Happy Monday, y’all. You know, inspiration is a weird thing when you’re a writer; sit and wait around for it before writing and you’re bound to be disappointed. Sometimes it also abandons you even as you churn out page after page, leaving you to flounder for the right path forward through a story and yet you have to go on just the same because the alternative is leaving the page blank and allowing your precious time on Earth to slowly drain away.
And yet…sometimes it all fires. I have a confession: I really didn’t understand what would happen in the last third of City of the Dead. Oh, I knew exactly how the book ended and how that closing led to Portal of the Dead – that stuff’s been set in stone since 2011, but I didn’t know how the story got from Brooklyn to the City outskirts and from there to the temple in the center of the City. I also didn’t fully understand the nature of the City itself.
This is not as much of a problem as it might sound, however; I always knew that the City was tied to the subconscious, more a city of impressions and wild flights of fancy than concrete and mortar, so it seemed to make the most sense to rely on my imagination to fill in the gaps as the story proceeded. It can become something of a high-wire act. Will the answers come to you, or will you have to drag them out?
Funny thing happened, though: the answers began to appear in my dreams. On Friday night, in a dream, I found myself in a strange version of Washington, DC where the names of neighborhoods and towns shifted from one to the other. As those names changed, so too did the natures of the worlds that I inhabited. In one, the Metro train looked like ours. In another, it was made of brass, and so on. I ended up thoroughly confused and unsure of how to proceed. It was a pretty upsetting dream, but upon awakening I realized that this was the answer – this was the nature of the City of the Dead, and with that nature clarified, the history of the City laid before me. I jumped out of bed and wrote nearly a thousand words on that history.
That history pointed the way toward a chunk of the story. One of the major components had always been a race against time to learn the history of the city before something terrible happened. Now I understand that history and the nature of the obstacles that the characters must overcome to learn that history.
A large chunk of the City portion remained unsolved, however. I had no fear when it came to writing that, but I really had no idea how it would unfold. Until last night, at least, when I had a series of nightmares that seem to correspond to questions about identity and security – just the sort of questions that the character facing these trials would need to answer. I’ve been frantically writing down the nature of those dreams since, as they represent the missing pieces of the story.
So, two nights, two sets of dreams, and a large portion of the story is laid bare. That’s what I call inspiration, folks. You never know where it will strike, but when it does, you have to grab hold of it.
Now then. Yesterday was a fairly important day, as it marks the beginning of my Spring marketing endeavors. Yesterday was the Kensington Day of the Book Festival in Kensington, Maryland. We arrived around 10:30 yesterday morning and, after some confusion on our table location, got things set up. I had had some concerns about the new table layout, but I think it turned out just fine:
Sales were pretty flat, but I’ve come to realize that these shows aren’t necessarily about sales. They’re about making connections with readers, other authors, and promoters especially. I was approached about a few different promotions which could bear fruit in the near future and made some new author friends. Given that I had set out expecting not to make much of anything and just show my public face, those were a nice bonus. I’m hoping that the May show is a little busier and we make a little more money, but this is a slow build and just making people aware of my name right now is very important. I’ll update you guys as the marketing progresses.