Cute Butt

Cute ButtFrom the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Generally speaking, when I’m in work mode on a Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price project, I become very focused. That isn’t just when I’m writing a Hadley first draft manuscript or editing them with my Editor, Christine Piesyk, but also when I have a Skype work session with our cover artist, Keith Wood.

The next Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price book will not be a novel. It will be a Hadley short story collection. To embellish on those short stories, Keith will not just be doing the book cover art work- as he has with all the other Hadley Price novels -but also some black and white line illustrations art work to embellish on the short stories through out the book.

For the most part, the short stories have been written, edited and compiled. I need to come up with one more, but other than that, the writing part is pretty much done.

The next step is the book cover art work and the inside illustrations. Don’t get me started on the cover art. It’s looks freakin’ fantastic! Keith isn’t done with it yet, but oh man, I really like what I see and hope you’ll dig it too. And that’s all I’ll say about that for right now.

The real reason I’m writing this, is to tell you how Keith did something during our shared-screen Skype convo over the weekend that totally busted my work-mode bubble- in the most enjoyable way. My professional focus was shattered. And instead of being two mature adult men who are very serious genre content creators, for a couple minutes we both lapsed into just being a couple of guys. A couple of guys- with no women around.

What he did do to get me so flustered? I’ve sent him some of the short stories to read to get his take on any visuals from them. And we started in on that. I told him my idea for an Illustration for one of them. Off-screen he got out his sketch board and pencil and drew what my idea was. That gets scanned into his computer and his wonderful hard-line comic book style is brought out in that, digitally. But I just saw a scan of the pencil drawing. And upon seeing it, I laughed out loud.

Why? In that quick-drawn picture, Hadley and her Vampire lover, Nathan have their backs to the viewer. I won’t say what else is in the picture. This is a spoiler-free zone. But in it, Nathan’s a tall stalwart man and Hadley is the much shorter, petite woman.

And in that rear-view, in Keith’s quick-drawn picture, Hadley has the most adorable, cute-sex butt! It was the very first thing I noticed. And I couldn’t take my eyes off it. In our Skype convos both Keith and I have several windows running between us that we go back and forth on and trade off on share-screen. For like two solid minutes, however, I kept going back to that illustration. Hadley’s cute butt fascinated me. And with that fascination my work-mode professionalism crumbled. My work focus- Poof! -gone. I was just a guy and Keith was just a guy and there was a Hadley’s cute butt.

Strictly from a technical stand point, it shouldn’t have surprised me. Keith’s anatomy is really quite good in what he does. He pro-actively studies the Human form and it shows in his work. Particularly the female form. So why not a cute-sexy butt of a petite Vampire in tight jeans? I just didn’t expect to see something so beautiful while in serious work mode. It kind of threw me for a loop.

Look for Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price: The Short Story Collection Volume One, coming to you early in 2019 for your fun-spooky Vampire reading pleasure.

Until then, catch up on all the other Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books here-

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerank

The Value of Writing Self-indulgent Crap

self

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

The value of writing self-indulgent crap…

I find myself in the curious position as a writer where other writers have asked me to read their work. The first few times I was asked I said, yeah, sure, I’ll read your stuff.

Wrong response. I don’t do that anymore.

I won’t name any names here. But the one of them was obviously a young person. Their stuff was just undisciplined ranting. Look at me. My life is a terrible thing. Everyone hates me. It was self-indulgent crap writing. Yes, there is some good youthful angst writing out there. Great existential story telling. But this person’s stuff wasn’t it. Just because this person threw in the F-word at least once per paragraph didn’t make him edgy. It just made him a mediocre writer.

Another was a more mature person who tried their hand at book-length writing. The manuscript was in excess of fifty thousand words. The length alone, it seemed to me, proved how serious he was about it all. Being serious and having writing talent, however, are not the same thing. His writing was truly awful. It wasn’t anything in terms of content. No. He didn’t even get that far. I couldn’t get past three pages because his technical was so bad. Simple sentence structure and grammar. At the beginning of page one he wrote something and at the end of page one he wrote something else that contradicted that. All on page one. This wasn’t a case of giving this guy a few pointers on the technical side of writing. He needed to go back to school and learn the basics that he obviously didn’t get the first time around. This too was self-indulgent crap because this guy impressed himself with his word count.

After those two I now tactfully refuse any requests to read another writer’s work. They say they want constructive critizism but many want nothing more that an ego stroke. They want to hear how great their writing is. I will no longer be put in the cumbersome position of figuring out what to say to someone who just doesn’t have the write chops yet.

With both of them, I didn’t tell them how bad their writing was. Instead, I encouraged them to continue to write. Hopefully, they each got the implied message that their writing would improve with more experience.

Someone else will have the responsibility of telling them that their writing has not yet reached a minimum level of professionalism. Hopefully, someone who cares enough to be honest with that person will tell them that they’ll be embarrassed if they release their stuff to the public and risk future damage to their author reputation.

No one in the public wants to read inferior quality, self-indulgent crap writing.

So self-indulgent crap writing is a wastes of time, right?

No.

Consider this- one way to improve the quality of your writing is to go through a period of time when you all you write is self-indulgent crap. A personal journal. Really bad poetry. Short stories that just aren’t that good. It’s the time to just bang out a few tens of thousands of words and just get comfortable with the medium. Likewise, it’s the time to get the ego under control and out of the way. When it comes to writing, the only way to learn is by doing. Sure, some mentoring is needed to get a handle on the technical. But to get good at writing, there’s no short cuts. You just have to do it…and do it…and do it. A lot. Over a period of time.

And if that doing-it over a period of time is just self-indulgent crap, then that self-indulgent crap has value. Why? Certainly not as something that someone else would enjoy reading. No. Hell no. It has value because it gets one past the baptism of fire needed to become, not just a writer wanna-be, but a true professional author.

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Get your copies of Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novels by W. J. Onufer, including the new nook in the series, The Family Eternal: Part Two, here-

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerank

An author hitting the wall of The Peter Principle?

P Princ

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Gather around my friends as I tell you the tale of how this author (me) hit the wall of the Peter Priciple…

One of the promotional vehicles I have in place to get the word out on my Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books is the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Short Story Collection on my Mixcloud page.

It’s been up for about a year and a half now and only within the last few days have I noticed something there that brought my attention to a classic case of the Peter Principle.

What’s the Peter Principle? It’s the name of the classic business/sociology book by Dr. Laurence Peter published in 1970. The Peter Principle says that “people in a hierarchy tend to rise to their level of incompetence.” So, in any given situation, just because you’re good at one in that, doesn’t mean that you’ll be good at everything in that situation. Yes…yes…I know, I’m over simplify the Peter Principle and kind of imposing my interpretation on that. But just follow me on this.

I write the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books. The three main characters are- the Vampire Hadley Price, her monogamous lover the Vampire Nathan Hughes and their daughter, the young Vampire Svetlana Magnovska. Svetlana speaks English with a Russian accent. And it is precisely because of how Svetlana speaks that I hit the wall of the Peter Principle.

As a break between writing Hadley full-length novels, I’ve been writing Hadley short stories. The tentitive plan is to release those in a compilation book of those short stories sometime next year. Currently, and, as I’ve mentioned, some (not all) those are posted as a FREE audio narration on the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Short Story Collection on Mixcloud.

Hadley Price is always the central figure but in the short stories she is not always the featured character. In other words, all the action relates directed to Hadley, even know in some of those short stories she may not always up front and present.

I mention that because Svetlana is in a few of those Hadley short stories. In two of them, she is the featured character. I love writing Svetlana, the young Vampire who’s still kind of new to it all who is mentored by Hadley Price, the powerful Vampire known as the Guardian Angel. It’s a lot fun to write them and Nathan and how, sometimes Svetlana needs help to speak English correctly. And at the risk of tooting my own horn, I’m getting kind of good at doing that.

Here it the point where I hit the Peter Principle wall.

In farting around in the prep-work to post The Protected Human, the next addition to the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Short Story Collection, I went to my Mixcloud page. For some reason, I noticed something that I just didn’t see before- none of those narrated stories had Svetlana in them- even know I’ve written Hadley short stories that feature her. Most of that audio is Hadley and Nathan. There is nothing posted there where Svetlana shows up.

There’s a very good reason for that. I have risen to the level of my incompetence.

I do all the narration for the Tales of The Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Short Story Collection myself. I’m hardly a professional voice actor. But I’ve gotten to a point where I can fake Hadley and Nathan’s way of talking.

But try as I might, I simply can not narrate in Svetlana’s Russian accent. Or at least one that semi-believable. And certainly not one of a Vampire who looks like a twenty-year-old Human young woman. And that, while I’m the one directly responsible for writing her that way. All trys at that were aweful. If I posted me doing Svetlana talking I would just embarrass myself and take a huge hit on Hadley’s franchise by coming off so amateurish. Once I noticed that- and how could I not, it was really damn obvious -I made the decision to not post anything with Svetlana in it on Mixcloud. She only appears in Hadley’s books.

So I’m an expert when it comes to knowing these characters. I writing them with a voice of authority. I’m kind of getting good at it. After doing that for so many years I have no excuse for not getting better at it. I created the Hadley-verse and I’m quite comfortable there. In this end of the situation, I’m fairly competent.

But none of that prepared me for trying speak like Svetlana.

Pow! Busted! Textbook perfect example of the Peter Principle.

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A FREE listen to the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Short Story Collection here-

Get your copies of Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books here-

 

Which is more challenging?

Family-Eternal-2-Cover-v2-HiResFrom the desk of W. J. Onufer…

A question for all the writers. Which is more challenging- when your Editor makes a lot changes to your first draft…or when they make minimal changes?

My Editor, Christine Piesyk, lives in Clarksville, Tenn. I live in Chicopee, Mass. We edit anything I write together. When I make the trip to Clarksville, we do that together, in the same room, line-by-line. But most editing is done via share screen on Skype.

I mention that, because, this past weekend. Christine took a lookee-see at a short story I wrote, again via Skype. Christine and I go way back. She is, in the very real sense, my writing mentor. Now she’s my Editor. In all the highs and lows of putting out the Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price books since the first one came out in 2015, Christine has been with me for the whole strange trip that it’s been. That means, early on, she’s seen my writing when it’s needed…help. And over the years my writing has improved- mostly because of the doses of humillity Christine has issued me in that time.

It’s not fun but I’m sort of used to those doses of humillity by now. I’m used to Christine pointing out stuff that needs to be rewritten, chopped-out entirely and sometimes, simply trashed and start over. She gives it to me straight when something is working and when it isn’t. And frankly, I count on her for that. We’ve gotten to the point, however, where I get it right more times than not now. Christine didn’t change anything in that short story this weekend. She did correct some spelling. (I’m a writer not a speller.) But no revisions. No rewrites. No moving copy around.

And that, my writer fiends, is more challenging than when Christine goes up one side and down the other on me, on all the things I get wrong. It’s a mini-freak-out of the most enjoyable kind. I got it right? All of it? Seriously?

The only thing more challenging than failure, is success.

I really don’t have any excuse for producing crappy writing. But i’m sure if I do, Christine will let me know.

What has your experience been in this reguard? Which is more challenging- the ego-crushing corrections of your Editor…or the scary new expectations of having to maintain that new level of writing quality when your Editor’s red pen appears less frequently?

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerank

A Curious Thing Is Happening

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

Since the release of my most recent novel earlier this year, I’ve turned my keyboard activities to writing short stories. After the release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, the new Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, I felt as if I should jump right back into it and get started on the massive amount of work that goes into completing the first draft of the next book in the series.

https://store.bookbaby.com/book/The-Family-Eternal-Part-Two

I had some ideas, but for some reason, the flow just wasn’t there. It wasn’t jelling. I was forcing it. My Editor told that I should get way from it for a while. Take a break. Come back fresh.

Now those of you, like me, who have continuing characters in your books, know that you can’t just shut that off. You know that your characters talk to you all the time. Hadley’s never very far away from me and demands my attention when she wants to show or tell me something. My temporary inability to put that into words in a long-form novel is on me, not her.

Some might say that I’m having a bout of Writer’s Block. But it’s not exactly that. Writer’s Block is when you don’t have any ideas. But with me, Hadley’s still around. My little Vampire gal muse hasn’t abandoned me. She still talking to me. I’m just not ready quite yet to jump into the deep end of the pool of starting to writing the next book.

So with Hadley still around, I’ve taken to writing Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price short stories. Small, briefer, self-contained pieces that are more concise and quicker to the point. And Hadley I have written several since the beginning of the year- some of which I’ve recorded for our Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Short Story collection on Mixcloud.

https://www.mixcloud.com/warren-onufer/

I’m actually having a lot of fun with this short story format. It’s a totally different kind of writing than novel-length books. And initailly at least, it took some getting used to. My Editor keeps telling me that, in short stories, I need to get to the point much quicker. Short stories are a zero tangent zone.

But in writing these short stories, a curious thing is happening-

While writing them, I find that I’m doing something within that, on a consistant basis. This aspect of it is nothing I’m overtly aware of doing. It’s nothing I planned nor made any concerted effort to have this result. But that result is absolutely consistent. It works out the same every time.

That consistency is this: My short stories are never less than 7 pages and never more than 9 pages. Yes. Short and concise.

We all know that 1,000 words is 4 pages, give or take, when you double space on the first draft. So all my short stories clock-out right around the 2,000 word mark.

Every. Single. Time. Without fail.

I finished the first draft on a new one this past evening that came out to 2,200 words- yes, that exact number -and just about a paragraph short of completing 8 pages.

Has anyone else experienced this? A consistency is your writing that you have no awareness of, until you become aware of it? Something that stays the same, with nothing in the way of being pro-active on your part to make that happen?

Family-Eternal-2-Cover-v2-HiRes

Don’t get cocky

From the desk of W. J. Onufer…

While waiting for the pending release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, the next Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novel, I’ve been working on some Hadley short stories. Those short stories can be heard in a free listen on our Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price Narrated Story Collection on our Mixcloud page.

This after noon I got together with with my Editor, Christine Piesyk, on Skype. She in Clarksville, Tenn. and me in Chicopee, Mass. (Both in the USA) I had two short stories done and we shared screen to look over them for an edit.

Now I’m used to getting a little beat up by Christine in any editing session. Frankly, I count on her to do that. The longer amount of time that I write, the less that happens. It doesn’t matter how good a writer thinks their stuff is, a good Editor can always improve it. And by now, I’m sort of used to the doses of humilty- to a lesser or great degree -that Christine gives me when we edit my stuff.

But oh man, did Christine slap me around really good on one of those two short stories! She make huge changes. No, she didn’t change the story plot. But she did change how the story was told. It all felt like years ago, when I was first starting out and Christine edited the hell out of everything I wrote. Christine isn’t just my Editor, she and I are also decades-long friends and she was along with me back then. But now, I’m an author who is about the release his 4th novel. I should be past all that new-bie stuff, right?

Not so. Christine made extensive changes to my first draft manuscript of that short story. We actually got to the point where she was writing stuff to add into it. She never does that. In our edits she may change my words, but they’re MY words. She added stuff that were her words. Her original sentences. And I couldn’t deny that her words made the telling of the story so much better. Before we were even done, I told her that I would share the byline on this. Yes, her original writing made that much of a difference and I simple had to give credit where credit is due.

So I was a battered writer who’s ego took a huge hit when we went to edit the second of the two short stories. I was ready for further abuse. Was I getting too cocky thinking that I could just throw some words down and a great story would just happen? I was concerned that I may have gotten to that point. I was concerned that I was starting to write garbage and didn’t know it.

But after a quick look through on my second short story- which lasted about fifteen minutes, a much lesser amount of time than the first – Christine said, “This isn’t half bad.” Allow me to translate that from Editor-Speak. It mean: “This is a good story, well written.” We breezed through that second short story with minimal changes. Humility accepted. Ego on the mend. Single byline intact.

This proved to me, that while I am, in fact, an author about to release his 4th novel, I am still capable of writing garbage. It’s a reminder to keep the cockyness in check. Don’t get sloppy.

Get your copies of Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novels, in paper book or ebook, here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerank

 

 

 

The Family Eternal: Part Two book cover reveal coming soon!

Before the release of The Family Eternal: Part Two, catch up on the other Tales of the Vampire Hadley Price novels, here:

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=dp_byline_sr_pop_book_1?ie=UTF8&text=W.+J.+Onufer&search-alias=books&field-author=W.+J.+Onufer&sort=relevancerankTFE2 cover reveal tease