My debut novel “Cemetery Plot” came out two days ago, and I’ve been obsessively checking its sales ranking on Amazon. Thank you to all who have contributed to making it number 75,000 in the website’s bestseller charts. Just kidding, though I do have to say that the Amazon rankings do instill a sense of humility, which, for a writer, is a hard thing to come by. After all, when you spend all your time inventing worlds, you tend to get an inflated sense of your own value.
Being new to the writer’s chair, at least as far as publication goes, I thought I would write some words of encouragement to other struggling writers out there. I was interviewing a fairly successful novelist once, and he said some things that really stuck with me.
One: he said you have to write every day. That’s something I agree with completely. I spent years stuck in a rut of writing, then not writing, then writing, then not writing, over and over again until I had quit 100 times and restarted 1000, if that proportion is even possible. It wasn’t until I resolved to write every single day, that I managed to get somewhere. So, write every day.
Two: If you don’t have to write, don’t write. It’s not worth it. You get hardly any recognition, it’s hard, rejection is common and it’s hard. Did I say that already? The only reason you should continue to write is if you have to. That is, if there is a part of you that just won’t let you go,
continuously berates, orders and cajoles you to continue down the literary path. Only then should you do it. By the way, I might be wrong, but I believe it was the novelist Mark Van Name who told me that.
Finally, if you want to write, read. It’s the only way I learn. That and talking. I’m better with dialogue the more I try to represent the cadence of normal speech, and I’m a better writer the more I take stock of how other writers practice their craft.
So, that’s my advice. Keep in mind that I only have the one book published and I don’t have a literary agent or anything, so it’s possible that you shouldn’t listen to a word I say. In fact, I would encourage it.
Now, a little about my novel.
Now, a little about my novel.
For those of you who don’t know, “Cemetery Plot” is a sort of tongue-in-cheek look at the zombie apocalypse. It’s actually two intertwined stories. One follows a young, depressed woman who takes part in a satanic ritual. She thinks it’s going to turn her into one of the living dead, but instead she wakes up years later, all too human.
The second story is set in the future of that world, one where a zombie apocalypse has taken place. A Living Dead Medium runs around town trying to con people who have lost loved ones, but when a couple cons him, he finds himself mixed up in an adventure that could decide the fate of the world.
The two storylines may seem unrelated at first, but I assure you they are inextricably connected.
I enjoyed writing the novel. It was my first complete foray into the National Novel Writing month fray, almost exactly a year ago. That turned out so well, that I think I’ll do it again this year.
I hope that you’ll buy, read and enjoy “Cemetery Plot.” Whether you love it or hate it, I hope you’ll leave a review on Amazon. And lastly, I hope you will check out all the other great authors at Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly publishing.
Vanessa Hawthorne is a zombie. . .at least that was the plan. Miserable with her life, she agreed to participate in a fatal ritual that would transform her into one of the Living Dead. Instead, she wakes up decades later alive, unaged and living in a world overrun with graveyards.
But when a real estate tycoon finds out about Vanessa, he will stop at nothing to discover how she cheated death. He hopes that this knowledge will give him the power to resurrect the dead. The money he stands to make is incalculable. And he is willing to do whatever it takes — kidnapping, assault and even murder — to get the job done. Luckily for Vanessa, she has Mark Nimocks and his friend Emily to protect her. . . but at what costs?
A zombie apocalypse is in the works, and it will take a medium from the future to find a way to undo the end of the world. But can he actually help change the past? Or is the world fated to be destroyed no matter what?
“Hi. My name is Nathan Mickels. I guess I could tell you about the end of the world, and being one of the last remaining humans on earth or some of that apocalyptic crap. But the truth is that the world hasn’t changed much since it ended. Sure, the dead are walking and people are dying. But there’s still money to be made.
“Take me for instance. I specialize in a particular trade. You see, these Living Dead, they’re not the brightest creatures. Any mother hoping that her little Annie was going to come back and sit at her knee had a rude awakening. Little Annie was much more likely to bite her and turn her into a zombie than give her a hug.
“Nevertheless, people find out that the dead are coming back to life, and they just got to see. That’s where I come in. It’s my job to hunt down the Living Dead. Specific ones. If your uncle Andrew died last year, you might hire me to find him and bring him to you. Of course, if you were smart, you already checked out the graveyard. You probably only come to me if you find a hole where your uncle should have been.
“So out I go, and I track down your uncle. But what good is he going to be to you as a grunting hulk of shit for brains? None, that’s what. I have a unique talent that I get paid for. I’m kind of like what people used to think mediums were like. You know, they figured they could talk to the dead and all that crap. Well, I can talk to the dead. It takes some doing and some concentration, but leave me alone with a walker for a good six hours, and I can start getting something intelligible out of them.
“Mind you, it’s not what you’d think of as intelligible, but it’s a language of sorts. Some kind of guttural, grunting and wheezing that resolves itself into meaning in my head. Well, you don’t believe me? Ask me anything? How old was Uncle Andrew when he lost his virginity? What did he really do to lose that sales job? Was he really just being friendly with his niece that time you caught them together in the bedroom? (Here’s a hint. No. You ought to kill that bastard all over again.)
“Anyway. That’s me. The Living Dead medium.”