I have FINALLY published my novel
Let’s start in 1994
In 1994, needing just one class to finish my degree in Creative Writing, I took a fiction seminar in which we were supposed to write a collection of short stories or 25 (or 50, my memory’s unclear) pages of a novel. I’d been thinking about an idea of a mortal travelling through Hell like Dante Alighieri did in the Divine Comedy, but with a beat poet vampire as his Virgil.
For that class, I wrote the beginning of what would become this novel. It was WAY different than what recently got published. About all I kept were the names. But there was something there. Even my professor recognized it when he game me an A for the writing, but an F because it contained a vampire (he was very “literary” and frowned on “genre” writing), averaging out to the only C I got in a writing class in college. I’d previously written and revised a novel for my senior thesis and received an A from the department head, a man notorious for not giving As.
But instead of trying to take that first novel to publishability, I kept on with this one. I finished the first draft (which originally ended at the gateway into Purgatory) sometime in 1995, then let it sit for a while to get perspective on it. I started my humor web site, then started The WASHED UPdate™, then got a distribution deal with the Internet Movie Database… It was a lot longer getting back to it than I thought it would be. I’d drop in and tinker with it a bit, but didn’t take a REAL pass at it again for quite some time.
Cut to late 2008
At that time I was unemployed due to the recession, we had a new baby, and my wife and I were sleeping in shifts. Whomever was on baby duty would go hang out downstairs and could sleep on the couch or an air mattress with the baby asleep in a bassinet in the play room. Whomever wasn’t got to have 6+ hours of uninterrupted time in the bedroom upstairs with hopefully enough distance and doors between them and the playroom to not be woken by any crying. Instead of sleeping on the couch, I’d sit at the kitchen table and work on my novel between changings and feedings.
To force myself to get done with it, I serialized that draft on my blog. Even got a few good reviews on WebFictionGuide. BIG chunks of the original novel were pulled out or re-written. The Romany resistance fighter Alain fell in love with became a French farm girl. Alain got made into a vampire by the military against his will instead of choosing it in a deal to save the life of his beloved.
Another change was that Purgatory and Heaven were originally supposed to become their own books, but in the revision, they all got smushed together.
And then I left it again for years. The novel got taken off the blog, then the blog got shut down, then I worked on it a bit here, a bit there. When I was in Paris in 2018, I worked on it so I could say I spent a day writing in a Parisian café. It gradually took the shape you find it in now. But I still wasn’t happy.
Cut to 2021
I’d achieved a milestone in my career, reaching a “Principal” level of seniority as a Developer Advocate. And I hit a wall. I’d essentially been working two jobs up until the pandemic: my day job and running Seattle CoderDojo (a volunteer group that put on STEAM education meetups for kids) and since the lockdown started, I’d only taken enough vacation to keep me from hitting the maximum accrual. Factor in the stress and strain of 20 months of lockdown… I’d just worn myself out.
I decided to take a sabbatical, just rest, relax, and work on projects that were meaningful to me, but without deadlines and dependencies. And for the first project, I promised myself to give the novel that “one last revision” it needed and push it out of the nest. And I did. Hell on $5 A Day is now available on Amazon in Kindle and trade paperback versions.
What can you do to help?
There are three things:
1. Buy it or borrow it – Both will help not only drive revenues, but drive higher placement in the top-sellers lists. If you have Kindle Unlimited, borrowing it (and reading it) will qualify it for various incentives through that program.
2. Review it – Obviously good reviews on Amazon help. A listing should also be live on [Goodreads](https://goodreads.com) by December 6th and that’s a great place for avid readers to discover new books. So if you publish your review to both places, that’s really helpful.
3. Recommend it – I’ll be messaging up a storm on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Sharing those posts or posting your own heartfelt recommendation would be REALLY helpful. I’m not working and don’t have a huge marketing budget. I NEED word of mouth.
## How to get an autographed copy?
The print version will be available for purchase in about a week. If you’re someone who knows me professionally or personally and expects to run into me, buy a copy of the print version, and I’ll sign yours the next time we see each other. Despite the COVID variants, people are gathering again, in-person conferences and meetups are starting to happen again.
Next week, when the print version is available, I’ll set up a quick store via PayPal or Shopify where I can sell auotographed copies for $15. Watch my social media (including this blog) for details.
Thanks for reading this post. I hope you’ll also read the book. And I hope you enjoy it immensely.