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Archive for the tag “research”

Novel Experiment Day 2 – The trouble with S and hella words

I decided “Hiatus Experiment” doesn’t really make sense, ergo “Novel Experiment.”

Rush Maya BanksDay Two research involved the book Rush by Maya Banks. In contrast to the Rafe MacKade book, the sex was not lukewarm. Nope, not at all. It was hot. Here’s my Goodreads Review for Rush. “Pretty well-written. The author believes that manly men say “damn well” a lot. The sex is definitely hot. I don’t find butt plugs even remotely romantic. Ending (HEA) was massive cheese. Rush is the first book in a trilogy, but I’m going to move on and try to get a broad spectrum of romance titles.

Still haven’t watched any romantic movies. Unless Daniel Tiger’s Neighborhood counts? Didn’t think so.

As for the day’s actual work, I looked at that 4,285 number (of words I’d need to write in order to hit 60k at the end of the two weeks) and despaired. There’s no way. I think I wrote 4k words in a day once when I was on a roll with my first Lexy Cooper book. And recently I wrote 11,000 words in a week. But 4200+ in a day? Never.

Except, I did it! I felt completely wiped out at the end of it, but I managed to do it and I lived to tell the tale. Day Two BnG

Problems I encountered on Day Two:

  • I gave a character the name Lucas. Cool until I gave Lucas a job and a house and private jet. Then I had to deal with the mess of Lucas’s jet, or is it Lucas’ jet? Annoying.
  • In describing the first meeting of my hero and heroine, I was at a loss as to how to describe a stripper’s…moves. “And then he shook his ass” just isn’t cutting it. Prescription: Watch Magic Mike again.
  • My heroine works for a company that I’ve named Parker and Stowe. She’s recently been promoted to Vice President. She wears conservative work clothes and makes a lot of money, but what does this company do? What goods does it produce or service does it provide? I have no idea and I’m not sure my reader will care.

Stripper Fun:

RIP Patrick Swayze and Chris Farley

SNL strippers


Researching the Novel – Crowdsourcing

When doing research for your book (and I’m talking strictly about fiction), you basically have three choices: Do it yourself, outsource it or crowdsource it. Crowdsourcing is putting a question to a crowd and collecting the answers. It’s best for single questions and not subject matter braindumps. I have solved many technical issues in my books through asking questions on Facebook. Your mileage may vary on tech help because 95% of my contacts are nerds. I have gotten answers on phone hacking, on aviation, and on computer viruses. My Facebook friends have named strip clubs and grunge bands for me, and my Twitter followers have provided many character names. Example: Me: I need a name for a semi-douchey marketing guy. Answer: Josh.


Crowdsourcing has many advantages and “free” is a good one, but here are the three most important:

  1. It’s quick. Pretty much instantaneous.
  2. If you do it in a place like Facebook (as opposed to Twitter) where everyone can see the answers, you’re basically getting a peer review—a perfect way to make sure your information is valid.
  3. You’re engaging potential readers. When I asked my Facebook friends to help think of names for a strip club that caters to software geeks I got over a hundred replies. And every one of those friends that commented or just read the hilarious suggestions came away with two things: they knew my next book had a strip club (intriguing, right?) and they felt like part of the process. I used three of the suggested club names in Pwned (The Power Strip, G-String Theory, and Pole Position) and credited the folks who suggested them in the book’s acknowledgements.

The hidden bonus benefit is that you have a good excuse to screw around on social media instead of write. Shhhh….

B.Y.O.P – Be Your Own Publisher

I’ve been blogging about my trials and errors in this writing thing for a couple years now. From a post about discovering Kindle Direct Publishing and unearthing a long-lost novel, to crowdfunding a research trip, I’ve shared the journey with my blog readers.

BYOP Cover

If you’ve found my writing tips interesting or helpful, I’m collecting them into a short non-fiction book on writing, publishing and marketing your own book. If you’re a follower of this blog, some of it will be familiar but a lot of it is new content.

Why am I doing this? Because two years ago I hadn’t written any fiction in nearly two decades and hadn’t published a damn thing. Since then I’ve published four novels and a short story and have had a crash course in indie publishing and marketing. I’ve made mistakes, I’ve learned some tricks, and I’d like to help writers get past the doubts and inertia and get their book out into the world.

Look for B.Y.O.P this summer!

Roswell or Bust! A reader-funded research trip

space_alien_grayAnd now for an experiment in novel research and crowd funding! I’ve been to every location in the first two Lexy Cooper books Schooled and Pwned. Granted, they weren’t all that exotic–just Los Angeles in Schooled and Vegas in Pwned. But in the third book, due in early 2014, the most important part of the story–the climactic ending–takes place in Roswell, NM, a place I’ve never visited. So, I’m planning a research trip to check out the town, the vibe, the locals, and the former Walker Air Force Base.

Right now I’ve got an IndieGoGo campaign to fund the Roswell trip, and I think the perks are very fun. More than half of the Xenon Executive slots (perks are digital copies of all three books, a character based on you, signed paperback of Schooled,etc) are already gone, so if you’re interested, take a look.

roswell-new-mexico-profileThe Xenon Community perk gets you the next Lexy book and a shout-out in the acknowledgements. That’s basically a pre-order plus a literary high-five. Not bad for ten bucks! Plus, you can put “Patron of the Arts” on your resume. 🙂

I appreciate support at any level. And if any of you have tips on what to see and what to avoid in Roswell, please let me know.

Here’s my campaign page.

Thank you!

UPDATE – 8/14

This campaign was fully funded about an hour after I made this post. Roswell is happening! So now what do I do with the 55 days remaining in the campaign? Well, since the Have-A-Character-Named-After-You “Xenon Executive” perk sold out, I’ve added ten more identical perks called “Chief of Detectives.” I’ve also added what basically amounts to product placement: the “Board of Directors” perk in which I will write a donor’s business, product, website, podcast or…whatever into the story of Lexy #3. I put real restaurants and bars into my books all the time–let’s see if anyone wants to pay for it.

“But Trixie! You’re fully funded already! What will you do with the extra scratch?” I’m glad you asked, dear reader. For I shall use the funds beyond the initial $1000 to pay the artist to create the book cover!

Thank you to all the fantastic patrons/donors/angels/awesome people who made this experiment in reader funding a huge success!

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