I sincerely apologize. I knew I hadn’t posted anything in a while but damn I haven’t posted anything this year so far! Thankfully I finally have some good news to share so without further ado…
It’s been a little bit of a slow year for me so far though it wasn’t supposed to be, Thanks Covid! I’m sure no one noticed but my debut novel, Piece It All Back Together, was supposed to be unleashed on the world this past Spring, somewhere around March or April, but then came Covid to shut down the world. I went from being excited about seeing my first book released to fearing for the lives of myself and those close to me. I still have that fear since Covid is still very much with us and on the rise where I currently reside (near Omaha, Nebraska). Due to that Amazon appropriately made some things priorities and others very much not, apparently books are not essential at a time when they probably should be… but I digress. I expected to celebrate and maybe even make it to a horror convention with my own book to promote, obviously that isn’t going to happen. However, amidst the true life horror we’re now all living everyday, my little slice of horror will be coming soon! I don’t have an exact release date yet but I have been assured that Piece It All Back Together will be hitting bookshelves this Fall!!!
It was about a year ago I wrote a post about the dreaded “Waiting Game” that we writers, and most artists, have to play. So let me give you a little background on my debut novel since it is very much a lesson in playing the waiting game. In October 2015 Dark Chapter Press, run by my old friend Jack Rollins, decided to run a contest as a twist on the yearly NaNoWriMo competition (every November has become National Novel Writing Month – NaNoWriMo). DCP gave us writers 60 days to write a novel, instead of the traditional 30 days of November. It took me quite some time to come up with an idea I liked and then I needed to find the time. So I procrastinated because what else would I do? So there I was in December 2015 with two weeks left and only about a paragraph written. It was crunch time and luckily for me I actually work well under pressure. Still I found myself with about 30 hours left and only a little over half a novel written. I had two choices, give up or bust ass and see what I could do. I did need a little sleep but when I woke up I made my coffee and got to work. That final 24 hour stretch was a killer. I sat and I wrote then wrote some more then took about a one hour break to have some dinner and breathe. Then I went back to work writing with desperate fervor. I wrote all night finally reaching the end around 6 or 7 in the morning. In the end I had written for about 21 or 22 hours straight and set a personal record for one day’s writing that I do not plan to ever beat – I had written just under 20,000 words or essentially 1,000 words/hour which to you non-writers is what might be called a FUCKTON! I had no time or energy to proofread it so I quickly sent it into DCP then passed out. That was how the first draft of Piece It All Back Together came into being.
After a couple months of judging that draft was named a finalist and in June of 2016 it was announced as the winner. It was a hollow victory for me though because I knew it was not my best work due to how quickly I had to write it and my good friend/fellow writer Grant Skelton had to pull his name out as he was notified that his novel was going to be published by another publisher. I think he was going to be the winner with his book The Man With The Red Tie, a book that proudly sits on my bookshelf. So I won but I didn’t really feel like a winner and my book wasn’t going to be published at the time. Eventually that led into a low point of my life that I don’t need to go into here. I knew Piece It All Back Together needed a lot of work and I didn’t feel I was a good enough writer to do it at the time. In the meantime I moved from Arizona back to New York. I needed to refocus so PIABT stayed safely tucked away while I wrote a few new things that were immediately accepted which started an incredible run of acceptances for me without any rejections. Then I polished my novella, Essence Asunder, and sent it to Hellbound Books and they agreed to publish it. That was another new milestone, my first solo published story! Around that same time I entered the Next Great Horror Writer contest whose grand prize was a book contract! It was a grueling contest and while I didn’t win I certainly learned a lot. I was now ready to get back to work on Piece It All Back Together.
It was now January 2018, two years since I had finished the first 63,000 word draft. The first thing I did was re-read it while shaking my head about every 30 seconds over how bad it was. My skills had vastly improved since that first draft. I also knew I had left out a lot of potential story simply due to the time crunch I had been under. Now, I had no time table at all which is good but also kind of a bad thing for me. I do work well under pressure and the only real pressure for me as a writer is a deadline and I didn’t have one. Over the course of 3 months I spent every single day working on the second draft of my novel. I proofread and edited all the parts I had already written then added what I felt it needed to be a complete story. I added a brand new opening. I added a whole subplot that wasn’t in the first draft. I added numerous characters and, of course, a completely new [better] ending. In the process my novel expanded from the slim, barely even a novel, of 63k words to a handful of a book at over 140k words… or to put it in real world terms, about a 450-ish page book. The final product may be a little more once it’s fully formatted but that’s more or less correct. Unfortunately, the journey wasn’t over yet.
So my book was complete, something innumerable writers have achieved but then usually comes the hard part… playing the “Waiting Game” again for a publisher. This is where I differ, happily, from most writers I know. I had two publishers asking to publish it and neither one had read it or even knew what it was about! I had worked with both previously so they knew my work and knew they liked what I did. In the end I went with the publisher that asked first as both offers were pretty much identical. Now came the “hard” work – editing. It may or may not be like this for other writers but for me the writing actually comes pretty easy. Once I set my mind on an idea the writing is the fun and easy part – that isn’t to say I think everything I write is great, just that I don’t have a problem with the writing of it. I have done a lot of editing, both for myself and for others, but, for me, it is the hard grueling (BORING!) part of the process. I tend to be a bit of a perfectionist so I hate even a single misspelling or missed coma, etc. This makes my editing a slow process that I honestly don’t enjoy very much. I can take criticism, so that’s no problem, but where I do run into problems is with every editor having their own personal pet peeves that may or may not have anything to do with something being written incorrectly. English is a wonderful language but when it comes to grammar and sentence structure there is a ton of room for someone’s personal taste to come into play. I edit to my standard and conforming to someone else’s can be frustrating to say the least. Thankfully all that is done and over (…on this novel) but that process took forever. To put that in perspective, I spent approximately 3 months writing but over a year editing. Once I finally finished I faced another “waiting game.”
Information is power or so “they” say. When I completed all the changes my editor had asked me to do, I hadn’t heard from her for months. I wasn’t really concerned though it was odd. I sent off the fully edited manuscript and… nothing. I waited two weeks without any word whatsoever. I assumed the publisher was no longer interested and since I hadn’t actually signed a contract, I only had a verbal agreement, I contacted the other publisher who had expressed interest. That publisher is Hellbound Books Publishing who jumped at the opportunity to publish Piece It All Back Together. I later learned that what “they” say about assuming is actually true. The first publisher hadn’t actually lost interest but the editor I was “working with” was no longer with the company, however, somebody should have let me know that. So finally a book that has literally been nearly 5 years in the making will see the light of day before the end of this year. The pandemic may have delayed it but nothing can stop it! MY BOOK IS COMING!!!!
In the coming weeks I will be able to reveal the real cover – I’m not hiding anything, I haven’t seen it yet either – and probably the actual release date at the same time. Once that is out of the way I will probably release a short excerpt or two to whet your appetites. I can tell you a couple things: 1) I initially intended for this book to be a complete stand-alone novel but in the course of writing it I found the main character too cool to just kill off so you may see her again in the future and 2) While Piece It All Back Together is not really a traditional horror story it contains many horror elements including the most disgusting scene I’ve ever released to date – the point is to make you vomit but not be able to stop reading. Why? Because I’m evil and that’s what I do! Stay tuned for more updates and hopefully a pre-order link very soon! Until then, as always…
Hopefully that wasn't too boring for you. If you'd like a brief synopsis of the novel you can check that out on my ABOUT page but I will post more on the novel as we get closer to its release!! Any questions/comments? Feel free to ask away in the comments below, ask me in person or drop me an email (feindgottes666 [at] gmail [dot] com)
Covid-19 Free since March-ish 2020. Stay safe out there folks!