green writer with a little strength (as that was the case), but even if I came off as the biggest, most high maintenance ass-face on the planet, everyone was professional, kind, and absolutely wonderful. I have learned a great deal, especially about this particular publisher, and for the future books in the series I will know what to do. And, when I decide to branch out, I will take with me a treasure trove of knowledge.

And I can’t thank everyone enough for putting up with me. Hopefully I wasn’t as bad as all that.

Winter’s Trial excerpt

Well, here is a snippet from my upcoming novel, Winter’s Trial by Darren Endymion, released through Torquere on August 21st. I suppose I’m late in the marketing game, but as discussed previously, I am seriously terrible at that. This is the scene where my two protagonists, Cristiano and Austin meet for the first time. As werewolf True Mates (soul mates, more than the typical Chosen Mates, divinely linked), their meeting is something strong and life altering.

Well, the excerpt is long enough (and the indents refused to work consistently), so here it goes (hope you like it):

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

As the official claimed that he had business to attend to, and the other members of the local architectural firm had left as well, Cris continued to talk with Mrs. Hill. She led him back to the front desk, leveling with him about what she wanted and what she could spend.

They were laughing together in quiet library whispers when Mrs. Hill raised her hand and positively beamed as Cris heard the library's glass doors open behind him.

Cris' senses exploded.

 ***

      Austin got out of his car and shut the door, unable to stop the nervous growling in his stomach. He wasn't hungry, but he was… excited? Nervous? Yes, both. But more. His insides seemed to be boiling with anticipation. He seemed alive, the pale white of the world outside seemed too bright, too full of life.

He giggled and peered through the glass door to the library, noting Mrs. Hill talking to a tall, broad-shouldered man with dark skin and neat, slicked back ebony hair. She waved at Austin and he raised a hand to wave at her as he pushed open the door.

Then his world came together with an almost audible click.

***

      Austin Holcomb's nostrils flared, the hair on the back of his neck stood up, and his eyes shifted back and forth from lupine to human.

Cristiano Raposo winced as if in pain, his hands clenching into fists. He leaned forward and turned, as though he had been hit in the stomach.

Their senses reached out, like gentle, smoky hands, and came together in a sweep of ecstasy, pleasure, and longing. They knew each other in that moment. Part of each of them knew it before their minds knew that they had come together. Their souls meshed from across a barren library lobby, and the True Mates looked into each other's eyes for the first time.

Austin looked up and gasped. There before him stood a gorgeous man, 6'2", dark black hair, deep brown eyes, thick red lips, a slight goatee, broad through the chest and trim in the waist. The light blue sweater he wore dipped down into a V neck that showed just the barest bit of short chest hair and was pulled tight around a body that made Austin suck in his breath.

Cristiano gazed into green eyes that were a deep, gorgeous shade of emerald. When he could look away for even a second from those eyes that Called him even now, even this close, he gasped. His mate was beautiful. He was 5'8", his buzzed brownish red hair stood out in perfect contrast to pale, smooth skin. His lips were not as full as Cris' but they were shaped in a downward bow, as though just managing to suppress impish thoughts and comments.

They felt the other in a way they never would again, though they would often come close. They knew each other. Memories and quirks and feelings shuttled from one to the other in a swell of empathy and desire and need. They became one being, their thoughts and memories whirling across the small space between them. No longer separate people but one throbbing soul, an aching hole between them that only closeness and the weighty task of getting to know each other could fill.

Cris thought about kissing those lips and stroking the delicate, pale face, even as Austin thought how it would feel to press up against this man's chest, to feel those powerful arms around him, stroking the small of his back.

And there was more. Their memories flashed out at each other in globs of empathy, visions of things past, like one being thinking of how it came to that place, how it suddenly became whole. Memories of…

      …summers in Brazil, sunning on the beach, digging his feet into the sand, thinking of the time when he would meet his True Mate…

      …jumping through the snow in a Minnesota winter with the Matriarch and the Alpha, young and just his third time as a wolf, thinking that the only thing that could be better would be to have his True Mate at his side. Before things got bad…

      …watching his video, loaded into his suitcase back at the hotel even now, and hoping his mate would be fair and have blond or auburn hair. Looking at his own dark hair, dark features and wondering what his skin would look like next to his mate's…

Time and space were meaningless as shards of memory stabbed and shone and healed. Things sped up, memories flashing across the void in rapid succession, like twinkling flecks of light in the dark, running over and through each other, separate, confusing, and perfect.

But there were horrors, too.

      …broken leg in the jungle before he had Changed…

      …tumble from a rooftop before he had Changed and been banished…

      …fight with his brother, the worst ever, and the split lip he had given him, the smell of blood, and the instant remorse…

      …wandering through the snow, weeping, alone, frightened, and betrayed…

      …leaving his father, his mother, his pack, leaving everything for a job and for the reality that lay behind it, but most of all leaving his younger brother, his best friend, and how much he missed him already…

      …his mother and father turning away from him, scared hurt in her eyes, and scorn in his, the rocks thrown by his former friends, the growl coming from deep in the throats of those he had once cared for…

And then there was greatness.

      …becoming a lab technician, testing his theories about the wolf blood, about the healing properties of it, and being right…

      …getting accepted to school, passing the tests, getting his architect license…

       …the love of the Matriarch, the slight support of the Alpha, and the acceptance of a small child…

       …the Sage and his Alpha and his brother, all wishing and…

      …not comparing to what he had…

      …knowing that his life had led up to…

Now.

Bloat

I'm really sick of being wrong. Re: my upcoming novel (duh, what else do I talk about these days?)

My previous assertion that 145,000 words would end up being about 360 pages was both true and false. In a Word document with Times New Roman font at size 12, with double spaces between paragraphs, that's exactly what it is.

Poured into a .pdf file, 360 pages somehow turns into a mammoth 527 pages. This behemoth has been puffed out to the actual size it will be when put on sale -- I just confirmed with my editor.

Basically this. This man has clearly gone insane with the unmitigated size of my novel.

If I had any strength left, I would do my normal wailing that it isn't my fault. I think I'm over that now. It is what it is. I love it and I'm not ashamed anymore (though this may sound suspiciously like self-justification).

Going over it, the font is unbelievably huge. Being near-sighted, in the dark, and dangling upside down, one could still read this monster from across the room. During a severe earthquake. With one eye closed. I wouldn't be surprised if I were to see the dotted lines across the words, like it was given to a kindergartner to knuckle out.

One whole page of my novel. (Different text, of course. Let's not be silly).

It's bloated, as though someone threw an old dictionary into a puddle of water to watch it swell like some magical dinosaur terror-sponge.

Dino_Spongers

Before and After.

My first thought was that someone is going to see the page count and flee immediately. There's nothing I can do about that, or my publisher's choice of font. Not a single word is different just because it has been poured into a .pdf file. It's still good, despite it's size. Or perhaps because of it. Luckily, it will be in eBook format first and Kindles (and other eReaders) have this handy feature to adjust the font.

There's no need to fret, mainly because there's nothing I can do about it now. It's long, but not the bloated monstrosity it will seem. I hope people will give it a chance.

When am I a Writer?

While watching Hemlock Grove recently, I had an epiphany of sorts that bewilders me. I don’t think I see myself as a writer.

One of the characters in Hemlock Grove—I believe she’s about 15—tells everyone who cares (and many who don’t) that she is a novelist and that it’s important for her to understand people’s motivations. She says this right before asking a series of questions which are both obnoxious and insightful.

I want to slap that heifer bald-headed.

My knee-jerk reaction was to think, “Wench, you haven’t written shit. You’re no more a novelist than my intestinal leavings.”

I see this online, too. On dating profiles (gay ones, specifically, I imagine), people will say they are writers (or dancers, or models, or *yaaaaawn*). My first reaction in the modeling example, is to recall a Scott Thompson quote from Kids in the Hall. “’Modeling’ can mean a lot of things.” Ron Jeremy can be considered a model. William Hung could consider himself a singer. Stephenie Meyer, gods help us, can be considered a writer. That drunken sow you last saw galumphing around in the club also considers herself a part-time dancer.

My thought process on this disturbs me, so I had to ask myself: Is success the measure of what you feel in your heart? My mental answer was immediate: Hell no!

Then why this feeling about my status as a writer (or others')? Am I railing against perceived pretense? I don’t know. I am certain what I think means nothing to anyone but me, so I keep my mouth shut. (Until this entry, I suppose.)

I have always felt this way. It’s not that this haughty, jerkface attitude started when I got the acceptance for my novel. I love writing. I love reading what I write for myself (as most everything I write starts out), my first novel will be published on August 21st, 2013, and I have written little stories and snippets my whole life. Yet, I have never truly considered myself a writer. Not enough to proclaim myself so. Am I being too hard on myself, and therefore on others? I think it’s defining myself as a writer that kills my confidence.

Maybe that’s it. Maybe I’m shy and (apparently) stupid. It’s not fair of me to judge others or myself against a prejudice I don’t even understand. What makes a writer? Anyone who loves to do it and does it, I guess.

Logically, that makes sense to me, but I don’t know when I will personally consider myself a writer. My editor recently outlined the few remaining steps I have before the fateful release day. She said something like, "And then you can call yourself an author!" But I don't feel it. I don't feel like it's on the horizon, either.

When will I feel it? When I am published? When I have ten books under my (fake) name? If I break into the mainstream? If I am ever fortunate enough to make a living off of my writing? If I ever manage to get critical acclaim?

I still don’t know.

What, really, makes a writer? And, ultimately, does it really matter if you’re doing what you love?

The Cover and Back of the Book Blurb

So, what the hell have I been babbling about all this time? What’s the freakin’ book about already? Well, here’s the synopsis/blurb that will go up on sites and will eventually be on the back of the book (if/when it goes to actual, physical print). Hope you like it.  

The blurb:

Cursed to be a Three Form, blessed to be a True Mate, Austin's life is a nightmare. He is hated and bullied by his pack, because under his timid exterior lies the strength and savagery of a Hybrid werewolf. Only the thoughts of his True Mate, and his desperate desire to escape his pack, sustain him through the daily abuse.

When Cristiano finds Austin, things go from bad to worse. The True Mates must keep their connection a secret as Cris is inducted into a conspiracy for rebellion. The pack's trust in Cris grows, even as their loathing for Austin spirals into escalated violence. Soon Cris and Austin are drawn into a battle for control over Austin’s pack. Both sides will gladly exploit Austin -- his strength, the venom in his claws and bite, and his inability to leave the pack.

However, though Austin is both gentle and savage, more than anything he is vulnerable. He and Cris have one last chance at getting away and finding a new pack to take them in. Because unless he and Cris can get out, neither of them is likely to survive the coming storm.

The cover:

I got this a while ago and I’m still not over it. The cover artist, Brandon Clay (his cover art here: http://www.bsclay.com/covers/), was very open to what I wanted and incredibly nice and accommodating. I was probably annoying and demanding, but in the end I think the cover is great (I even got to pick out the boys).

 

Winter's Trial

 

I hope everyone else likes it, too.