I was interrupted during my writing of my latest mystery by my 12 year old grandson who asked me to write a story with him as the main character. So, mystery put aside, I wrote a mid-grade fantasy novel, The Mystical Wand of Quinta that I’ve sent to Literary Agents for possible representation. Meanwhile, I have written the text of 5 Children’s Picture Book, and am now illustrating the first, George, The Puppy Who Refused To Go For A Walk. Should be finishing the illustrations soon, and then, it’s off to find an agent, or publisher for it. I would really like to get these books professionally published (as opposed to self-publishing, as I have with my other novels) so there will be a greater distribution, and more children will have access to enjoy the books. As I like to say: “Hope springs eternal.” Once illustrating is finished, it’s back to my mystery novel and then the sequel to my vampire/zompire love story.
Still awaiting first submission from latest artist, attempting my Children’s Book Story. Also awaiting to hear from Literary Agent. Ran into the parents of a woman who presents text stories to her employers who try to find an artist for them to present to publisher. Sounds like another Literary Agent. So, we’ll see after we connect, and after the drawing from awaiting artist to see if I’m satisfied with his drawings. Meanwhile, I continue to write, another Children’s Picture book text, a mid-grade children’s book, and two novels. Last time I try multiple books at once. Easy to keep separated in my mind, but progress is slow on all, since writing time is shared by all.
Today, I received permission from “The Hungry Puppy” to use their “Puppy Olympics” title for use in my Children’s Picture Book, Chewie, The Puppy Who Liked to Jump. I thank them very much. I have also have contacted an artist who is going to draw one of my other Puppy books to see if her vision meets my expectation. I certainly hope it does! Still awaiting decision about representation by a Literary Agent. As I love to say, “Hope Springs Eternal.”
In any case, I continue to write Vampire Wars, the follow-up to my Zompire novel, and a new Mystery novel, The Mystery of the Gilded Eagle, staring Jackie Kant, one of the characters from Not Privileged to Know. I’d like one of these novels finished by next June, so I can self-publish it for sale/presentation at FuMPfest 2018 in Chicago, scheduled for Memorial Day Weekend 2018.
I have recently written the text to 5 Children’s Picture Books (artwork needs to be done by someone who can draw…I can’t). Anyway, upon hearing this, my 12 year old grandson asked me to write a story with him as the central character. I immediately went home and wrote, “Fetch,” a short story wherein my grandson is a wizard, but is unaware of it, but discovers it as the story unfolds. I like the story so much that I intend to turn it into a Mid-Grade book. Thanks, Darren for the inspiration!
I’ve just completed a children’s picture book for children up to age 5. It has to do with the training of a new puppy. I can’t do the needed drawings. I am considering sending this to a traditional publisher who will use their in-house artists, if they accept it for publication. This is my second picture book. I wrote one 2 years ago, and an artist agreed to do it (on a after sale commission; no money up front, as many artists require). The artist has not completed the work, and I’m not sure he even began any drawings. When I offered him the job, I promised him I would not press him for completion. I recently asked if he still wanted to do the work, and he insisted he did. I don’t know what to do now, except, if my new one is accepted, “pressure” him by telling him of my success, and asking him to finish the project. Problems with this approach, as told to me by other authors, is that he may do a few great drawings to satisfy my rushing him, and then the quality of his work may deteriorate, something I simply could not stand. I’ve met a few professional artists, but they require over $4,000 up from for the 23 drawings in my book. I can’t afford this. Will keep you updated.
I pulled Need to Know down from the internet because a reader found a few important mistakes that needed correction. It should be back up in a few days.
I just completed a new children’s graphic novel, George, the Dog Who Refused to Go for a Walk. Looking for an artist now, and a traditional publisher. Will keep you updated.
I am currently working on a new mystery novel, and the second in the Zompire trilogy. One should be out early next year.
Last week I attended a seminar on making a photo book. It wasn’t for me, but an idea formed in my mind. I’m going to write Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, as a Graphic Novel. I may need an artist to work with me, because I’m not sure my artistic ability is professional enough. It should be fun, creating the text to follow the novel, maybe draw stick figures (first time around), and finally seeing my novel in its Graphic Novel form.
Home from FuMPfest 2017. Had a great time. Now selling my novels, especially Need to Know at Garvin’s Store at Hawk’s Nest Beach in Old Lyme, CT where we spend much of summer. It’s fun to get recognized as the “local beach author” by renters in the area. Now to concentrate on writing the final in the “Need” trilogy, and start my next Zompire novel.
May 2017: Now Available:
Need to Know, Privileged Information:
Corinne’s troubles continue in New York City as the conspiracy she exposed in Not Privileged to Know resurfaces with new attempts on her life and new problems with the law. With some old friends and some new ones, she again attempts to expose the conspiracy, and bring the conspirators to justice, hopefully before they succeed in destroying both her and the Federal Government of the United States.
You’ve now published three novels. What have you learned from your experience that may help other writers?
I learned much with the publication of my first two novels, especially the mistakes. Hopefully, I won’t make the same mistakes in my next novel, Heaven’s Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Angels, A Novel, published October 1, 2014. The title of my first novel, Generation Z, Birth of the Zompire, which is a vampire love story, is simply too long. The problem: as readers try to find me on Amazon or elsewhere, my novel doesn’t come up until they type the last letter in Zompire. So, it’s hard to find. I could have made the second phrase a subtitle, but, even better than this, I should have titled it simply: “Zompire.”
The lesson: Keep It Simple, a.k.a.: make your book easy to find in search engines and websites.
Did this help with the second novel?
Yes, but I still made a mistake in the title. The novel is a murder mystery entitled Not Privileged to Know, a phrase drawn from the novel. It fits the story perfectly; however, again, people are having trouble finding the novel. It’s not the length this time; it’s one word: ’Privileged.’ They either add the letter ‘d,’ or spell it with an ‘a’ or an ‘e’ where there should be an ‘i.’ I have tried to correct this (without changing the title) by making ‘Not Priv,’ and the letters ‘NPTK’ and ‘nptk,’ drawn from the title, searchable.
The lesson: Use Easily Spell-able Words.
You’ve called this trilogy ‘The Privileged’ series. Since you ran into a problem with spelling, are you going to use ‘Privileged’ in the next two in the series?
No, I’ve decided to change the titles of these sequels. Instead of Privileged Information and Privileged Few, they will now be titled Need to Know and In the Know. The series link will now be the ‘Know’ series. Hopefully, that will solve the problem.
The lesson: Be prepared to change mid-stream, especially if dictated by either readership praise or problems.
What about Heaven’s Conflict, The Rise and Fall of Angels, A Novel? That title is long; how are you going to prevent problems with that title?
This is an inspirational novel that required a lot of research. This delayed its publication. While doing the research, I wrote and published my first two novels. So, I had already decided on its title, and didn’t want to change it; however, trying to apply the above principles, the searchable title has become Heaven’s Conflict. The rest is subtitle. I’m a little worried the apostrophe may cause a problem. So, both Heaven and Heavens are searchable in the title as well.
The lesson: Search for your title in Amazon and other search engines to see what happens, what other books bear that title, and try misspelling some words as a reader might. Then, make those misspellings searchable.
You used the word ‘Novel’ in the title. You didn’t do this in the first two. Why?
I was afraid people might think this book is a non-fiction commentary concerning Angels. It’s not. It’s my (fantasy) story of Lucifer’s downfall from God’s Grace soon after his creation. It’s a Good versus Evil story that I hope is both entertaining, exciting, and inspirational to readers since it involves true friendship, love and forgiveness, hopefully, without being too preachy.
The lesson: Make sure readers receive what they purchased (besides a great story, edited carefully). You don’t want them misled by the title, jacket info, or back cover summary.
Did you footnote any quotes from the Bible?
No, although there are quite a few. I thought footnoting would interfere with the readers enjoyment of the story flow, and might make the book too preachy or seem like non-fiction. In my author note at the end, I explain this, and suggest that, if they want to know where any quote they recognizes appears in the Bible, they should search it in any (Bible) search engine.
The lesson: Most good books I’ve read capture me on the first page, and flow nonstop until the end. Don’t put anything in the book/story that will stall your readers, or stop them cold.
Are you worried about readers reaction to the religious nature of the novel?
Yes, especially since one of my editors pointed this out, stating that I’d better be ready to endure the sticks and stones that will be thrown my way after its publication. He explained that non-believers (in God) will complain about the religious content (IE. That there is a God at all), and the true believers might complain that what I wrote isn’t in the Bible, or that the symbols I used are not correct, or that they might object to the personalities I’ve given to the Archangels, Lucifer, or even God. My simple answer to all these is that it’s a fictional story I created using the Bible’s content for guidance, but it is my (fictional) story, and I wrote it as it came into my mind. I believe in God, and read the Bible, and tried to stick to the first few books of the Bible, drawing some from Revelation as well. I had it checked by two Biblical scholars (Catholic and Jewish) and four Priests (three Catholic and one Southern Episcopal) to ensure that it doesn’t conflict with anything that is stated in the Bible; hopefully, it doesn’t.
The lesson: Be sure any research you do is totally accurate, even if the book is fiction, and use multiple experts, if available. I’ve read novels who have locations or technology totally wrong for that story’s location or time period (IE poor research and final editing). These errors will pull the reader out of the story, decreasing both their pleasure and your credibility as an author.
Are you ready to endure those sticks and stones?
Yes, I believe so, or, maybe I should say, I hope so. A little controversy about the novel would actually attract more readers, and, therefore, be good. However, I never acquired a thick skin, so I may have some discomfort coming my way. I’m hoping more readers enjoy the story, and stand behind and enjoy what I did rather than attack me or my writing technique/research.
The lesson: Be brave enough to finish your work and risk public exposure for your story, especially if you believe in it. If you don’t, you will never be published, and only your family will read your story. Most writers, including myself, want more readership than that.
Are there any other books about the Archangel Lucifer presently available?
Yes, both books and films, but most concern Lucifer’s exile to Earth and his conflict with God through Humans. I wrote about his initial hate for God and his lust for God’s Throne before Adam and Eve were exiled from the Garden of Eden, concluding with Lucifer’s condemnation to Hell. Everyone knows the story in general, but the Bible doesn’t give great detail to this event. I took this idea and expanded it into what would have been the most significant confrontation ever with the sovereignty of God’s Throne at stake. As I said, I hope it provides an entertaining (fantasy) story for my readers, as well as being inspirational, whether they believe in God or not.
The lesson: Again, research the story to find what’s out there. I may have missed a story, or one might have come out after my final edit, but I’ve tried my best, and this story is mine. If you find a similar story about your topic, you can still pursue your idea, but don’t plagiarize any of the other story. Make it totally your own.
What does the future hold for your writing?
All three of these novels are the first of trilogies. I need to write the next installments. Currently, thanks in part to you and other bloggers who posted blogs concerning my Zompire novel, my second novel, Not Privileged to Know, is selling very well. The next story I turn my attention to will be determined by my readership. All are outlined, and ready to be fleshed out. I have another murder mystery already written and in the editing phase. It should be ready in late 2015. The second volume of one of my trilogies will then appear in 2016.
The lesson: Keep writing, no matter what problems confront you. For me, I’ve written my entire life. I am always working on my ‘next’ novel, even if it never reaches publication. Writing is like any art: the more you practice, the better you become, and the more you learn. Write every day, even if only a few lines, and always keep a pencil and paper by your bed and in your pocket (yeah, I’m one of those nerds with pen and paper in my shirt pocket at all times) to write ideas, outlines, or a few words that might be spoken by one of your characters in a future novel.
Where can readers find out more about your novels and order them?
Information on my books (summaries and first chapters) can be found on my webpage: http://billrockwell.net They can also order the books from amazon.com and at any bookstore. They are available in both paperback and for all E-Book readers. The audiobooks should be out later this Fall.