The Playlist – One Year Later

Today is the first anniversary of my blog! :mrgreen:
Here’s some videos from songs on my “Vampire Syndrome” Playlist.




Tijuana Taxi

At last, I have found the legendary “Tijuana Taxi” 😀 (in the form of a rat rod 1938 Buick). Lucky I had my camera with me!

Tijuana Taxi rat rod

The very definition of "cool"


Driver's Door

Now THIS is how you roll...


Tijuana Taxi interior

Are you cool enough to drive this car?


Nailhead V*

Triple-carb (3 Deuces) Nailhead V8. Rat-rod perfection.

The $64,000 question

Vampires.com asked us the timeless question:
Why do you think people love vampires so much?

My answer:

Q: Why did I name one of my chapters “The $64,000 Answer”?
A: The 1955-58 TV game show “The $64,000 Question” inspired Philip K. Dick’s novel Time Out Of Joint.

Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You

Two days ago, my friend and fellow author Chris Devlin blogged about More Great Story Songs of Yore, featuring classics such as “Ode To Billie Joe” and “The Night Chicago Died.”

Here’s another great 1970’s story song:
Sugarloaf: “Don’t Call Us, We’ll Call You”


A story song with a humorous tale of intrigue played out behind the scenes.

Sugarloaf, a band that was based here in Denver, Colorado, had just been turned down for a contract by CBS records. What should an enterprising band do when they’re in that situation?

Write a story song about it, incorporating all the juicy details. The band naturally serves their comeuppance to the rejection in the last verse:
“Any way, we cut a hit and we toured a bit
with a song he said he couldn’t use
And now he calls and begs and crawls
It’s telephone deja vu
We got percentage points and lousy joints
And all the glitter we can use, Mama
So, uh huh, don’t call us now, we’ll call you”
©1975 Sugarloaf

On top of this lyrical denouement, Sugarloaf played a practical joke at CBS’ expense. The song includes a recording of a touch-tone phone dialing an unlisted number at the CBS Records offices in Los Angeles. Pranksters all across the U.S. started dialing this number, and CBS had to rid themselves of it.

Did I mention this song went to #9 on the Billboard singles chart? 😈

I’ve loved this song ever since it came out, but of late I find it downright inspirational. If anyone ever gives you the “don’t call us, we’ll call you” routine, remember the sweet lemonade Sugarloaf squeezed from their lemon.

How Stuff Works: 14 Best-Selling Books Repeatedly Rejected by Publishers

Writer Profits: How a Rejected Fiction Author Topped Amazon Bestseller List

The Rejection Window

One of the most important factors determining the future of the traditional publishing business is what I call “the rejection window.” The rejection window is the length of time an author will keep submitting and revising their unpublished manuscript to agents and large traditional publishing houses.

Before the advent of digital self-publishing, authors’ only real choices were to keep the rejection window open for an infinite length of time, or shelve the manuscript. The traditional publishing world is full of true stories of authors who waited ten, even twenty years before their manuscript was published.

Those stories are now history. No author in their right mind is going to keep their manuscript’s rejection window open for ten years or more. Not when they can self-publish their story as an e-book.

Some authors are already slamming the rejection window completely shut. They aren’t even bothering to submit their manuscripts to agents and publishers. These authors upload an eBook the moment it’s finished.

What will define the future of the major publishing industry is the length of time for which the authors who do still submit manuscripts to agents and publishers will keep their rejection windows open.

In many cases, authors are deciding to keep the window open for a year, two at most. Many authors are already advising their fellow writers to immediately self-publish rejected manuscripts as eBooks and for their colleagues to move on from there and pitch their next books to agents and publishers.

The majority of submitting authors appear not to be following this advice right now, given the massive number of queries agents and publishers are still receiving as yet. Authors’ dreams of getting a $500,000 advance die hard, especially in tough economic times. But what will happen when those dreams finally wither away in the harsh light of reality?

Five, maybe even ten years from now, agents and publishers will most likely still be receiving an ocean of submissions. The sea change I predict is: If the traditional industry rejects a first-time submission, they’ll never “sea” it again. 😉 In other words, if the publisher said “We love your story, but we want you to re-write one of your characters,” few if any authors would bother with such re-writing.

By then, the majority of authors will be likely to e-publish their manuscripts immediately after the major publishing industry’s first rejection. Revisions of manuscripts just to fit the ever-changing whims of agents and large traditional publishing houses will increasingly be seen as a waste of time and effort.

The implications of this sea change are staggering. Novels with traditional market best-seller potential will be rejected for minor deviations from established content formulas, then become successful eBooks shortly afterward. The more this happens, the stronger the case will be for major traditional publishers to accept novels they would have rejected before. The old business model of waiting for the author to re-write a rejected manuscript over and over again will no longer work. This is when the wall of large traditional publishing house formulas will at first start to crack, then finally crumble under the increasing pressure of the marketplace’s realities. The large traditional publishing houses will have to evolve, or die alongside their old business models.

In case anyone thinks my post is pessimistic:
Tech Crunch: The Future Of Books: A Dystopian Timeline

Another great blog post, by one of my fellow RMFW members:
Think Banned Thoughts: Publishing is dead! Long live publishing!

Kristen Lamb – Rise of the Machines: Human Authors in a Digital World

Writer’s Toolbox – yWriter5

The scenes and chapters that authors write are pieces of a puzzle. Standard word processors such as Microsoft Word and Open Office Writer are ideal for composing your pieces. When you have gathered all the pieces and are ready to start assembling your puzzle, it’s time for a specialized editing tool. yWriter5, created by author Simon Haynes.

You can download and use it for free, with no time restrictions or ads. If you find this program to be beneficial, you can make a donation or click the links on the donation page to spread the word about his software on Google, Twitter, or Facebook.

The basics of yWriter5 were covered in Ron Heimbecher’s “Mapping, Trapping and Zapping” class at the 2011 Colorado Gold conference. After editing the first thirteen chapters of my novel in yWriter5, I have some useful tips.

In yWriter5, the building blocks of your novel are scenes. Chapters in yWriter5 are simply the upper level folders in which scenes reside. Your written text is pasted into scenes. This means when you create a chapter, you have to create scenes within the chapter before you paste in your text. In our critique group documents, we tend to mark scene changes with asterisks or the like. When pasting your documents into yWriter, you’ll copy and paste one scene at a time. yWriter5 can automatically split your scenes with asterisks, pound signs or your own custom characters when you export the project.

Sample story content tab
click on image to view in full size

The logic behind organizing a project by scenes is readily apparent from Simon Haynes’ own example. He had saved the chapters of his first novel as individual files (as I did). The organizational difficulties he experienced after moving a scene from one chapter to another (and back) are what prompted him to create yWriter5. Relocating a scene from one chapter to another is, of course, a quick and easy operation in yWriter5.

You can even define scenes as “used” or “unused.” If you wish to leave a scene out of an exported project, all you have to do is change it to “unused.” This ability comes in particularly handy if you have scenes you wish to leave out of agent and publisher submissions, but you want to keep those same scenes in your eBook version. When the scene editor is closed, a quick way to determine if your scene is “used” or “unused” (besides the small “Sc” or “U” boxes) is to check the chapter’s word count in the left pane. The chapter’s word count will drop when the scene is marked “unused”, and increase when the scene is again marked “used”.

yWriter5 features a Character index for scenes. Characters are assigned short names (ie: Holden) and full names (ie: Holden Morrisey Caulfield). I created some middle names for minor characters to make the index complete. A naming convention I had to consider is that European-descent working-class persons born before the 19th century generally did not have given middle names. Thus, my vampires born before 1800 lack middle names. One glance at my yWriter5 name listing quickly tells you which of my vampires are older. (One exception, L. She now uses her maiden name as her middle name)

In addition to the Character index, scenes also have Location and Item indexes. For example, you can quickly summon each scene occurring at Denver International Airport, or the scenes in which a Nissan GT-R appears. The indexes are very useful for editing out duplicated information about your locations and items.


click on image to view in full size

One issue I haven’t found an easy solution for yet is: If you paste double-spaced text into a scene, there’s no easy way to change it to single-spaced from within yWriter. My workaround has been to paste my text into plain text files (which removes all the formatting), then paste from there into yWriter and re-format. I prefer having the plain text files as an extra form of backup. You can also reformat your document as single-spaced, save it, then paste into yWriter. YWriter does have a global “remove all formatting” option, but this will strip out all your bolds, italics, underlines, etc.

yWriter5 does have a few idiosyncrasies you will have to learn before you master it, but it’s a well-designed program that will be of great help to you. And it’s free! 😀