Journey of the Damned is a giant mass of scenes, notes, and chapters all struggling to fuse into a cohesive unit that can be called a novel. So far it’s becoming larger than Journey through Darkness in content because there is so much to explore in the realm of ancient Egyptian and Nubian mythology. There are gods and mythical creatures I’ve been looking forward to writing about that are introduced into this novel and characters that have surprised me with their complexity.
This month I am working out the final chapters and resolving plots from Book I. With so many characters in constant competition for my attention, I am brainstorming possible spin offs and short stories to pacify the relentless characters that must have their own tale. So far there has only been one prequel short story, The Everliving Akh. It was going to be published in an anthology but I plan to add it as a bonus story to Journey of the Damned.
No spoilers in this post but as we get closer to publication I may post some excerpts or deleted scenes… so it’s time to get caught up. 2014 is the year of The Rising!
I’ve just completed a short story for the Genesis II An Anthology of Black Science Fiction to be published later this summer, so I will update with a blog to share the details of where to purchase and read excerpts.
This is a short story prequel to Journey through Darkness: Book I of the Journey Saga and the genre is fantasy/horror. It tells the story of Mhonsu, Zarlyn, and their son Tjenna before they became soul-stealing concubus. Be on the look out for it!
The other day I was reading an article on the late Michael Crichton, one of my favorite authors, and it had said that he’d left behind a detailed outline and partial manuscript that was being used to complete the rest of the novel “Micro,” a science fiction novel. On his website it said:
“Crichton was well into the writing of the book when he died in November 2008, leaving behind the first third of the manuscript, an outline, and a well-defined cast of characters. He also left a bibliography of close to 100 books and DVDs, as well as detailed notes and research.”
I’m thinking…100 books for research? Wow! Then I turned around to look at all the bookcases cluttering my living room and realized that 100 books to research a project isn’t so unusual after all. I think I’ve topped that number over the years for the Journey Saga. I am most impressed with how organized Crichton was. He left behind enough information for someone else to pick up where he left off. How many authors can take pride in that? I’ve got the notes and outlines, but if something happened to me I doubt that someone could make heads or tails out of my chaotic mess.
First of all, I don’t have a bibliography list of books I’ve read over the past 15 years and I couldn’t remember every book on elephants, crocodiles, temples, mythology, etc. that I’ve read for research. Some of my books have fallen apart and are missing pages. A few websites that I’ve used no longer exist. How would I begin to start the process of organizing my project so that the saga could continue long after I’m gone? Last year when I began rewriting Journey of the Damned I began using novel writing software which has helped me organize most of my notes and outlines, but I still have crates full of journals that I’ve used to write Books 3-9 that I have yet to convert into digital format.
One thing that I’ve noticed about Michael Crichton and other authors like him that have written over 20 novels or more is how with each book they seem to master their techniques. Writing seems to become easier and it’s as if they struggle far less than the rest of us. I can only strive to achieve that kind of success, and I don’t mean the financial kind…even though that would be nice! I’m talking about obtaining the level of skill where writing is easier and less of a struggle because you’ve found your own voice and discovered your own style.
So one of my goals this year is to become more organized…maybe not the way that Crichton was. But this is an important goal for me because I want to make sure that I leave behind a blueprint for my children should they decide to continue the saga after I’m gone. And also because I believe that order will help me master my own technique.
What is your personal goal as a writer?
The Official Site of Michael Crichton
For some writers it may take them their entire lives to finish a book. And publishing is a different story entirely. I discovered that writing is the easy part, it’s the part that comes as naturally to me as breathing…when I have the time to write that is. Writing is as simple as picking up a journal or jotting a few words down on a computer. The hard part is selling, advertising, and promoting the finished product. As a writer you don’t get to take a break from life. It marches on with or without your consent. I’m the mother of a toddler with a baby on the way, I work forty hours a week, and go to school part time so I honestly do not have a lot of time in a day to worry about selling my book. It’s a harsh reality, but one I have accepted a long time ago, because I understand that my choices in life probably mean I will never become a famous author. I cannot commit to a hectic schedule of book signings and daily promotion. Fortunately, I have received a lot of support from local groups of people that are excited about the Journey Saga and what it could bring to the genre of speculative fiction and dark fantasy. In the future I hope that I will have more time to participate in promotional activities to share my vision for the saga, but right now I am realistic …yet still optimistic.
As far as updates, I am glad to report that Journey through Darkness is now available for Borders as a paperback and ebook for their Kobo ereader. Amazon, Sony, and Barnes and Nobles already carry the title in both formats. The soundtrack for the novel, Darkness Before the Light, is free to listen to at Amarna West Publications and Kandake Soul Music Productions. I am still working on Journey of the Damned, the second book of the Saga but I have a long way to go. My goal is to have the novel released by September of 2011 and to begin producing an instrumental soundtrack for the novel but I haven’t started on that yet.
Okay, so Journey through Darkness is published and making its way through various distribution channels, so what now? How do you go from new author to established author? That is the challenge I now face as I learn the strategy of marketing and identifying my target audience.
The first step is usually a press release campaign where the author gets the word out about a book through magazines, newspapers, radio stations, etc. Then you struggle relentlessly to find people to review your book so that it begins to earn some credibility. And of course the obvious strategy is utilizing social networking sites where you must learn how to advertise your book without making a complete nuisance of yourself. Unfortunately, I do not have the finances or resources to try out all of these techniques. I do not have a lot of time during the day to promote my book while learning my new job. So I have had to use different and inexpensive tactics that I hope will work.
I am recruiting volunteers to pass out fliers and cards on my behalf. I’m also networking with other authors to trade website links and advertisements. Face-to-face contact seems to be a must but sales is not my area of expertise. I am pretty quiet, so making a lot of noise to get people’s attention about the book is not really my style. My mother and my husband help me out with that by spreading the word about the book. They end up getting the sales for me which is great.
Fortunately, Synchronized Chaos Magazine was nice enough to take a chance on a newcomer by writing a very nice piece on Journey through Darkness which can be found on my homepage “Africa’s Answer to the Odyssey and the Kalevala: Review of Kandake Brockington’s Journey through Darkness” www.journeysaga.com. I am working on obtaining more book reviews in the near future and some local libary visits this Fall.
Synchronized Chaos Magazine
It has been perhaps a month or so since my last entry and that was because of all the editing and setbacks involved in the publication process for Journey through Darkness. But finally all of that hard work as paid off and the novel is complete and available in ebook and paperback edition.
I am excited but overwhelmed. When I began this process in 2008 I thought it would be much easier than it has been. I figured I would spend a few months getting the word out and by the time publication was complete, I could take a little break and wait for the sales to happen. But I am already running into a few problems. My inventory won’t be stocked until mid-summer due to the processing time of the publisher. Amazon.com has the wrong description for my book in their marketplace. And currently I am unable to track any sales through the publisher so I have no idea if the book is selling or not.
The strangest thing about this experience has been the reception of the book. I am getting mixed results from family and friends. Ironically, I have received more encouragment and support from strangers than from people I have known for years. But I can’t let that get me down or discourage me. I have accomplished a lifelong dream in getting published. As my husband so often reminds me, people will come around after they discover the book is selling.
Journey through Darkness available in ebook and paperback