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Bunny McBoobs, My First Book Failure

March 15, 2013 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, Not Exactly Random, Plot, The Craft  4 Comments

I wrote a book and it was fan-fiction. I wanted to see if I could plot without worrying about characterization.

And I could! I promptly shoved the book under the bed after having one of the kids draw a cover for it. Literally, it’s under the bed.

My second book I completely threw caution to the wind. I wrote a near-future science fiction book about a hot blonde teen girl named Bunny who was a polymath with an eidetic memory, living in a Washington coastal town during an economic downturn. The town had a nasty past, an “interesting” relationship with the local Indian tribe and… a vampiric alien.

It was a weird-ass book, but man, after a revision, I nailed the character voicing and the action scenes. I was fearless and it was way off the rails.

And I realized I could not sell it. This was not a book to launch a writing career as a novelist.

This book was important in that it was the first book I sent to beta readers. It broke through that wall most writers put around themselves when they are in that “this is a bit of crap but its good enough to get feedback.” zone. On one hand, you have to set your fears of your writing chops and worry that you’re using your friends aside and get feedback.

On the other, you need a dose of reality.

After the revisions I realized that I loved that book. I loved it very much. But I didn’t love it enough to sell it. In a sense, I picked the wrong book to write or the right book at the wrong time. This was a failure, in a way. I spent almost a year on it.

Ah, well. If you’re not making mistakes, you’re not learning anything.

But someday I will come back to Bunny. Cause Bunny rules.

Bunny McBoobs

Bunny McBoobs

Contest Entry

March 01, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Atmosphere, The Craft  0 Comments

Contest entry for author Natalie Whipple’s Weather Contest.

Post a link to yours in the comments!

***

Terrance was dreaming about the war again. Each one was different, and this one carried with it an aura of menace, taunting him in his sleep. The only thing constant about the dreams was the weather.

In this dream, the tank wing stopped at the start of the carnage, and they all got out and shut down the tanks, so it was quiet. Sixteen men walked through the blasted Iraqi armor, trucks and tents. The Iraqi dead lay everywhere. In the blasted tanks, the blown trucks, lying out of the tents, strewing this way and that, bodies mangled unbelievably, hundreds of bodies all in name only. To an objective observer, they were just parts. The sand was wet with their blood, the air smelled like burnt metal, burn bodies, burnt fuel, the tang of blood and viscera, and yes, even fear and terror. The wind carried an eerie sound, mostly the tenor of burning accompanied by the whooshing and whirling moans of the breeze low across the sand. When it blew across his face, he could taste death. The sky was a sickly gray-yellow, the sun more of a suggestion.

Perhaps, if it rained in his dreams, he would stop coming back to the desert.

It never rained when he was in the desert, and so his memories would never wash away.  All they did was congeal, like blood.

Low-Hanging Fruit

February 15, 2010 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Characterization, The Craft  2 Comments

The alien peered through her Schmidt & Bender 3-12×50 Police Marksman LP Riflescope at the meat below.

Her favorite human killing rifle was a Bushmaster Predator in 5.56/.223. She liked the barrel length, and the 1:8 twist was perfect for her Hornady 75 grain 5.56 TAP rounds. The rifle and optic were, in her mind, perfect. Each magazine held 30 rounds (although she only filled hers to 29), and her vast experience with firearms centered on having as much ammunition as she could carry.

The rifle had other advantages, mainly the optic was a superb light gather and the reticule was an outstanding visual interface to her internal sight augmentation program. The rifle did not have any fancy bells and whistles. She had a simple sling on it, and that was all. Low-recoil, lightweight and very accurate, the 20” barrel was fluted and bled heat at a surprisingly good rate.

Heat, of course, was bad.

The meat below was noisy. The local cops called them meth maggots; the populace called them tweakers. She chose to think of them as low-hanging fruit.

She did not know how many would be here, but now there were five. It was a big operation, and they had supplies to camp here for a week or two as they did their cooking. Meth cookers were inadvertently tweakers themselves. They were about the only people stupid enough to expose themselves to the chemicals to make it.

Home labs had been dangerous as of late, the alien mused. The state prosecutor made it his mission to rid the state of the things, and the Sheriff was more than willing to comply with the push. Unfortunately, federal lands were a great place to cook something up, and the Olympic National Forest was very large indeed.

The rangers were sparse and kept to the hiking trails to keep close to the hikers. Not many people suspected, she thought, that a cooking operation would be on the wet side of the mountains. Putting a meth lab where it rained constantly was very stupid. Gutsy, but stupid.

Their isolation would not help them today, oh no. She found them by scouting, something she did at least once a week, and fining their tracks. She was new to the area, but she already thought of the temperate rainforest as “hers”. She would not suffer evil men in one of the planet’s most beautiful places.

From her perch, they were just over 142 yards away, a figure she derived at with her internal range finder that calculated distances based on the size of objects relative to the hash marks in her scope’s reticule. There was no wind, but there was considerable cover if she lost the surprise advantage. This is why she chose the semi-automatic rifle as her sniping platform. Fast as she was with a bolt-action rifle, this situation called for even more speed.

She sighted carefully. Twilight was here.

Sight. Breathe. Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.

Breathe. Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.

Breathe Squeeze. Kill. Recover and aim.

One of her victims was finally running. She shot him in the leg, careful to aim below the knee. The bullet blew a huge chunk off his lower left leg off, and he went down screaming.

The very last man was firing blindly in her general direction with a Mini-14. If he knew where she was, that would be bad. It was mostly accurate, assuming one aimed it properly.

She carefully aimed for his head.

Squeeze.

His head exploded.

BOOM headshot, Baby! The alien giggled.

***

Cody was simply talking to Justin about their favorite topic: alternative music. Then Justin’s back exploded outwards the same time he heard the rolling echo of a gunshot; the large crater in his back obscenely disproportionate to the small hole in his chest. Before what was happening registered, most of the crew all around him died, including his brother.

He ran. Miguel was firing blindly off in the woods; maybe he could use him to cover his escape.

That’s when Cody’s leg blew apart.

He screamed and screamed, and then Miguel’s head exploded.

That caught his attention. He pulled his SIG from his waistband.

BOOM! PAIN!

Suddenly his hand was gone.

Cody resumed screaming. He felt sharp pains and it made him dizzy. Eventually it dawned on him, he noticed he was still alive.

Suddenly a pair of boots came into view. He looked up, resigned to his fate.

A woman?

She put down her rifle.

Off came the boots and socks.

She took off her clothes.

Quickly, she was naked.

Beautiful, he could not help thinking through the pain—even though he knew he was bleeding to death.

She stood there looking at him, holding something small in each hand.

Cody began to pant with fear.

“What is the name of your main buyer?” she asked in a strange accent.

“W-w-Warren.” Suddenly Cody could see fangs in her mouth. He began to cry.

“Please… please… don’t kill me.”

“Shhhhhh,” she said, “no begging now. Keep some dignity, eh?”

“What… what are you?” he stammered.

Suddenly, the thing flexed her wrists, twisted her hands. Two long dirks she was hiding under her arms appeared as if magic.

“I am silf, and I will be your personal chef for the evening.”

As the silf walked towards him, Cody began to scream once more.

An Embarrassment of Riches: Writing Update

July 13, 2009 Author: Anthony Pacheco Category: Not Exactly Random, The Craft  9 Comments

Here is a self-involved writing update!

But hey, if you can’t be self-involved on your own blog, where can you be? Isn’t that three-fourths of the interwebs or something?

I digress.

I’m actually in a self-imposed writing restriction. Editing work on my own novels has piled up and so I pledged, to the Writing Powers That Be (which, conveniently enough, is me), not to write until I am finished with my editing tasks.

And that is killing me.

Killing.

Me.

Softly.

With no words, killing me softly…

Ahem. I digress.

Bunny Trouble
Poor Bunny. I created this awesome three-dimensional character, and now it feels like I am neglecting her. It’s not her fault I can’t use the book to breakout as a published author.

But, she is becoming better with age. I’m contemplating a change that will cut the text all the way to 100,000 words.

We’ll see. It’s a good novel. And I don’t want to mess it up.

By the way, in about a month I can have the latest draft ready to go to any blog reader that wants to read Libertarian Gun Nut Science Fiction.

Actually, I take it back. I am looking at one indy publisher who actually does do Libertarian Gun Nut Science Fiction. I’m not holding my breath, though. I am going to polish the manuscript per above just in case they want to see it.

Armageddon’s Princess
I am looking for an agent for this book project. I’ve had partial requests, and partial rejections. Ha.

This novel really struck a chord with my beta readers, but I am left wondering if my first chapter is as good as I think it is. I’m going to have someone look at it in that regard and give me some feedback next week-ish.

The Baby Dancers
This is actually my next book project to finish. It’s a fun YA fantasy story. I have a need to finish it, not only because I want to see how the story ends, but also because I also plan to shop this around and see if I can land an agent. I am convinced my novelist career has firm roots in Science Fiction. This story, however, is demanding to be written, and I can’t deny the sheer amount of fun I have writing it.

It goes like this: any book with goblin ninjas on fire, you just gotta finish!

Killer Bunny
This is the next book in the Bunny Trouble series. I outlined it, but I am not going to start writing it until I finish The Baby Dancers.

Armageddon’s Princess Sequel
Another murder mystery, of course. I am enamored with the plot and I give all the beta readers who liked the first book, more of what they liked. Because, I am a giver.

This sequel is full of NOM. NOM I say!

I have already fully outlined this novel, but I am not going to write on it until The Baby Dancers is in the hands of my beta readers.

YA Urban Paranormal Fantasy About A Girl Named Lisa Who Turns into a Bad-Ass Wizard via a Tattoo and Gets Her Divorced Parents Back Together Again
When I was doing a blog redesign, I noticed this excerpt, which I pulled out of my literary butt, was popular with my female blog readers. And other random people who came by but never left a comment.

Out of all these book projects, this one just nags on me. It is an itch I can’t scratch, and I have no idea how long I can ignore it.

Now I know what you are thinking, you are thinking, “don’t!” And I might not be able to, we’ll see.

I’ll let you in on a little secret. It’s actually set in the Baby Dancer universe. In a grand-conjunction kind of way, I could go like this:

  • The Baby Dancers
  • Lisa’s Story
  • The Crying Paladin
  • Lisa’s Story II
  • The Baby Dancers III
  • Lisa’s Story III
  • The Baby Dancers meet Lisa (end of books set in this universe)

I will never speak on this again. It will be our secret, buried in the electrons of the interwebs, forever.

But it is a cool idea.

Anyway, I don’t know when I will get to Lisa’s story, but I will. I originally thought 2010 might be a good time. That’s a good guess on my part.

Space Opera
Geeze. I wrote a chapter of “space opera” just so I could see things blow up in space, and this post gets random hits all over the place by people searching for “space opera” and other people who mysteriously click on a link from email readers.

Yet these people do not leave comments.

So here I am thinking it’s crap.

But if it is crap, why do people keep finding it?

Here’s my initial take: people are hard up for Space Opera Science Fiction. Publishers are not meeting this need.

But what do I know? I do know I have resisted the urge to edit the thing like three hundred times, only because it is an example of a first rough draft, preserved forever on the internets.

It was fun to write, but literally, that excerpt is less of an excerpt and more of my only idea for this story. Before and after, I have no idea what happens!

Perhaps if I figure that out, I will treat Space Opera more seriously.

Any of you space opera fans, just click on comment on either post (this one or the actual post), and leave a comment with your thoughts. I don’t bite. Really. You can also send me mail, my contact information is on the right-hand side of this blog near the top under “Contact Me”.

Reading
I have a book backlog. And I vow to make a big dent on it this summer.

Summary
As you can see, I have a large amount of stories to write on, an embarrassment of riches. I do know which book I will start to write on after I finish The Baby Dancers. And I will never complain about this type of problem. Never! I can think of no other writing “problem” I would rather have.

I love writing. I love storytelling. It’s fun!

A shout-out to anyone reading this far… I am curious, out of this list, what would you like to read? Besides the story in the art below by Daniel Conway, of course. Which I will not do, but damn howdy (and damn howdy is a technical term), that painting rocks.