Monday, May 28, 2007

A New Direction For Me

The Toronto Small Press Fair came and went, and so did the Burning Effigy Spring Launch. All in all, a very good weekend. I had fun selling my books and being among my friends.

The sales weren't spectacular, but then I wasn't really expecting they would be. The Small Press Fair was more of a literary affair, with not so many people interested in sci fi comedy. The Launch was more about performance - I got up and read about a chapter's worth from Section K, and that went over very well. Most people in attendance had already bought the book, so the sales I made after that were just gravy.

Now those two big events are over, and Section K is officially part of the published world. The next stop for the book will be Toronto Trek - or Polaris, as it is now called - this July, when I will be launching Epoch. That will be an awesome weekend. I can feel it.

Tomorrow I'm heading back to work, for real this time. I also finished editing The Right Hand of Evil, and am waiting for my wife Violet's review. She's a fast reader, so I will know what she thinks very soon. Then it will be off to my agent, and out into the world. I can't wait!

Life is looking brighter, and I'm feeling much better about the way things are going. I have made a commitment to be more positive, which means no more complaining. That will be a challenge for me - complaining has been a big part of my life, but it has also drawn much into my life to complain about. That hasn't been working for me, so it's time for new tactics.

To my readers, keep an eye on me, and remind me when I slip. I'm not perfect, after all. I will slip and be bummed about things from time to time. My goal here is to keep the bum times to a minimum while maximizing on the things that are great. I hope it makes for some good reading.

Friday, May 25, 2007

Section K Launch

Another chapter to my work saga... I'm off to work this morning. For one day. Yippee. Still, better than a boot to the head.

Then, my weekend will be spent working. Not in the job sense, but in the book sense. This weekend I promote the living heck out of Section K.

First, Saturday is the Toronto Small Press Fair. My editor friend Monica and I have a table there, and we will be selling as many copies as we can. We will also be promoting the Burningeffigy Spring Launch, wherein Section K and three other books (including my good friend Jeff Cottrill's Guilt Pasta) will be launched to the public. For my Toronto friends and readers, that event will be happening at the Victory Cafe Sunday night, starting at 7:30 PM.

In other writing-related news, I am three-quarters of the way through my second draft of The Right Hand of Evil. I'm also well into my next novel, The 25 Demons You Meet In Hell. Work on that one has been slow lately, but that's the way it goes with any writing project. Some days you write so much you can't stop until your arm falls off, and on others you're lucky if you get a sentence or two.

Also, my blog friend Graywave recently wrote about me. To read it, please click on this link.

It's going to be a busy three days, but well worth it in the end. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Curses - Foiled Again!

I came back from the Victoria Day long weekend ready to go back to work, only to find disappointing news on my answering machine. It seems the company didn't have money in their budget for the position they'd offered me, so they had to cancel it. That's it. No other explanation. Sorry, we're idiots who can't count, bad luck for you.

My exile from employment continues. I'm trying not to be down in the dumps about it, as that won't help me. I'd rather take the attitude that when God closes a door he opens a window. However, God closed the employment door two and a half months ago. I can only hope He knows what He's doing.

Imagine if He didn't... that might make an interesting story! Probably a comedy, with a metaphysical twist - exactly the sort of thing I'm best at! See, something good came from my situation already.

'Till next time, everyone!

Thursday, May 17, 2007

Back To Work

Yesterday I got the call from my employment agency - I'm going back to work! Finally, after nearly three months, I will finally have an income once more! Ironically, I had just filled out an online form for EI. Taking action really does get the universe's wheels turning!

This new job will be a two to four week assignment with Manulife, a company I've worked for three times in the past. I will be working with a group that works right next to the second-last group I was with at Manulife, who let me go because the manager said I was a "daydreamer" who "couldn't meet the work targets." In your FACE, ex-manager! Sorry, couldn't resist. I am hopeful this will be a good working experience, and will lead to many more good ones over the coming years.

The new job also means that my free time is coming to a close. Not a problem - I'm used to doing my writing around work, and tend to be more productive that way, too. I do want to get a good chunk of editing done on The Right Hand of Evil before I go back (I start next Tuesday, following the Victoria Day weekend). I want to get people reading it by June, and get it off to my agent for July at the latest. Time for me to get cracking.

Later, all!

Monday, May 14, 2007


A couple of weeks ago, my agent told me he'd received a royalty statement and cheque for me from Llewellyn. This statement was for the sales of my first published book, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters, for the period of July - December '06. When he told me the number of books I'd sold, I couldn't believe it. I was sure it was a mistake, and he'd get back to me saying it was really for another client's book. Not very positive of me, I know. But how else could I explain that I'd sold 812 books?

Yes, 812! Not fantastic numbers at all by anyone's reckoning, but here's the thing... My first royalty statement showed that, in spite of all my hard work promoting the thing, I'd sold barely over 300 copies in three months. That's what a book is supposed to make on its first DAY, my agent told me, not three months. My next statement was even worse - because of the number of returns (copies sent back to the publisher by stores), I now owed Llewellyn money! Well, not exactly - it came off the top of this new royalty statement - but it was still pretty depressing. It looked like Soul Hunters was beyond dead.

And yet, here I am today with the news that 812 copies of the book have sold in the latter half of 2006! That netted me a big fat check for... just under $200 US. Nowhere near enough to pull me out of my current economic slump, but nothing to sneeze at, either. And it shows that all the effort that went into promoting the book is paying off. By my estimation, Attack of the Intergalactic Soul Hunters has sold roughly 1, 000 copies, give or take. Still not great, but proof that I'm not down for the count! And more than enough to improve my mood. I think I'll take that cheque and blow it all on toys. Ha, ha, no really I'll use it to pay this month's cable bill.

Anyone out there who would like to purchase a copy of Soul Hunters can find it easily enough on, or they can use this link right here.

Until next time!

A Spot of Housecleaning

Hello again! I'm back after a week of not knowing what I wanted to write here. I did a little touching up for my blog layout, including some work on the links. I have my bestest blog buddies up top, followed by links that will lead you directly to my books. Someone asked me recently if they could buy Section K on Amazon, and sadly the answer is currently no. However, if you follow the easy-to-use link to the right, you'll find the site where it (and many other fine publications by Burningeffigy Press) can be purchased and ordered online. Or you can use this handy-dandy link here.

It is now just under two months before Epoch will be available to the general public. This makes me very happy and excited, as Epoch is one of my strongest books. I am also in the process of editing my next book, The Right Hand of Evil. I read through it last week, and made a pile of post-it note edit suggestions to myself. This week I'll bash it into better shape, then give it another read-through.

My writing, however, has suffered a bit lately. I am not as excited about my current project as I was about both Epoch and Hand. I suspect my continued unemployment situation has something to do with it - it's bringing my spirits down on all fronts. I need to do something about it to put my mind at ease before my writing routine (and enthusiasm) returns to normal.

So, positive thoughts! I will think them, and please send some my way.

Monday, May 7, 2007

Section K reviewed!

Monica, my friend and editor, just sent me an email telling me Section K has been reviewed by The Literary Word here on blogspot! I read it immediately, and my heart (and ego) swelled. Please go right now and read it. You will find the review here.

Very exciting to see the word getting out about my work. And the fact that it's a positive review doesn't hurt, either!

Wednesday, May 2, 2007

My Profile

I've just updated my profile with some more info about me. Mostly, just listing randomly the movies & books I like the most. Enjoy!

I think this is the first time I've posted more than once in one day. It's amazing what unemployment can do for you.

The Time Has Come

It's been quite a week, and it's only half-over. First a potential five-day job gets cancelled, then I had to say goodbye to my cat, The Moosh. It hasn't all been bad news, however. For example, yesterday I finished my rewrite of Young Nostradamus and zipped it off to my agent. I'm keeping my fingers crossed and focusing my mind on the outcome I want - a third publishing contract with Llewellyn!

Now that YN is on its way, the time has come to revisit and rewrite my latest finished manuscript, The Right Hand of Evil. I finished it just under two months ago, and promised myself I would start the editing process in May. I've read many books on writing, my favourites of which are On Writing by Stephen King and The Right To Write by Julia Cameron. Stephen King suggests waiting a good three months before going back to revise a work, so that when you do revisit it the book will not be fresh in your mind. It will be slightly unfamiliar, like the work of someone else, and therefore easier to be a harsh critic. I could have waited three months, but I'm just naturally impatient. Plus, I feel certain that this book is really going to put me on the map. Epoch will do well, and Young Nostradamus will be a decent follow-up, but Hand is the book that will make me a household name. I am certain of it.

Why? I don't want to say just yet, not exactly. I don't like giving away big things too early on in the game. I will say this... as I was rewriting Epoch, I realized there is good potential for it to be controversial. I poke fun at fanatical religious beliefs, describing a family whose idea of a night at the movies involves not popcorn and soda but picket signs and righteous indignation. This gave me a good chuckle, but I thought for sure my editors would want me to cut that for fear of annoying people. Just the opposite - they told me to have at it, really cut loose. I gave them all I could without having the fun-poking take over the story, but it got me thinking - what if, for my next book, I really went for it? What if I picked a subject matter that would really take the controversy up to the next level and beyond?

I came up with an idea. I told my wife about it, told her I would use this idea as the basis for a YA novel. Her response? "Good luck with that." It did seem unlikely anyone would want to touch it, given the premise, but the idea would not leave my head. Thus, in September '06 I started writing, and now I am ready to rewrite. Wish me luck!

And yes, eventually I will reveal what it's all about. Tell you what - I'll spill the beans when I submit it to my agent. Fair enough?

- Timothy Carter

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

In Memory of a Moosh

This one's not going to be writing-related. I had so many subjects to talk about but no time over the last couple of weeks, but now that I have time to post again all I can think about is the absence of my beloved cat.

Her name was Ciramos, pronounced tseer-a-moosh. It is Hungarian for many colours. I always called her The Moosh. Simpler to say. And funnier. The Moosh was my wife Violet's cat, and when we put her down she was 20 years old. For a cat, that's really good. Violet grew up with her, and when we started dating I was introduced to the grumbly ball of fur. I was told she didn't show much affection, so I amazed Violet and her sister by getting her to lick my hand. In the last couple of weeks, I'd got her to lick my nose and face. The Moosh didn't like most strangers, but she took to me very nicely.

In return, I taught her to beg at the dinner table. "Oh no," Violet told me. "She's not interested in people food. Never has been." "Let's just see what she'll do," I replied, holding a piece of chicken in front of The Moosh's face. She gobbled it up, and I gave her another. This one I held just above her head, to see if she'd go for it. She did, standing on her hind legs and snatching it from me. Lately, every time Violet and I sit down for dinner, The Moosh would join us and stare up at us expectantly. Yep, I created a monster, all right.

When Violet and I married, The Moosh stayed with her mother. I would look forward to every visit not only for Violet's mom's great cooking, but also for a chance to see the cat. Then Violet's mom decided she couldn't take care of the cat any longer, and would we be interested? Thus it was that one year ago, The Moosh moved in with us.

She wasn't always our favourite cat. For some reason, The Moosh decided she only wanted to be fed at three times in the day: midnight, 2:00 AM and 4:00 AM. This, as you can well imagine, did not always sit well with us. Also, as arthritis took hold of her back legs, she could no longer crouch down in the litter box, so she'd leave some disgustingly smelly surprises for us on the floor. She couldn't wipe herself, either, and did not appreciate it one bit when I did that for her.

In the fall of 2006 she was diagnosed with kidney failure. She was prescribed pills, a special potassium-rich goop, and prescription food. None of which she liked. Getting her to eat anything became quite the chore. Also, with the continued deterioration of her back legs, she could no longer jump up on the bed. This was a problem, because her favourite sleeping spot was the lower-left corner of the bed, and no other spot would do. From then on, she needed a boost. That became part of the early morning feedings - plunk down food, wait for her to finish, then escort her back to the bedroom and boost her onto the bed. This was the way it had to be; The Moosh would settle for nothing less from her humans.

Yesterday morning, the cat did not want to move at all. This wasn't that much different from her normal daily routine, so Violet and I didn't become concerned until she wet herself on the bed. We tried standing her up, but she collapsed back down. She was simply in too much pain to move. We rushed her to the vet and were given some options, none of which were cheap. Violet and I decided that, even if they could 'fix' her, the quality of her life would no longer be any fun. We made the decision to end her life; as the vet injected the euthanol, I felt her go limp in my hands. Her eyes stayed open; Violet couldn't stand to look at them. The eyes didn't bother me nearly as much as the lifelessness in her upper body where I held her. Violet and I said our goodbyes, and cried for the family member no longer with us.

When we got home, I silently emptied the litter box and food dishes. I called Violet's mother, who assured us we'd done the right thing. While Violet called her sister, I had a chance to reflect on my current circumstances. I've complained in past posts about my lack of employment, but if I'd had a job I would not have been there to help Violet take The Moosh to the vet. Nor would I have been there to support Violet when we got home. Some things do happen for a reason.

Now we begin our life without her. Yesterday I thought for sure I heard her walking up behind me while I was eating dinner (it was beef stew, not something The Moosh would ignore). Each time I look into the bedroom, I expect to see her curled up and passed out on her favourite spot. Last night I slept with no interruptions, no wake-up calls. It's an adjustment; today my wife is at work, and I'm here all alone. I miss her, and wish I could pet her one more time, or feed her one last tidbit from my plate. She was a grumbly girl, but I'm pretty sure she was happy. I know for certain that she was loved.

Sorry for such a downer of a post (and a long one, too). I just wanted to get my thoughts and feelings out, express it in the way I do best. Thank you for reading.

- Timothy Carter