Tuesday, May 6, 2014

SOMETIMES I GET ASKED STUFF… PART 20


Talking books at the con
I can't believe this is the 20th installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... That just amazes me. Thanks to all who take the time to send in their questions and for all of you who take the time to read my ramblings. It is much appreciated.

However, for those who are new here... one of the perks of being a writer is getting to meet some of the most interesting people. Whether it is at conventions, store signings, through the Earth Station One podcast, writer’s groups, on social media, and sometimes just from people I run into on when I venture out of the cave I call my office, and they have questions. Sometimes they are about writing or what I’m working on. Other times they’re out of left field. I thought it would be interesting to share some of them along with a few answers. Regardless of where they come from, here are a few of the latest.

You can check out all of the past installments of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff... here.

Q: Writers live with it, we tolerate it, we fight back about it, and we wallow because of it. Today's question is ... How do you deal with rejection?

Rejection comes with the job. The easy answer is to say that you learn to live with it, don’t let it bother you, and you move on. While there is some truth in that, I find that every rejection stings just a little bit. No one likes to be told that their story isn’t the right fit. Doesn’t mean your story is bad, just that it wasn’t chosen. The best advice is to take the sting, try not to let it get you too down, and keep on writing.

Easier said than done, I know.

Q: Your Favorite Arnold Schwarzenegger Movie?

I'll have to give it to Terminator (I count 1 and 2 as one movie) with Predator a close second and True Lies in third.

Q: I actually find myself with time and desire to write but no real project. Know anyone lookin for stuff? Non Pulp. I am confounded as to how to proceed. create a short and shop it? Find a publisher and cater? Which do you most do?

If you don't have anything specific that you're wanting to work on, I would search for publishers with open calls. There are several places to find this information. There are several Facebook groups where open calls are listed as well as websites like Duotrope (although, I don't think you can access it for free anymore). Another way to go is Google (or Bing, if you prefer) publisher submission guides and check out publishers that way. Find a publisher that puts out the type of work you're interested in writing and see what they're looking for. There are also many publishers and editors on social media. When all else fails, drop them a message and ask if they are looking for writers or stories.

The Thing by Mark Maddox
A good resource is Preditors and Editors. It never hurts to check out publishers there first. www.pred-ed.com. Better safe than sorry.

I used to see what open calls for submissions were out there and write a story to fit that, send it in, and hope for the best. Sometimes you get lucky. These days, I'm not doing as much of that because my schedule is pretty full and I have been fortunate enough to have editors come to me with requests for stories, which is pretty cool.

Good luck with your story.

Q: Your Favorite John Carpenter Movie?

The Thing. Followed closely by Big Trouble in Little China, Escape From New York, and Halloween.

Q: Yes, we're writers, but we're also moms and dad's, employees and workers, caregivers and pet lovers. We have a lot to do! So, as a writer, how would you describe a HIGHLY PRODUCTIVE WRITING DAY?

For me, I shoot for a few thousand words a day. I don’t always hit it, but that’s the goal. Unless I’m writing comic scripts or a screenplay then I concentrate on the number of pages produced. Writing is only part of the job though. I set aside a little time for marketing/PR, correspondence, social media, and any assorted odds and ends that show up without notice like edits, galley proofs, interview requests, art/covers to proof, things like that. A highly productive day for me means I moved ahead and accomplished something from this list.

Q: Your Favorite John Cusack Movie?

Grosse Pointe Blank.

Q: I love Mondays! We get to start with a whole weekend's worth of great ideas in our heads. How do you start your writing workweek? Do you do anything different than the rest of the week?

My Monday writing routine is no different from my Friday writing routine. As a fulltime, stay at home writer, I try to write every day. The downside is that sometimes I forget what day of the week it actually is, which can cause me issues.

Q: When was the last time an idea for a book was so spectacular that you actually stopped writing the manuscript you were working on to write the new book?

I haven’t been able to do that since I started writing against deadlines for publishers, but only because I can’t. Before that, it happened from time to time. A great idea can really kickstart the ol’ muse. Sometimes I miss the freedom of being able to write whatever story I happen to be in the mood for that day.

When new ideas happen, I generally jot down some notes that I can read later.

Q: What’s your favorite search engine for quick research or fact checks? Do you end up taking any mental tangents or do you stay on topic with a search?

Usually Google or Bing. I usually stay on target, but sometimes there’s a link that’s just too intriguing to ignore and I head off on that tangent. Now, if I end up on Youtube, that’s a whole other story… and afternoon wasted.

Q: Writers: Do you wind up with tons of notebooks and stacks of paper for whatever you're working on? I'm trying to keep my story contained in one notebook, but I might have to start expanding. I'm curious how other writers keep their material organized so they can find what they need.

I used to, but not so much anymore. Now I shoot it off in an email. There are rare occasions when I write in a notebook, usually if I get an idea at a convention, signing, or somewhere that getting on-line is not easy or is disrupting.

Q: Do you consider your taste in music to be geeky?

Not really. At least I don’t think so. I’m not exactly sure what geeky music means.

Q: Why did you start writing?

As a kid, I wanted to be a comic book artist. I started writing so I would have something to draw. The more stories I wrote, the more fun I had coming up with characters and stories and eventually the art fell away and I focused on writing.

My less than serious answer to this question is that I did it for the money, which, considering how empty my bank account stays, is pretty darn funny. I need to find new ways to get folks buying books. Any ideas?

Q: Do you write because you enjoy the act of writing or do you write to 'have written'? Why?

A little of both, actually. I love to write and I like it that there are books out there with my name on them. I started writing because I loved it. I still do, although these days, writing is also a job for me so I have to go at it as a job. By that, I mean that I have deadlines, contracts, and obligations that I have to meet. Sometimes I have to set aside the personal project I’m in the mood to work on so I can finish up a deadline. Before I started writing professionally, I worked on projects as the muse hit me. That’s not always an option these days.

Seeing someone read and
enjoy something I wrote is
an amazing feeling.
Q: What do you hope to accomplish in your body of written work?

In the long run, I hope to have entertained readers and maybe create a character or two that continues on long after I’ve left this earth. In the short run, entertaining readers is still important, but I also have to pay bills like everyone else and I love it when writing allows me to pay them.

Q: What is a word or phrase you've noticed yourself overusing in your work-in-progress?

I often use this phrase when characters are fighting and I have one character tackle the other over a table or something. “They crashed to the floor in a tangle of arms and legs.” I’m conscious of it so I change it when I can so I don’t use it over and over.

"Just" is a word I'm guilty of using often.

Q: How would you describe yourself using one word.

Tired.

I’ve been working a lot lately and it was the first word that came to mind.

Q: How would you categorize your books?

I do a little bit of everything, depending on what publisher has hired me. I write a fair amount of pulpy action/adventures, modern day suspense/thrillers, a little sci fi, super-heroes, crime, media tie-ins, horror, and more.

Q: Of all the characters you've ever created, which one is your all time favorite and why?

WOW. That’s a tough one. It’s like picking a favorite child. The first one that comes to mind is a character named Barney Bishop.

Barney Bishop was created as a secondary character in my first Domino Lady story. I named him after a friend of mine, sort of, and with his permission, of course. In “Target: Domino Lady”, set in the early 1930’s, he’s a rookie cop. Another writer in the same anthology, Ron Fortier, liked the character and asked if he could use him. I agreed so Bishop appears in two stories in Domino Lady: Sex As A Weapon.

Later, when I needed a detective in my story “Homefront” for Lance Star: Sky Ranger Vol. 2, set in 1941, I decided that it would be a great time to revisit Barney Bishop.

Earlier this year, I wrote Bishop again. He will appear in my upcoming Domino Lady novel, “Money Shot”, set again in the 1930’s. More on that later.

He almost showed up in The Ruby Files Vol. 1, but the timeline didn’t work out.

Will Barney Bishop appear again? Who knows?

Q: What's your favorite comic book cover?

This is one of those answers that will change depending on when you ask, but one that always make the short list is Bat Lash #2 by Nick Cardy. There's just
something about that cover that wows me every time I see it.

Q: Is There a Special Thrill in Writing Thrillers?

I think there is a special thrill in writing thrillers that’s similar to the thrill of reading a thriller novel or watching a thriller movie. AS I’m putting the pieces together in writing my thrillers, I do get that edge of my seat feeling at times. When that happens, I feel like I’m on the right track with the story.

Q: What's your favorite TV theme song?

Magnum p.i.



Evil Ways/Deadly Games!
Sommersville PD murder board
Q: Do you prefer writing or reading novels that are written in a local or international setting?

As a reader, I don't have a preference. As long as the setting is believable and I can see it in my imagination, then I'm good to go.

As a writer, I want to get the details right as much as possible. That can limit some of the locations I write about, but what it usually means is it’s time to do some research. I’ve written many stories that take place in places I’ve never been. The internet can help with photos, videos, and websites about places.

And then, sometimes, you just make stuff up.  Ha! Ha!

Q: Do you decorate your room with props and stuff to inspire your fiction writing?

Not really. My office is tiny so there’s not much room for that sort of thing. I have thought about printing out photos of locations to help put me in those places when I write, but I never seem to get around to doing that.

Q: Do you primarily read the same genre in which you write or do you hop around?

I hop around. I try to avoid reading the same genre as whatever I’m writing at the moment if I can, but that doesn’t always happen.

Q: Do you go back and rewrite your opening many times or are you the type who can't move on until it's nearly perfect?


My goal when writing is to get the story down so my first draft tends to flow out of me rather quickly. Once I’ve got the story down I can go back and pump up the parts that need it. In the case of Evil Ways, the original opening chapter didn’t feel strong enough for me so the very last thing I wrote for the novel was a new opening chapter.

Q: What’s your favorite Ron Perlman movie?
FCBD 2014
Hellboy followed closely by Blade II, but to me, when I think Ron Perlman, I think of his character from Sons of anarchy.

Q: What are you up to for Free Comic Book Day this year?

I was set up at The Rock Shop at The Mall of Georgia for FCBD this year.

For those unfamiliar with Free Comic Book Day, it's held once a year on the first Saturday in May. Publishers, creators, and comic retailers get together to offer a select group of titles for free under the Free Comic Book Day banner. It is a great way to introduce readers to new comics he or she might not have tried otherwise. Most stores make the day an event and bring in guests, cosplayers, musicians, and more. It's almost like a mini convention.

You can see photos from my Free Comic Book Day event here and here. We also talk about FCBD on episode 213 of the Earth Station One podcast, which will go live on Wednesday, May 7th at www.esopodcast.com and on the podcast page on this site.

Q: What originally drew you to your current protagonist?

I liked her sense of adventure. Plus, there’s a mystery to the character as we don’t know her real name or any personal history (at least not yet). It has been an interesting challenge writing a fully formed character without having those details to fall back on. So far so good.

Q: What’s your favorite Robert Duvall role?


The two Robert Duvall roles that always come to mind first are in Days of Thunder and Deep Impact.

Q: What’s your Favorite Gladys Knight Song?

I've always had a soft spot for Midnight Train to Georgia.

Of course, I can't think of The Pips now without hearing "Rental car smells like sunshine!"

See it here or below.

Q: Is there such a thing as writer's block?

Not really. I have days where I don't feel like writing, but it's not because I can't write. Writing is my job so I do it and meet those deadlines. Thankfully, I love my job.

Q: Are you an artist as well  as a writer? I keep finding you on artists watch lists.

Hmmm… Interesting. I had no idea.

I doodle, but that's about it. On FCBD I usually do free sketches, but my art isn't quite ready for publication. HA! HA! I do create ads and book covers, which I guess falls under the art banner.

Once upon a time I had a dream of being a comic book artist, but it turns out I'm a better writer than artist so I doodle every once in awhile these days.

Q: I am thinking about female villains in superhero comics...who are your three favorites at DC, and Marvel?

Marvel: Titania, Sin, Viper.

DC: Harley Quinn, Cheshire, Granny Goodness

Q: Are you a word counter? Do you plot or pants your way to a specific genre word count, or do you let the story tell you if it's a short, a novella, a novel, or an epic series?

Coming Soon!
It depends on the project. I do a lot of work for hire and those projects come with word counts that have to be hit. Airship 27 stories, for example, have to be 15,000 (there’s a little wiggle room, about a hundred words or so). Some publishers offer a range like 8,000 - 10,000 for example. With the novels, I don’t have a specific word count in mind, although I do have an upper limit in mind as a general rule so the books can stay reasonably priced.

Q: It’s Monday morning again. How do you wake up your muse: coffee, tea, mental or physical exercise, rudiments on a musical instrument, some other activity?

I don’t have a ritual or anything. I usually kickstart my day with an ice-cold bottle of water. Then, once I settle in to work, a glass of Mt. Dew, which I nurse for a few hours. I try to stick to one of those, but some day require two. I should add exercise to that.

Q: What was your favorite playset when you were a kid?

The Hoth Ice Planet playset from Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back was a favorite. I loved it.

Q: In what year was your first novel published?

Evil Ways premiered in August 2005.

Q: Do you feel that attending cons increases your reader base?

I think it does. Conventions are a great way to get my work in front of potential readers who might have heard of me or my work before. I make sure everyone who visits my table gets a business card with my websites and social media on it. Hopefully, they will think of me next time they’re looking for a book to read. Plus, conventions are great places to meet interesting people and network. Networking is always a good thing. You get to know people, first and foremost, which is worth it for that alone, but you never know when someone you meet at a con might present an opportunity your way somewhere down the road. It’s all about connecting with people.

My FCBD table
You don't network expecting those opportunities, but it does happen from time to time. I've made some long term friendships that started from meeting people at conventions. That right there makes it well worth it.

And I think that is a good place to finish this round of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff…

Do you have any questions you’d like me to answer? Post them here as a comment or send them along to bobby@bobbynash.com and I’ll answer them in a future installment of Sometimes I Get Asked Stuff...

At a con in 2014
Also, please sign up for my mailing list. Drop me an email at bobby@bobbynash.com and I'll happily add you to the list.

If you’d like to check out my work, you can find my books for sale at Amazon, Barnes and Noble, Goodreads, Smashwords, and more.

Thanks for listening to me ramble.
Let’s do this again soon.

Happy Reading.

Bobby

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