Back /Arm Pain
Back /Arm Pain
Before I get to the story, a little introductions and credit where credit is due. There’s a forum on Reddit where people post prompts to get people writing. This subreddit is aptly named Writing Prompts. Yesterday morning, I saw the following prompt by “actually_crazy_irl” and it got my creative juices bubbling:
A story started forming in my head of a freelancer demon summoned by some kids who ditched him. That day, I had to have an MRI. As I laid in the very enclosed tomb… I mean, tube, unable to move, with loud noises surrounding me, I was perfectly calm. Partly because I found the noises interesting and keeping my eyes closed kept me from being claustrophobic. However, part of my calmness was that I was able to mentally escape from that tight space and soar with the demon as he hunted down those who wronged him. So thank you, actually_crazy_irl, for helping me keep my sanity.
And now, here’s my new short story, “Ding Dong Demon Ditch”:
The other day, I was driving with NHL. We were on our way to get some food for Thanksgiving and NHL was talking about one of his passions: video games. Ever since the Nintendo Switch was released, NHL has wanted one. This desire only intensified as he watched some videos on YouTube showing Super Mario Odyssey being played on the Switch. Now, I’ll admit, the game looks amazing. The worlds are open and varied and the game mechanic of taking over your enemies to solve puzzles is inspired. That said, though, the price is steep. The game system itself costs $300 and Super Mario Odyssey costs an additional $60.
The price isn’t deterring NHL. He’s pledged to save up until he has enough money to buy a Switch and Mario Odyssey. There’s only one problem with this: He doesn’t really have any income. He’ll get some money for birthdays or Chanukah, but that’s about it. It would take him years to save enough for a Switch. By then, there would likely be a new game system that he really wants.
As an alternative, I suggested buying a used copy of Super Mario Galaxy 2. He had recently taken it out of the library and played it a bit so he knew he loved it. In addition, it’s a Mario game so it could scratch that particular itch. No, it might not be as good as Odyssey on the Switch, but it might be good enough.
“That’s a horrible lesson to teach me!” NHL shrieked in horror.
“What?” I asked, confused.
“Settling,” he said.
Now, it’s true that you should always reach for your dreams. If you want to be a writer, go for it. If you want to act, go on auditions. If you want to start your own business, by all means pursue it. However, sometimes, you’ve got to realize when a desire is unrealistic. I would love to take a week off of work every month and fly to Disney World. The main problem, though, would be the cost. Well, that and the fact that I don’t have twelve weeks of vacation time a year. I simply couldn’t afford to fly down to Disney World every month. So what do I do? I settle. We can go to Disney World for a week every so many years. In the meantime, we can find other activities that are fun but cost less.
I told NHL that, sometimes, settling was not only an acceptable lesson, but a good one. It’s nice to have dreams and pursue them, but it’s also good sometimes to be a realist. There are times when you need to realize that what you desire is out of reach. When you come to find that out, you can either keep trying fruitlessly to grasp at it, mope about being unable to attain it, or set your sights slightly lower.
This “settling” doesn’t even have to be a permanent detour. It could be a temporary step that eventually leads to your dream. When I published my first novel, I didn’t quit my job to pursue a dream of having a best selling book. I could have quit and spent all my time writing. My second novel definitely would have been done faster. However, sales of my novel haven’t reached anywhere near enough to replace my full time job. Had I quit my job to write full time, we would’ve gone broke before my novels took off. You could say that I “settled” by not pursuing writing full time. That might be true, but I’m also keeping the stable income while working on my writing. If the writing takes off and I can live off of it exclusively, great. If not, I still have the pleasure of writing.
I’ve always thought of myself as an idealistic realist. I have ideals and want to pursue them, but I temper those ideals with the facts of the real world. This keeps me grounded and stops me from following my desires when it would cause ruin. NHL might have thought that “settling” was a bad lesson to teach, but I think it’s imparting a little real world into his idealism. Saving for the Switch is nice, but perhaps he could get more enjoyment – for less money – if he used his spending money elsewhere.
What do you think? Is settling a good life lesson or was I imparting a horrible piece of guidance upon my son?
One year ago today, I hit the publish button on my novel, Ghost Thief, sending it onto Amazon for the world to read. It was a wild ride getting my first book published. From completing the first draft, the nervousness of giving it to my beta readers, seeing the manuscript printed out for the first time, seeing the first draft copy, to finally getting a box of the books that were to go on sale.
I’ll admit that the book didn’t sell that many copies. Part of that was my fault. One of the big advantages of self publishing is that I don’t have an editor insisting on big changes to my story. The downside is that I don’t have a publishing company advertising my novel. This meant that I had to figure out how to get the word out about my novel – a task that I stumbled at doing.
Of course, one of the reasons that I dropped the ball on advertising my first book was that I began writing my second book. I began with what I assumed would be two short stories to bridge the gap between books one and two. As I wrote the second story, however, I realized I was writing the opening chapters to Book 2.
So I began writing Book 2 in earnest. In the past 10 months, I’ve written over 78,000 words for Book 2, making it much longer than my first book. At that pace, it’s about one printed novel page written per day. I estimate that Book 2 will be about 90,000 words when it’s done. Then again, these stories have a history of laughing at my estimates. They finish when they want to finish, not when I think they’ll be done.
So when will Book 2 be published, you might ask. Well, if everything goes as planned, I could be looking at a May/June publication date. Of course, my previous statement about the story taking its time applies here as well. I could have a burst of writing and editing that cuts the time down, or I could wind up taking more time to get the story just right for publication.
No matter what happens with my second (and third and fourth books – yes, I have ideas for those already), Ghost Thief will always hold a special place in my heart as my first published novel.
Happy anniversary, Ghost Thief!
42. Fans of Hitchhiker’s Guide To The Galaxy know this as the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything. Well, as of tomorrow, it’s also the answer to “Hold Old Is Jason?” Yes, tomorrow is my birthday. I’m leaving 41 behind and adding yet another year to my age. Still, 41 was a pretty good year. After all, that’s when I finally published my first novel – Ghost Thief. For those who might have forgotten, this is a science fiction tale of a thief who gains mysterious abilities and the adventures he has. Here’s a longer description:
Murray Gastev is anything but ordinary. He’s a thief for hire and a good one at that. He completes his latest job but ends up with far more than just the cash he expected to receive. He finds he now has the ability to pass through walls and float. There are just two small problems: He can’t breathe while he ‘ghosts’ and he can’t control where he floats to. With the help of some new friends, Murray might learn to control his powers and may even pull off his biggest heist yet. If he doesn’t end up being sliced to ribbons first.
Usually, when you release a novel, you make a big push to spread the word. Unfortunately, this being my first novel and me being horrible at self-promotion, sales have been stagnant. Well, there’s another reason also. You see, Ghost Thief is going to be a trilogy that also leaves room for short stories within the same universe. I started writing two of those short stories and suddenly realized that this was actually the beginnings of Book 2. That beginning expanded and has blossomed into over 56,000 words. My first book was only eight thousand words longer and this one isn’t even close to finished yet. (Though part of me hopes to hit 100,000 words, I’m thinking it will more realistically end at around 80,000 words.)
Given my upcoming birthday, I wanted to do something special. I decided to cut the price of the Kindle version of my book to 42 cents to celebrate my 42nd birthday. Unfortunately, it turns out you can’t do this. When you set a sale price, it needs to be in $x.99 increments. (Meaning $0.99, $1.99, etc.) So I’ve done the next best thing. Instead of my book being 42 cents for one day, it’ll be $0.99 (the lowest I could make it) for 42 hours. Yes, you have nearly two whole days to grab my book for just under a dollar. This starts at midnight tonight Eastern Time and extends to 6pm Eastern Time on August 4th. After that, the price will rise to $1.99 (still a 60% saving) until 3am on August 9th. (There’s no special significance to that day/time. That was just the longest I could make the sale run for.)
So set a reminder to go to Amazon.com tomorrow and pick up a Kindle copy of my book. The sequel is coming along nicely and – with luck – will be out later this year or early next year. Finally, if you’re not sure if the book is for you, you can download the first three chapters completely free. If you do buy my book and read it, let me know what you think. You can message me on Twitter, Facebook, or via my contact form.
Happy reading, everyone!