Saturday, August 18, 2012



That's how many words I have thus far on Darkness Walks. Not the best number, given the amount of time since I started working on the novel, but it's progress nonetheless.

And yes, you read that night. The novel.

I made the decision a while back to just go balls-to-the-wall and crank out this thing in long form. Sure, that's going to greatly push back my projected completion date, which is going to greatly push back my date of putting the work on the market, which, in turn will greatly push back the massive success I hope it becomes (let me have my moment here), which, in all, will greatly push back my exit from the Rat Race. At least that's how I see it.

Things are going well, writing-wise. The trick, as always, is finding the time to write and taking advantage of that time when you have it - as opposed to, say, wasting the last four hours on YouTube watching videos of video games. Not that I would do that.



I originally started writing the book, like most folks, in a word processing program, carefully setting up my header, page and tab margins. I had gotten well-adjusted to the workflow, and had really no problems with it. But curiosity kept gnawing at my brain...

My screenwriting software has a built-in (and editable) template for novels. I'd tried it once just for shits and giggles, but found the overall experience lacking and the controls counter-intuitive. I knew if I gave myself time to learn it I'd master it fine, but I was just too lazy to put in the time, so I continued with the word processor.  But the allure of using one program to write both my screenplays and novels (and, perhaps, graphic novels) was just too strong and too damn convenient. So I came back to the program, took the time, set things up, and now I'm rocking it. I'm enjoying the experience, and the added outlining capabilities of the software are simply amazing. It makes things so much easier - and more fun - when working.

So progress is being made; I just need to work harder on making it faster. It doesn't help that my head is exploding with ideas for a multitude of projects - each one trying to out-scream the other for my attention. I've gone back to using a writing schedule to divvy up my week between projects, hoping that giving each one its own time will satisfy their cries long enough to get something done, as opposed to agonizing over which one to work on and get nothing done. So far, so good.

If you want, you can check out the rough draft of the first three chapters here, and "like" the page to get the latest on all our literary projects.

Part of my schedule entails updating this blog at least once a week, so it shouldn't be such a long time before my next entry. At least, that's the idea...

- KS

Tuesday, June 5, 2012


Well, Day One was a wash...

I never can predict these things. As a part of my attempts to be healthier, I go to the gym Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Right now I'm focusing on cardio, but I still do a little weights afterward. This week, I kicked things up a notch - doing some interval running on the treadmill. I'd always been afraid that exercising meant not getting any writing done that day because of sheer fatigue, but I've actually found the opposite, as more often than not, I'm energized after a workout and have had better days writing after the gym than on days off.

Not so much yesterday.

The physical energy was there, but mentally, I was completely unfocused. My mind was sluggish, yet jittery at the same time - knowing what I needed to do, but just unable - and unwilling - to commit. Deep down, I know exactly what the problem is: I'm scared as hell of getting into this thing and having it come out shitty. So, to compensate, I do something else, under the guise that "I'm not ready to start just yet" when really I should just dive in and get my feet wet. 

Last night I passed time telling myself I needed to re-study format. It was a legitimate reason - I didn't recall exactly how to proceed, despite having set up a "novel template" eons ago that just needed a few tweaks for short story format - but c'mon, I'm writing this thing in Open Office: I can change all that later. But my fear and overwhelming need to feel like I'm doing everything perfectly from jump kicked in, so re-studying it was.

At the end of the evening, all I had done was made a few adjustments to the template and saved it as "Darkness Walks." Not a single word of story was written, but I convinced myself it was still something major - technically, the book now "exists." The whole save-the-file-name schtick is a gimmick I often use - a mental trick to create "momentum" by actually making a concept "real." It's served me well, but, honestly, it means absolutely nothing if I don't follow it up with something (like, say, 25-30,000 words in this case).

So with no gym today, having taken a nap to sharpen my brain cells and a hot cup of coffee at my side, here's hoping for a better Day Two. Just gotta stop procrastinating, push the jitters aside and get to work--

Though I can't help but feel that maybe I should complete the outline first...

- KS

Sunday, June 3, 2012


Things got off to a scorching start... then cooled down a bit.

But they're warming up again.

The week started with Darkness Walks firmly being a novella series. Installments were being mapped out and I was well on my way to outlining Book One. But a funny thing happened on the way to Chapter One...

Feeling the story was getting a little long in the tooth for my chosen art form, I took some time to actually research novella structure. Like so many others, I imagine, I assumed a novella was nothing more than a short novel. How embarrassing to admit I was totally wrong.

What do you mean, they generally don't have chapters?!

Subplots are a no-no? Really?

Turns out that, like screenwriting, composing a novella has its own set of conventions. Good to know...

So what exactly did I have here? I'll be completely honest as to why I want this to be a novella series: I want out of the rat race, permanently. And I'd love to make money doing something I love to do. Few know this, but I wrote prose before I ever wrote a screenplay. Sure, it wasn't much - short stories based on the week's spelling words in school or a "novel" featuring comic strip characters I'd created (another career I contemplated at one time, except for this nagging little problem of not being able to draw that well) - but it was something, and I enjoyed it. But then I got into movies and that was that...

Until now. However, after my bit of research and looking at what I had outlined, it was obvious that I was heading into novel territory - and that's definitely where I didn't want to be. Novels are beautiful, and I plan to write them at some point - but they just take so damn long to put together, and I'm wanting results as soon as possible. I need them as soon as possible. I need to do if what I'm writing is going to work and if I'm going to be able to make a living do it. I spent eleven years chasing dreams of selling screenplays to no avail; I'm not about to do the same in this avenue.

The cool thing is, though, I won't have to. With the advent and rise of self-publishing and e-platforms like the iPad, Kindle, Nook and others, I can easily place my work before those whom it most matters - the buying public - without having to be stifled by "gatekeepers" at the major and minor publishing houses. And I can learn very quickly what will work and what won't - even quicker if I can figure out what it is I'm writing.

It's simple math. Let's say I take one writer's advice and write three novellas before I place any of them on the market (the idea being that if one is a hit, you immediately have more content to offer - "strike while the iron is hot"): if write a novella 20,000 words long (a suggested length for beginners planning to sell their work on e-platforms; at approximately 250 words per page, it comes out to 80 pages), the three I'd write would total roughly 240 pages, or a novel (some would say a short one at that).

Now, the counterargument would be "If you're going to write three novellas before you drop them, equaling a novel, what's wrong with taking the time to write Darkness Walks as a novel and putting that out?"

My answer? "Who said I was going to wait until I had three in the can?" Remember my need for results and feedback as soon as possible? Do you really think I'm going to wait until I have three novellas written, polished and perfected before I test the waters and see if any of it will sell in the first place? As my non-existent British doppelganger would say, "Not bloody likely."

But that's putting the cart a mile in front of the horse. The material I had built called to be born as a novel, yet I had commercial and temporal considerations that were in direct opposition. Left, right. Oil, water. Republican, Democrat. Tom, Jerry...

Would I actually break one of the writer's most sacred commandments - compromising my story in order to make a quick buck (I mean, I guess it's not that sacred, folks do it all the damn time - but I'm trying to be better than that)?  I couldn't. I just... couldn't. So I resigned myself to the fact that Darkness Walks was going to be a novel - and my impatient, wanna-be-day-job-free self would have to just suck it up and wait. There's no guarantees the thing will sell anyway...

Then today happened. It's funny how a conversation with someone (or even yourself - don't judge me) can lead to the break-though you so desperately need. My lady, Shaundra, asked me if the story was going to remain a novel (I'd expressed my frustrations to her before), seeming excited about the possibility. I again complained about the amount of time it would take, but how I didn't want to damage the story. She asked about writing a novella prequel, but I explained that it wouldn't work given how the story proper begins. Shaundra countered, inquiring if there was a way to take what I had and break it into pieces, essentially releasing a novel, but in installments.  I told her yes, but I'd have to work out how to do that from a story standpoint - part of which meant determining what the conflict would be in each installment.

Shaundra suggested the first part be about Wendy, coming to grips with what she's become and how her life is forever changed. The next book could feature more of the story I already had outlined. I retorted that the whole "coming to grips" thing was what Book One was supposed to be about, and that if I saved her conflict with the pack (or nest? Or flock? I'm not sure what I'm going to call a group of vampires yet) for the second book, then I'd have no conflict for the first one - unless I somehow just made it an internal conflict... 

That flippant response changed everything.

Shaundra asked for clarification, and I posited that the entirety of Book One could be about Wendy dealing with what she's become, while at the same fighting her relentless thirst for blood and the urge to kill those closest to her. Then, as Shaundra suggested, the second book could feature Wendy's conflict with her killers...

Shaundra loved the idea immediately and, the more I thought about it, so did I. She quickly added that with each book I could increase the threat level, at the same time expanding the world of the story. It was perfect - I'd get to keep all the story I'd written, even adding to the total number of books in the series given how the story would be more tightly rationed - and I'd get to stay in novella territory, allowing me to get work on the market quicker, and either reaping the benefits sooner or finding out my time could be better spent without wasting so much of it to find out.

So that's where we are. Earlier in the week on the Facebook page I posted that writing would commence Monday, and I plan on sticking to that. I won't have a completed outline (unless I have a marathon day at the keyboard tomorrow), but I've got more than enough laid out to get the ball rolling.

Should be interesting...

- KS

Monday, May 28, 2012


I mentioned in the previous post a new project that I was really looking forward to working on.

Introducing Darkness Walks -  a vampire novella series.

This project doesn't have an exact moment of genesis; rather, it just kinda came together. But the motivation behind the movement was actually an offhand comment by my girlfriend - and COO of our newly-minted publishing entity, Marquis Literary & Publishing Co. - Shaundra Ray.

As we're always on the lookout for viable additional streams of income, Shaundra came across an article detailing how money could be made in writing short erotic stories for e-reading platforms (Kindle, Nook, iPad, etc.). She brought the idea to me and it sounded interesting - so much so that I came up with a pen name and started generating ideas and series names. But then Shaundra said the thing that would, ultimately, put Darkness Walks into motion - that I could write some of my existing stuff as shorts. At least then I could use my real name.

Sure, it's a simple thought - but one that hadn't occurred to me yet. I heard an initial plan and was all over it, without consideration of any type of modification. It was a great idea, too -

But what would the project be? Lupus Moon had already been outlined with hopes of turning it into a series of NOVELS. I had created another character, an African vampire named Noah, but I had also affixed him in my mind as the star of a different series of books and I just wasn't feeling him for short stories.

Then I remembered another character - a fragment of an idea I had (can't remember why or what exactly inspired it) last year about a teenage vampire who was an orphan (the character didn't even have a name, though she'd eventually come to be called Wendy). I had a few solid ideas for her and no preconceived plans, which made her the perfect subject to experiment on.

Lo and behold, the more I thought about it, the more I cottoned to the idea of a series of novellas (by now I had figured I could just as easily write a novella as a short - and charge a little more for it) featuring Wendy and her adventures as she struggles to come to grips with what she is, and what she must leave behind in order to move forward. Thus Darkness Walks was born.

We have high hopes for this project. I'm excited to work on it, and Shaundra's already started on the marketing plan. As of right now, I'm thinking this will be a seven-installment series, but of course I'm open to doing more as long as there's good stories to tell. Something else I'm really excited about is my plan to "Marvel-ize" my works: Lupus Moon, Darkness Walks and, eventually, Noah's books (and maybe one more demonic character), will all share the same universe - opening the door for potential collaborations and crossovers. I don't have anything to show for it yet, but my mind is already giddy at the prospects of interactions between the brash Alexandria, the timid-but-tortured and reluctant Wendy, and the noble, enigmatic Noah. A lot of stuff to play with there.

Book One is in the outlining stage now, and that, in of itself, is crazy to me: I never thought I'd be writing vampire fiction (I'm more a werewolf man), much less that it would be the likely first project of our own publishing imprint. But with the amount of time it would take to turn out a novella or two versus a full-on novel, that's exactly the case - which is fine with me. If this thing is going to catch on and sell big, I'd like to know as soon as possible. I have a day job that's been pretty good to me - but if I could stay home everyday and do what I love to, and get paid for it...

Time will tell, of course. But I have my heading, we've set sail, and we're moving full speed ahead.

Hope you come along for the ride.



The outline for the novel has been finished for a few weeks now, and it's sitting on the corner of my coffee table, ready to go. I never officially put it on hold; in fact, it's integrated in a new writing schedule I've devised. It's just that it's gotten overshadowed by another project - one I'll detail in a separate post.

I feel good about what I've come up with, and I look forward to laying into the outline and actually bringing Lupus Moon to fruition. I'll admit, I'm daunted by the task; I haven't written in this form in a long time and there a re a lot of really good writers out there - folks whose passages make me want to throw in the towel out of sheer doubt that I could write anything as clever, poetic, or just plain linguistic. But I have a story to tell and that's exactly what I'm going to do.

It may be a while before my next Lupus Moon update, but it doesn't mean I'm not writing. I'm just writing on something else. I look forward to sharing that with you as well.


Sunday, April 8, 2012


It's hard to believe that tomorrow will have been a year to the day since I've written substantially about Lupus Moon.

Where did the time go? I swear I've worked on it in that time. I know I have. I guess whatever I did just wasn't enough to warrant a blog update - but then again, I haven't been very timely with those, either.

But at least I thought about blogging about the book - as evidenced by forgotten-but-recently-recovered notes I scribbled down November 7, 2011 while at training for my job at the time. I had recently made a couple of changes to Alex and the story in an attempt to appeal more to the young adult market (namely making Alex bisexual as opposed to lesbian - opening the door for romantic dalliances with male characters), as I felt they would be the market to best embrace my novel.

Now, looking back, I still like the idea of Alex being bisexual - she's already biracial and half human, half lyca - but I'm still not sure who my market is. Young adult novels (from my limited knowledge of them, anyway) tend to rely heavily on romantic elements in their stories. But then of course there are the Harry Potter books, pulling kids and adults alike in with it's mix of whimsy, wonder and adventure. Sure, there are crushes, but nothing heavy - it's certainly no Twilight. And I don't know enough about the Hunger Games books to comment one way or the other, but I'd presuppose there's not time for romance when you're in fight-'til-the-death tournament.

But Lupus Moon doesn't feature romance (or magic, horcruxes, sparkly vampires, wizards or fallen angels, for that matter). With the change in Alex's sexuality, I'll sure there will be some flirty banter between herself and Neiland (like in the original screenplay treatment), but that's about it. Alex is in Weeping Springs to kill werewolves, and that's really all there is. Will girls embrace a story about a werewolf hunter who does just that, without falling for one of her targets (at least in the first book; future installments are planned, but nowhere near mapped out)? Will boys read a book with a female protagonist, period?

I just don't know. All I know is I simply want to tell a story. My story.

I'm looking forward to digging in on this novel. The thing I like most about this type of project is that it's solitary - unlike filmmaking, where others are involved who could, potentially, gum up the works. The only person who can stop a novel is its creator. In the end, the success or failure of this venture lies solely with one person - me.

I can dig that.

Saturday, March 31, 2012

P90 - Or, "What Had Happened Was..."

So... it's been a while...

Doesn't take a genius (or even Batman) to figure out what happened. Yeah, I dropped the P90 workout. Call it laziness, but I was too damn tired of being too damn tired everyday. So I fell off - both in working out and diet. But not for too long...

I made the decision to go back to what I love - working out in a gym with weights. I've been on a new routine for the past seven weeks and I'm happy to say that not once have I missed a workout (even ran though the rain on a couple days to get where I needed to be). I'm also seeing great results muscle-wise. I decided the best program for me to follow is a three-day split: chest and triceps on Monday, legs and a bit of abs on Wednesday, and back and biceps on Friday. I've been going fairly heavy on the weights, 8-10 reps per set. I've also gone back to a strict diet, but I'll admit, I've softened just a bit in the past couple of weeks.

I'm actually at something of a crossroads at the moment. After seven weeks, I feel like my body needs a short break to fully rest up and recoup, so I'm going to take a week off before getting back to it. We'll see if I make it (a complete reversal of how things went on my P90 campaign). With the advances I've been making, it's going to be hard to be idle, but I think it's best. Everyone who works out knows your muscles grow when at rest, and the last thing I want to do is overtrain, which actually works against your muscle gains.

After my week off, though, I'm thinking of doing a cardio-intensive program, albeit with a bit of weight training to satisfy that muscle-lusting beast inside me. I have a lot of fat that I need to get rid of (the scale is a constant reminder of that) and no amount of dieting and weights alone is going to get it off me. So although I have something of a love-rather not-hate relationship with cardio, it's a necessary evil to look the way I want to. So time to stop running from it and just plain run (or walk briskly at a moderate incline).

The bottom line is that I'm working. P90 may not have been the route for me at this time, but what counts is finding what works for you and going balls-to-the-wall with it. Though I will say that "Insanity" workout looks interesting.

Maybe one day...

Thursday, January 19, 2012

P90, Day 13 (16)

This really shouldn't be an entry.

I didn't feel like it today. Not one bit. I'm totally drained and bushed. I didn't feel like following my diet today, either - hence the delicious Burger King we had for dinner. Funny thing is, I probably didn't go too far overboard calorie-wise, given my other meals today.

Maybe I'll be back on for weights tomorrow...

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

P90, Day 12 (15)

I'm seeing steady progress. I was able to kick my left leg back and grab my ankle for a quad stretch. For some reason, I've been able to do it with my right leg for a while, but that blasted left joint kept eluding me. I still need to learn to breathe better, though; I got really light-headed after the workout.

Afterward, I hit up two scoops of protein powder, since I did weights. I might do that from now on. It's still just me, though - no Shaundra to be seen. Still, I worked hard and pushed through, which isn't as hard for me to do when it's an upper-body workout. I really get into it, especially arms and pushups, envisioning the body I want...

But as for cardio tomorrow, I can't make any promises.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

P90, Day 11 (14)

I did not, I say, DID NOT want to do cardio today. And guess what?

I wound up having a great workout. Guess it just "bees" that way sometimes...

Monday, January 16, 2012

P90, Day 10 (13)

Um, yeah...

So what's with the ( ) in the title? No use lying about it.

I reluctantly got back on track after taking a few days away. The combination of the day job and working out afterward is proving brutal. Hard to believe there's some people who do all this and have kids.


It would help if I got proper amounts of rest as well. But damn, I want to have some kind of life. The weekends just aren't long enough to get everything done that you need to. Guess that's everyone's always talking about how busy they are. I used to think they were bullshitting, trying to make themselves sound more important they they really were.

But now I know they were telling the truth.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

P90, Day 9

Another weight day.

I noticed that I'm getting stronger. That's a good thing. Goes a long way toward keeping my motivation up. It's hard enough to keep this up, but if I'm not seeing/feeling results, what's the point?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

P90, Day 8

Cardio. Sigh. At least I did it. And that's about all I can say about that.

Monday, January 9, 2012

P90, Day 7

Today's workout left me in a good news/bad news situation...

The good news? I had a strong session where I made some nice progress over the last weight routine and left me feeling pretty strong.

The bad news? I'm also feeling it in a different way - and it's only Monday. Five more days to go. Already an uphill battle.


Sunday, January 8, 2012

P90, Day 6

Technically, today was supposed to be our off day, but between Shaundra having to work until 4 (her schedule has her working on Saturdays) and the Texans playoff game (we won!), we wound up pushing Day 6 until today - meaning we now will be working out seven days in a row. Hey, it is what it is. Might as well man up and hit it.

I don't know if it was the day off or if we're starting to ever so slightly adjust to the workouts, but today's session went pretty well. We were both able to do more than the previous go 'round and we weren't quite as slagged afterward. I think it also had something to do with us doing it in the morning while we were still fresh, as opposed to in the evening after a day at work. Either way, it was a solid workout and it felt good to finish the first week. Tomorrow it's back to weights, so I'm really looking forward to that. If I didn't know any better, I'd say I'm seeing some small changes in my muscles already - though I'd attribute that to muscle memory and my previous weight training history. I didn't think I'd see, much less feel, results this fast, but it's awesome nonetheless.

Now if I could only get that scale to start going down...

Friday, January 6, 2012

P90, Day 5

Tired as hell, but I made it through. And I managed to bounce back from the "shambacle" that was yesterday. Not only that - I did better on the weight routine than I did Wednesday, so I'm already showing progress. And I'm already feeling the soreness - or is it the aggregated soreness from the entire week?

All I know is I have one more day in this first week, then I'm off Sunday. And I'm gonna relax - HARD. Don't nobody call me, text me or ask me for shit - 'cause it ain't gettin' done. I'm just gonna sit back, relax and sleep (with a few breaks to eat, work on my novel and web series and cheer the Houston Texans on to their first playoff victory - GO TEXANS!).

But first I gotta eat.

Damn, I could really go for a cheeseburger right now...

Thursday, January 5, 2012

P90, Day 4

Shammed my ass through the workout today. The mind was willing, but the body... not so much. I made it though, but it's nothing to write home about. At least I kept moving and didn't give in to the temptation to turn the video off halfway and say "at least I did some of it."

Yay for small victories.

And to think, this is a six-day-a-week program. (Sigh...) I know things will get better. They have to. I'm just going to keep pushing forward and let my will lead the way - even if my bastard-ass body says otherwise.

Two more days. Just two more long, agonizing days and I can take a day off. It can't come fast enough and it won't last long enough. Whoever coined the phrase "no pain, no gain" was definitely onto something...

But for right now, they can go suck it. 

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

P90, Day 3

So far, so good...

We did the sculpting routine again today. I did a bit better this time - especially given the fact that I was pretty damn tired from the job as well as the previous two workouts. But progress is progress and I'll take it. An old friend of mine joked that I wasn't going to be able to move later this week. While I won't argue with that possibility, I'm not there yet, so for now I'm gonna keep kicking - which is actually part of tomorrow's routine.


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

P90, Day 2

We did the Level 1-2 cardio abs workout today, And it kicked my ass from the start. I thought I was just a little sore from yesterday, but wrong answer! I couldn't even do all of the power yoga - and that was at the start of the workout. My disdain for cardio only deepened today, but it's due to the fact that I sucked so badly at it. Shaundra warned me the workout was no punk. That was an understatement.

Things can only go up from here. Tomorrow brings another round of sculpting with weights. Much more my element, but with the mounting soreness from yesterday and today (which, I might add, is worse), I don't expect a banner day. At this point, it's just about making it through...

Monday, January 2, 2012

A New Journey: P90, Day 1

A new year. New resolutions. For some, anyway...

I've been working out for a while in a bid to put on muscle and lose fat. I wouldn't call myself a muscle head - far from it, actually - but I've been living something of a bodybuilder's lifestyle. Or at least attempting to. I've had some success; one look at me and it's obvious I've passed the weight rack a few times, and I even had a co-worker ask if I trained because I walked like a fighter. But that same glance made it painfully clear that I indulged in too much of the wrong kinds of food as well, as evidenced by my weight this morning of 257 pounds (I''m 5'9").

Having tried fruitlessly to lose weight through dieting (I just figured out I'm an endomorph, to whom carbs are truly an enemy - and which I've been eating plenty of), Shaundra suggested I join her in a round of Power 90 she planned to start at the beginning of the year in her own next-gen attempt to slim down. No, not the nice, shiny P90X or even the hot-off-the-presses P90X2. The original, over-a-decade-old program, which we have on (gasp!) VHS. I was reluctant at first - I know weights and I'm comfortable with them, but workout videos and I have never gotten along. Plus I didn't want to "waste time' on something that wasn't going to help me bulk my muscles up. But three things changed my mind: the chance to workout with my girl, the fact that nothing else I had tried for fat loss worked and, frankly the fact that I was TOTALLY and COMPLETELY wrong about what P90 could do for my physique. (I mean, have you seen the size of some of the guys who've used the program?)

Shaundra's plan was to start with the original program, and work our way up to the more advanced ones. Sounded great to me. So today was our first day - several sculpting routines using weights. Not the amount of iron I'm used to working with, but perfect given the number of sets and reps. I was confident I'd do fine, but common sense told me not to underestimate the routine.

And I'm glad I didn't.

I usually get sore the morning after a workout. But today I was sore immediately after it. It wasn't too bad at first, but it quickly progressed. It's not the worst I've been - far from it - but it makes me realize I wasn't in the shape I thought I was muscle-wise and that this will be anything but a cakewalk. And to think, this isn't even P90X.

Tomorrow is cardio abs. I'm not a lover of cardio. At all. And I hate running. Needless to say I'm not looking to it. But if in the next 90 days I'm able to transform myself into the lean, ripped machine I've always wanted to be, then it will all be worth it.

Let's just hope I live long enough to see it. ;)