Thursday, April 24, 2014

Top 10 Most Often Asked Questions and Update on Riders and Kickers

Saint having a bad day by D.Candia
This week, I am working hard on a long short story that I am writing with longtime reader and friend, Eve. We wrote this story a looong time ago, back when the original plan was to enter a comic book treatment to DC’s Zuda Comics project. Just as we were putting it together, the Zuda project folded and ended, leaving us with a half-written story and some illustrations by Diego Candia.

We never re-wrote the story as straight fiction. So we are remedying that oversight and plan to put it and the illustrations into the upcoming Five Dollar Mail anthology, Riders and Kickers.My plan is to get Riders and Kickers out this year, as a bit of a buffer while I finish up Book Three.

The story is a bit of a story inside a story inside a story. I really want to concentrate on that until it’s done, so I’m taking a break from the regular chapter posting this week. I am hoping I’ll be done with it by next week, or at least at a place where I can get back to the main tale. If not, by the following week for sure.

In the meantime, here’s something I write some time back; a series of questions I get asked a lot. Hope you find it at least a little interesting!


1. Aren’t you afraid someone is going to steal your work?
No. I have a ton of witnesses and proof that I am the creator and owner of this. Since the adoption in the States of the Berne Convention, you don’t really need paperwork to secure your copyright anymore. Furthermore, someone would have to sit there and read it and then go through all this hassle in order to copy it, re-issue it, and then lie about it.

Don’t get me wrong, it’s certainly possible and I am sure it probably happens every now and then. But in all honesty, it would be less hassle to just write a novel than it would be to steal mine. My site gets scraped all the time, and I’ve found the published books on BitTorrent and Pirate Bay. While yes, it’s a little irksome, but at the core of it, I don’t care. I’m throwing the draft out here for free, so I can hardly get too bent over it.

I’m honestly not so egotistical that I think plagiarists are champing at the bit to steal my work. Seriously. I consider myself lucky if I can get someone to read it in the first place.

2. Is George “Wash” Monahan based on Wash from Firefly?
This is going to sound like a bald-faced lie, but no. Hand on a stack of Bibles, he’s not. Back when rocks were soft...and maybe a decade before Firefly came out (again, I have witnesses), Wash was two characters: A good natured Irish coach driver named Happy Tom Ranahan, and his trail partner, a sharpshooter named George Washington “Wash” Perkins (both names came from real historical people, so I changed them when I got serious about writing). I took traits from both characters (particularly the name, which tickled the hell out of me) and created the present character of Wash Monahan.

And the reason he’s similar to the Firefly character was because I honestly didn’t think about it. I put this story down a very, VERY long time ago. Then Firefly happened. And then I picked it back up again years after Firefly ended. It was stupid of me, but I truly wasn’t thinking about Hoban Washburne when I pulled this story back out and dusted it off. It’s an awkward, irksome coincidence. And by the time I realized it, I also realized George Monahan was wildly popular among my readers. So it was too late to change him all that much.

The creative process that is responsible for this story would take more time and interest than either of us have for me to recount. Just suffice it to say the road to get here wasn’t straight and well-paved. So now I am doomed to constantly have to tell artists “for the love of all that is holy, please do not make him look like Alan Tudyk.” I think it was Angela who asked me, “Have you ever seen Firefly?” I just sent a message back that said “Curse your sudden and inevitable betrayal.”

3. How much of the story is based on real events or real people?
Some of the characters are based ideas I got from history books and then put my own creative spin onto them. All of them are original characters, but I may have had a name, or a cool story or tidbit about a real  person that set my imagination off.

Obviously, the Pony Express, the Paiute War, and the events surrounding the Pyramid Lake/Williams Station massacre were real historical events that I have incorporated into the story. And I understand Ham’s Fork really was a dump.

All the places are real, although they have been filtered through the lens of what I think they might have been like.

4. How do you feel about fanfiction or fan art? How about smutty fanfiction or fan art?
I love it. Someone sends me something like that, I cannot tell you what an absolute rush that is for me. Seeing my world through someone else’s eyes is amazing, because it allows me to sit back and be surprised by my own world. And it’s just such a gift to me that someone liked FDM so much they took the time to sit down and be creative and share something back with me.  

As for the “smutty” part of the question, my answer stands. I am not a proud woman. The reason you are not finding links on my site that lead to smut is because nobody’s written any. Because if they did, there would be. I wouldn’t host it on my site simply because I don’t want to go to an adult content rating. But I would set it up somewhere else and link to it in a heartbeat. So if any of you are wondering if smutty stories or art about my characters would offend me, the answer is no. It would not.
5. Do you have the story planned out from the beginning or do you make it up as you go?
No, it’s pretty heavily plotted out. That’s not to say I don’t add stuff here and there, but I stay pretty true to the plan as I go.

6. Why would you give away all this work for free?
Why not? It started it out as a fun thing to do for myself, to force me to keep writing on a schedule, and to practice and hone my craft. That it became popular was a very pleasant surprise! And anyways, I have no delusions of grandeur. I am an unknown indie writer in a vast ocean of same. And it’s a Western, the hardest genre to sell. Simply getting someone to read a single, free chapter was and is a challenge. You cannot sell what you can’t even give away. I want people to discover the world of Five Dollar Mail. If they have have so much fun here they want to buy a book, great! If not, well, I still hope they have fun here, and maybe pass on some good word of mouth.

7. How’s that working out for you?
It’s actually working out great, believe it or not. I realize it sounds counter-intuitive, but it’s a whole lot easier to plunk down .99 cents and read this book, cleaned up, edited, and polished on your Kindle (or for a little more, as a trade paperback ) than it is to slog all over this huge, messy site and have to deal with my mistakes and typos. So I do not believe it’s hurt my book sales one bit.

8. How can I donate?
I don’t have anything set up for donations, but you can support the Five Dollar Mail by sharing this around to people who might like it, leaving comments, and giving out some good press. And, of course, you can buy a book and get something to keep for your money. I’ve priced them as cheaply as Amazon will let me!

9. Can I have a spoiler?
No, indeedy.

10.  Do you ever get writer’s block?
I don’t know. I’d be more inclined to call it “not feeling like writing” or “inability to focus” or just plain “stress causing my brain to empty out”. Usually, I can fix it by writing something else (which is where all these backstories came from, at least at first.) Do I go through long periods of not being able to write? No, because even if I’m having a hard time getting serious about the story at hand, I don't seem to have any trouble banging out something else. So my muse doesn’t fail to inspire me, but he does want what he wants and can be kind of a jerk about it.

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