Rackin’ it Up


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Grandma’s Rack, the short story turned novella turned full-length collaborative novel is bouncing right along with enough speed and determination to rival a pair of smooth, round, metaphorical melons bounding down a steep and obstacle-free figurative mountainside.

Today, my co-author – veteran horror novelist Tamara Thorne – and I spent three hours brainstorming new scenes and smoothing out the plot before heading separate directions to each spend several more hours writing. Tomorrow, we meet to establish and appoint the final components of the book’s third act which, once completed, will catapult us into an even more accelerated momentum. We realize that completing the project by the spring deadline will be pushing it, but we also believe it can be done. We’re in the last stages and luckily, we’re having enough fun that what’s left to write will hopefully flow smoothly by. I go through a series of mental and emotional stages during the course of completing a novel, and the one I’m in now is probably my favorite.

By the third act, the climax is rising, and all those things the characters said and did pages and pages ago suddenly start to make sense. This is where we are now in Grandma’s Rack, and it is my favorite because it assures me that my instincts to trust the characters were correct. It’s been said that writers don’t create story as much as they discover story – like some creative archaeologists of sorts, digging up pre-existing plots from the trenches of the mind, the universe… or wherever it is that stories come from – and I am inclined to believe that.

Today, during our three-hour brainstorming stint, all the misfit pieces of the puzzle fell wonderfully and magically into place, revivifying my passion and magnifying my feeling that this was going to be a great story. In fact, although I always knew it was going to be good, today I realized that it’s going to be even better than I thought because I realized it has all the ingredients that are key to the kinds of books I love to read: characters of both the loathsome and lovable kind – traits which are often found within the confines of the same character –  a seductive setting,  an intriguing plot with a fair blend of humor and horror, a series of little scandals, and enough human truth to sustain the creative inventiveness of fiction.

And so… we plug on, and as we do, I become more excited as the end draws ever-nearer. I suspect it will be a bittersweet farewell once the final words have been written… and this is why we have decided to continue working together. Tamara and I both have our solo projects to write, but we’ve decided our power as a unit is too total and too dynamic to end at one collaboration… and this is just one those little life wonders that forces me to think that maybe… there’s some method to the madness around us after all.

To see more of Grandma’s Rack and other projects, visit me at: www.alistaircross.com

Yours,

~AC~

zacacspider

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It… and Author Interview Corner


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Today, I finally finished It by Stephen King. I say ‘finally’ not because it was a drag to read but because it’s taken a while to get through (the book is 1090 pages). I haven’t had much free time due to my busy writing schedule, but I try to always take at least one day off per week in which I do not write, I do not think about writing, and I do not talk about writing. The other six days of the week are so consumed by the subject that I think this one day is reasonable.

Anyway, I loved the book. I have to admit that near the 700 page mark I went through a  phase where I really wished Stephen King would just cut to the chase… but I stuck with it and I’m glad I did. Now that I’ve experienced it in its entirety, I don’t think any of the length could be cut without damaging the overall effect.

It is a horror story, yes, but it’s also a beautifully executed coming-of-age story with far too much depth to be classified as a mere scary tale. In my opinion, this book was absolutely brilliant, and I would recommend it to anyone. There is a reason why King is the king… so the next time you have a day off to read, I suggest giving It a look-see.

Also today my interview at Author Interview Corner went live. You can check it out by clicking on the link. Great questions, great fun. So thank you, Lindsey Beth Goddard, for the good time.

Tomorrow begins another week of writing full-force. At this time, Tamara Thorne and I are up to our necks in Grandma’s Rack while Belinda simmers to a near-boil in the darker corners of our minds. I’m getting more excited by the day for these projects to be completed and I will keep posting updates of their progress.

Hope your weekend was a good one…

~Mr. Cross~

Interview


Hello all,

The interview at One Writer’s Journey is up and waiting to be visited. Thank you, Penny Ehrenkranz for the wonderful interview.

Soon, Tamara and I will be posting the final night of our Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin adventure. If you want to read the previous nights, you can go to my website: http://www.alistaircross.com and find the ‘Recent News’ section on the lower right of the home page. There, you can find a link to each of the nights.

But it can be done…


It’s after four in the morning on Friday and for the second night now I’m sitting in front of my computer watching YoutTube videos with the notorious feline stalker, Pawpurrazzi. From the safety of her perch on my shoulder, together we behold the wonders of funny cat videos, Oprah Winfrey interviews, and clips expounding on everything from the success of J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter series, to racism in Switzerland, to the barely-remembered and very outdated music videos of Lita Ford. I especially can’t explain that final choice of entertainment except to say I think Stalker Kitty has developed a great fascinated respect for Lita’s ’80s bouffant, so of course – as any half-decent kitty guardian would do – I have to let her keep watching.

But that is neither here nor there.

The point is, it’s been another sleepless night which might have been spent doing more constructive things, but alas, was not. Usually, the degree of self-loathing I experience when I waste time this way would send me into a dizzying spiral from which I can barely pull myself out of, but tonight was different. It was different because, tonight, as I watched with glazed-over eyes while Oprah awarded each audience member with a ‘brand new totally redesigned, 2012 Volkswagen Beetle!’… I was able to (as we so often are in the idle moments) get to the core of what’s really bothering me.

It is nothing as interesting as Volkswagens or Oprah that have me buzzing till the wee hours… nor is it a sudden addiction to funny cat videos (although I do believe I may be teetering on that one), and no, not even Lita Ford’s hair – or her shiny black leotards for that matter – are responsible for my unfortunate state of awareness at this hour. These things, I’ve determined, are just new ways I’ve discovered in which to distract myself. And I am distracting myself because I’m trying to figure out how I am going to get done all of the things that need getting done.

The past couple of days have presented me with some writing opportunities that, while truly awesome, are a little scary. These new ventures in and of themselves are in no way unpleasant or foreboding, but coupled with the plans which have already spoken for a good deal of 2014 (Grandma’s Rack and the erotic serial, Belinda, with Tamara Thorne, plus my solo project The White Room – which just really needs to get done),  it’s overwhelming.

I should be thrilled and I won’t lie: I am. These are the things of daydreams… these are things you don’t say no to. These are things that could lead to many other wonderful things. But… these are also things I’m not sure I can fit into my already filled-to-overflowing, seemingly endless to-do list, and – needless to say – I spent a lot of quiet time doing some heavy mental filing, organizing, planning, plotting, and prioritizing. I also spent a lot of time on the phone today hashing out plans with a lot of different people. I assumed I had made peace with the rigor of my new schedule, but apparently, I had not.

One of the people I spoke to was my collaborator. Tamara is far better than I am in these situations, and as several of these projects include her, I was grateful to have someone with which to construct a strategy. We started at the beginning and planned out the best method in which to proceed, keeping ourselves open, of course, to the possibility that things can – and often do – change. The good news is that we concluded it was possible. It will require the sacrifice of something I already feel a great shortage of, and that is time. But it can be done. I just have to remind myself of that.

After talking to Tamara, I made some other calls. I re-arranged things, I confirmed things, I straightened some things out, and I called some things off… and in the course of about 24 hours, I came to an entirely new understanding of the way things are… and of how hard I’m going to have to work for this.

But it can be done…

The hardest part, I think, is the realization that the lackadaisical age of joy-writing is basically over. That isn’t to say I don’t love writing. It isn’t even to say I won’t enjoy it. I will. Profoundly. But the days of I-just-don’t-feel-like-writing-right-now are gone… at least for a while.

I remind myself that I’m very lucky, though. I have great support from all directions. I have the resources I need to do this and I’m not at all alone. I have an absolutely wonderful collaborator who knows this drill, and has the unprecedented ability to tranquilize my fits of frenzy and white-knuckled, hand-wringing (though rarely-occurring) dithers. I realize that as overwhelming as this might all be, it will also be very exciting and very prosperous for me. I will do my best…

And on that note, I think it’s time to say goodnight to Oprah, X out of YouTube, detach Stalker Kitty from my shoulder, and hit the hay. I’ll wake up tomorrow… and I will begin. It’s going to be a busy year with plenty of deadlines and a fair share of frustration, but it’s also going to be a lot of fun… and if I do this right, I know I’ll be very glad I did.

This is what I wanted, and I never really expected it to be easy. And I don’t think it’s going to be very easy at all.

But it can be done…

And so it will.

Sweet dreams,

~AC

http://www.alistaircross.com

 

One Writer’s Journey


In ten days (January 13th, 2014) the interview Tamara Thorne and I did for Penny Ehrenkranz’s site, One Writer’s Journeyis set to go live. I will post the link here when it does, but until then give her a visit and have a look at all the author and illustrator interviews, writing tips, and other fun stuff going on there.

In this interview Tamara and I discuss our upcoming novel, Grandma’s Racka witchy novel of magic and mayhem in a small town called Milkwort – which is scheduled for release sometime this spring. Be sure to check me out at my website (The Dungeon) or Tamara Thorne’s website to keep up with our progress and recent news.

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Also, if you’ve been keeping up on our Five Nights in a Haunted Cabin posts, night four is underway and will be posted sometime within the next week, we predict. Follow the links below for the prior nights:

First Night

Second Night

Third Night

The holidays have come and gone and we’re getting settled back into the rhythm of writing. We expect to have a busy 2014, filled with the release of new material – both collaborative and solo.

Wishing all of you a prosperous new year…

AC~