I know it sounds like I'm admitting to a personal problem, but really I'm not. What I'm referring to is the title of a book that a long-time friend of mine wrote.
"Twelve dark, disturbing and often amusing stories from author and screenwriter Wes Laurie. In “Country Girls Can Survive” two teens become the first line of defense against an alien invasion. “I Burn,” adapted from the screenplay in which a pyromaniac seeks to burn down everything between him and the woman he is obsessed with. Travel to Missouri in “Mo” where a group of friends must face a monster of Midwest legends. Journey into the dark tunnels below Los Angeles for “A Hot Meal.” Bear witness to the blood that a webcam model is willing to spill in order to bring her best friend back from the dead in “Wretch.” These tales plus a quick trip down to the convenience store with the Father of Evil himself right before the man-eating squirrels arrive."
The book sounds great. I'll admit I haven't read it yet but I've really enjoyed some of his other books. The reason I'm on here making a blog post that's not a review is pretty simple. I'm on the cover.
Yup that filthy psycho is me.
There is a funny story behind the actual cover of the book. Wes and I were talking about what he wanted and it was going to be fire-related since the name of the book is "I Burn." I live somewhere that I can reasonably light a fire so I did. Some of the filth on me is charcoal, some is mascara because the charcoal wasn't dark enough to show up outside on camera. You use what you have. Once the makeup was finished, I snapped a quick picture on my way out the door so Wes could see it. Then I spent the better part of an hour trying to get good pictures outside around the fire in the fading light, looking like a crazy person.
Turns out I could have ultimately saved myself a lot of time because the selfie I sent that showed my makeup was the way he wanted to go. It's funny how things work out sometimes. I hope you enjoyed that peek behind the scenes of a book cover.
Buy the book because you want to read a good story, or buy the book because I'm on the cover. But don't forget to review the book. If you enjoy a story the best thing you can do for the author is leave feedback, on Amazon, on Goodreads, and anywhere else you can think of. It really helps indie authors and authors who have a small publisher (like me) more than I can say.
Every author is different. If we were all the same there would be no point in reading books, they'd all be the same too. One of the things that makes me unusual as an author is my use of a typewriter for my first drafts.
I know it's part of the author stereotype. There's a college degrees on the wall, a vintage typewriter, maybe even some tweed, with a nearly-empty bottle of bourbon on the desk. It's supposed to be late in the evening while I pour my tortured soul out into my novels, drinking heavily and watching my world turn to ruin. My isolation and dark sense of humor robs me of my friends on my way down.
I can't speak about the mindset of most authors. The ones I've met are pretty normal people. I do have a dark sense of humor, but I hardly ever drink, don't own any tweed, and actually didn't get the chance to finish college. I hardly ever write late at night. Mostly I work in the early hours of the morning, just after the kids go to school. I can say that the reality about modern writing is that it's mostly done on a computer. So the melodic clack of typewriter keys is replaced by the insect-like ticking of the computer keyboard. Maybe that's why in fiction, writers always use a typewriter. The computer is quieter, but I would argue that it's not more pleasant to listen to. I know at least one author who still writes everything out long-hand first, but mostly it's just the ticking.
So the question becomes why do I choose to write on a typewriter over a quick, convenient, computer?
The answer is that I have lots of reasons. The chief among them is that it allows me to actually finish what I start. Can't I do that on a computer? I guess I could but I have a problem with trying to say everything "just so." When I write on a computer I'll save what I'm doing, second-guess, then rewrite half of it before I ever get started with the day's work. The more I've written, the more I second-guess and re-write. Yes, that is the point of editing, and I'm more than happy to edit with a computer, but it's death for a first draft. If I'm too concerned with perfect dialog, or the necessity of every sentence to move the story forward...I don't move the story forward. With a typewriter I would have to re-write entire pages just to change a sentence. My rational mind can be reasoned with, even it sees that as too much work. So, I can tell myself I'll fix it in editing later and just move on.
Secondly, I like a hard-copy of my work. I don't trust computers not to lose files, or me not to accidentally overwrite, or forget to save something important. On the computer that means I have to print as I go along, but do you remember what I said about needing to re-write, and re-write. It leaves me only a couple of options. I can print immediately for my peace of mind, but my environmentally conscious self squirms while I print and reprint my page as it changes over and over again. Or I can choose not to print for chapters on end hoping that when I finally do it's the final version of that chapter in my draft. If I'm still re-reading it I can assure you it isn't. Aren't I worried that my print copy is the only copy of my book. No, because it isn't. I scan my pages as I write them so there are always backups.
The third reason I do it is that when I start work on my second draft I can't be lazy about it. Every page has to be typed onto the computer. When I'm doing that I have to go over every sentence. I'm going to get agressive about cutting things out that are not necessary just so that I don't have to type it in.
In the end I think the typewriter makes me a better writer.
I wrote my first book "As It Ends" on my Olivetti Underwood Lettera 33. Now my second novel is being written on the Smith Corona Corsair Deluxe that I found at an antique store and bought for myself to celebrate the completion of my first book.
The last time I posted here I was in the process of psyching myself out about my upcoming book release party for my first novel, "As It Ends." I was worrying about the arrival of my bookmarks, and what I was going to wear, and what I was going to read. If I had ordered too many books, or not enough. Even what the actual plan was for the party.
The funny thing was, I forgot what a wonderful group of friends I have, and how supportive and inclusive the arts community in my area is.
So really. I had nothing to worry about.
Also, I know this is going to sound strange, but I'm really happy that I did this in a bar. I know the pictures aren't as pretty as they might have been if I'd done this at a library (or suitably 'author-ish' venue) but I think it was more fun for the guests at my party. People chatted, and laughed, ate, and drank; played pool, and games. I realized that I accomplished what I set out to accomplish. People had gathered and were enjoying themselves. I just gave them an excuse to do it.
By the end of the day I was overwhelmed by how supportive everyone was about my book and I was grateful for everyone who came out to celebrate this accomplishment with me, everyone who wanted to go but couldn't for an assortment of reasons, and even those who wished me well with no interest in attending my event. I appreciate you all! Thank you.
I have an ongoing interest in dystopian fiction, both reading and writing it. I’m a fan of simple living and draw inspiration for my writing from my love of old-fashioned skills and my small hobby farm.
Click on the icons below to follow me on social media:
My first book is available on Amazon