Serial Saturday Update

The bell has rung, the candle’s lit and book is being read. Next week, the last chapter of my FNAFiction, Everything Is All Right, Part Two: Mike Schmidt and the Long Night goes up and the week after that, Part Three: Children of Mammon premieres. Faithful followers of this blog should know by now that I have been scrambling like mad to get this third installment completed “on-time.” I’m not used to working under a deadline, and it’s already nerve-wracking to me to have to publish some parts of an epic work before all of it is written. It doesn’t help that the last, oh, fifty pages of Part Three were actually the fourth or fifth segment I wrote for the whole series, well before I had really hashed out my protagonist’s personality, so it ALL has to be smoothed out with extensive rewriting.

What I’m saying is, this last leg of the book is actually work and has been for a couple of months now. And yeah, I know, EVERY book turns into work sooner or later, and it should, frankly. I’m not one of those people who insists that everyone should do unpleasant things because they ‘build character,’ but let’s face it: we do not grow in heart or mind solely from experiencing only those things that make us feel good. I have never put out a perfect book. I have always found something that could have used more work–typos, continuity errors, rough spots, missed opportunities…God, the list of my common errors is longer than any of my books and my books are stupid long.

So while I was up here editing and trying to think how best to blog about the trials and tribulations of editing without sounding like a whiny bitch (did I do it? I didn’t do it, did I?), I tapped over to Facebook for a second and there before my eyes is a post my father made on that self-same subject. I told him I was going to steal it for my blog because it said everything I wanted to say, only much, much better, and here it is:

My father, aka The Beard of Wisdom

My father, aka The Beard of Wisdom

I write for pleasure as, I suspect, most folks do who choose to give tangible form to the visions that take shape in our imaginations. My daughters—who have been doing this much longer and more successfully than I, and who have been endlessly encouraging—warned me that even so pleasurable an activity as I find this can become very like work from time to time… hard work even.

But that was for them. They work hard at their craft. Me? I anticipated no reward beyond the exercise of my brain and the liberation of my imagination. For me it would be all larks and daisies! Hah!

There is the story, I have discovered; and the tale demands that I tell it well. True, nobody knows the actors more intimately than I; but do the dialogue and behaviors I have related both revealed their character to the reader and precluded interpretations that make them into something they’re not? Does their world flow naturally and consistently from the themes and threads of their actions, or is it contrived and forced. And is it consistent throughout? Can the tendrils of the final resolution be traced (if only retrospectively) throughout. And lastly, have all the fun-to-write but superfluous digressions been scrupulously culled, dumped unmercifully into an odds and end notes file, bits-and-pieces for future stories that I’m probably never going to write? That I discover is where the work comes in.

And that is where I find myself: tidying up the grand resolution to an epic fantasy trilogy. And I must tell you, friends: this is work!

Buy my dad's book!

Click here to see my dad’s first book on Amazon!

Support a growing beard!

Click here to find my dad’s second book on Amazon!


So thanks, Dad. And on the subject of things that are work, faithful followers may also have noticed that I’ve pretty much done nothing BUT blog about chapter updates for months now. Believe it or not, that’s really disappointing to me. I want to blog more. Well, okay, ‘want’ is a strong word, but I realize that I should be blogging more and saying more than just, “Yo, next chapter’s up, go read it.”

I’ve been struggling with this for some time, wanting to get more blogging in but, frankly, unsure what to write about that anyone would want to read. In the past, I’ve done what I think of as ‘seminars’, a long-running series with a focus in some way or another on the craft of writing. Should I be doing more of that? I could talk forever about how a character’s name influences his or her personality or how to write tentacles into sex scenes or the fine line between possible and plausible in a fantasy setting or…Or should I be doing LESS of that?

I hesitate to write too much about my personal life. Most of the time, I don’t do anything apart from writing or talking to other writers about writing anyway. But is that what readers want to know about? Should I do a series on my favorite movies? If I go on a road trip, do you really want to hear about it? Last week, I went to Build-A-Bear with my sisters. Want to see a photo of my kickass battle-mammoth? Would you like to see pictures of the two kittens we got stuck with after rescuing them around Halloween? Would you like to adopt the two kittens we got stuck with after rescuing them around Halloween? For the love of God and Gann, won’t SOMEONE take a kitten? Do you want to know how long I cried after getting a wheelchair for a Christmas present, not because I didn’t want it, but because I knew I needed it? For serious now, what do YOU want me to blog about? Because I want to do it more often, but I want to do it for YOU. If  you left it up to me, I’d never blog at all. Contradiction in terms as it may be, I am an outrageous introvert when left to my own devices. There are things I don’t want to talk about, things I will not talk about, but mostly it’s just a question of not knowing what to say.

For tonight, I have only this to say: The next-to-last chapter of my Five Nights at Freddy’s fanfiction is up on and again over at, so go check it out and enjoy this excerpt.

Everything Is Alright Part 2

Ana watched the world outside the window, all black trees and black hills on a black sky. Her stomach growled once, indifferent to human suffering. She never had gotten her dinner.

Mike turned off on Circle Drive, the heart of downtown Mammon, and that was something too, wasn’t it? Of all the pizzerias, this was the only one that wasn’t set down in the middle of nowhere. George W.M. Reynolds Elementary, where Ana and David had gone, was just five blocks east; Elizabeth Gaskell Middle School and Blackwood High, ten blocks south. Once upon a time, it had been surrounded by the sorts of shops that catered to kids, but they were all gone now, leaving nothing but their empty shells and signboards without letters. She could see the ghosts of Pop-In Video and the Book Bin (New & Used!), victims of the changing times and their own outdated media, perhaps, but she could also see what had once been a Gamer’s Paradise, a Comic Corner, a Maybe’s Candies, and even the hulking remains of a Toy Barn, also dead and gone. And right in the middle, alone now in a vast, cracked ocean of asphalt, Freddy Fazbear’s Pizzeria, just the way she remembered it, except…

“It’s smaller,” Ana said unthinkingly as Mike pulled up and parked. Smaller than she remembered, she meant. It had seemed huge to her that day—a castle, a fortress, a kingdom unto itself. Now it was just a building. One she had only ever put one foot inside.

But Mike couldn’t hear her thoughts. He said, “That it is. Less than half the size of the Toybox. What’s that tell you?”

“Bigger isn’t always better?”

“Yeah, my wife used to say that before she met me,” said Mike with a rare smile. “But funnily enough, bigger is usually better when it comes to the restaurant biz. More seats means more paying customers, after all. So it is odd that Faust would have scaled back, especially since the Toybox’s success proved he could handle a business twice this size.” He cocked an eye at her. “Thoughts?”

“It wasn’t about the money for him.”

“I agree.”

“You don’t sound like you like it, though.”

“If it’s not about the money, what’s that leave? And I don’t believe that either.” Mike shoved a hand through his hair and looked at the building—a frustrated, baffled, beaten-down stare. “Even after everything I’ve seen and heard…and done…I just don’t have a handle on that kid. That kid,” he repeated with a self-deprecating laugh. “He was fifty when the Stockyard opened. Hell, he’s over seventy now and I still see him in my head as that grinning little kid with the fucking mouse-ears on. Naw, it’s not about the money. Partly because he’s so fucking rich, he could shit out a failing restaurant every year for the rest of his life and still make money, but mostly because it was never about the money when it came to Freddy Fazbear. I honestly believe he thought of this place as his last chance to do what he only ever really wanted…entertain people with the best animatronics in the world.”

“His last chance? But this wasn’t the last Fazbear’s.”

“No. But that’s getting ahead of the story. Christ, this is a long story.”




12 responses to “Serial Saturday Update

  1. Your father’s second book is LIVE on Amazon and how is it that I did not know this? I am his friend on Facebook. Hmmmm. Regardless, I have purchased it and I’ll let him know via Facebook. Yeesh.

    As for what you should blog about? I would love to hear anything about your personal life. Yup. I love your writing and you are my absolute freakin’ FAV, of all time author. You wrote once about animals that your family has and/or had and I loved it. The kittens sounds like so much fun. You should blog about what you are writing….and you already do this. Some authors use their blog to get feedback on ideas they have, book covers etc. I believe you did this for Land of the Beautiful Dead.

    Ideally, I just want you to write, not blog. I want to read everything and anything you have written. I would love you to publish work you have already written, but feel that you shouldn’t publish because it’s not in the ‘genre’ that you feel your readers have boxed you in. I know….. It’s like a broken record because you have blogged about this. 🙂 I read the blurb for Pool and it was A.W.E.S.O.M.E.

    I miss reading an RLee Smith book. Really, I do. Nuff said.
    Thank you for writing at all. Thank you for your amazing stories.

  2. First, I LOVE your FNAFanic! Is it sad that I really want to read your take on “who” Freddy Fazbear is? That I see this story play out in my head all week until I finally get another chapter, only to start all over again? Lol This is my first fanfic and the waiting may be the thing that drives me insane, but it’s so worth it.

    Second, blog or don’t blog, your choice. A lot of my author “friends” use their Facebook account to post about their days, promote a book, ask readers questions. Maybe that’s the way to go. Personally, I think a website and blog are ok for fans that KNOW you are there, but Facebook and goodreads are great for readers to find you. I only stumbled on your books because I was searching for something new and someone on goodreads had mentioned you. So glad they did!

    I think you need more promoting. I try to mention you lots! Also, I’d love to find out how to get an actual physical book of yours…. preferably signed lol And if FNAF will ever be in epub or always only on the 2 sites.

  3. If you lived in California, I’d be on your doorstep, wicker basket in hand, waiting for my kitten. As this is not the case, I hope your rescue babies find good homes soon (and yes, I’d love too see pictures if you could post them!)

    I personally love every writer’s series you’ve ever written, especially your ABC’s of world building. I’d be stoked if you created another one. If it wouldn’t be too intrusive, would you ever consider shedding some light on more of the business side of publishing, such as what your experience has been in the self-publishing field? I’d love to know the evolution of how you turned this passion into a career.

    Also, a favorite movie post/series would be awesome, particularly if it was horror themed. Ever since you posted that link to Horrible Review’s youtube video, I’ve tried to watch as many as I could from his “100 Most Disturbing” list (to the best of my ability – my limit for gore is pretty low. Martyrs is at the apex of what I can handle).

    Anyway, I think most of us would love any post you come up with – don’t feel you have to get more personal than you want, but don’t ever worry we won’t be interested because it is about your life. Believe it or not, you are a very interesting person! How could someone who wrote a book like Gann not be?!

  4. Yes. Blog about all the things! I especially like reading about books/stories in progress or in mind. If I live to be 100 I doubt I will ever read a book that means more to me than Land of the Beautiful Dead does. That. Book. Please keep writing! And atta girl for saving the kitties.

  5. As always, loved your next installment! Some terrible stories and I absolutely love it! I’m seriously sitting on edge waiting for Mike’s story to finish and for Ana to go back to Freddy’s…

    As for the blogging, I loved the writer’s workshops you did. You have a lot of insight, not to mention you add a lot of humor to each entry to make them fun. But they were also very helpful. Delving into your personal life (what you’re willing to share) is something I’d love as well so I can get to know my favorite author better 🙂 And yes. You are my favorite ❤

    Can't wait until next Saturday! These chapters really give me something to look forward to by the end of the week.

  6. blog what you know, blog what you feel, see and think! your mind is a wonderful maze of things, and I’m pretty sure most of us love reading what comes out. Personal, imaginary, cute and fluffy or dark and down, it’s part of what makes you a very unique and wonderful writer and person, and it is what draws us to you, it makes you more real and touches our hearts and minds more than other authors who are so distant.

    Just be you, and if you feel like blogging about it, woot! 🙂

  7. LHofG launched my obsession and since then I’ve read most of your work. When I found that story, I was in a reading slump. I’d been an avid (rabid) reader all my life and just about everything was getting to be a same-old, same-old blur. And now your FNAFiction keeps be on edge until the next chapter. I love it. I also have to admit I troll your blog (totally not creeper like lol) to see what’s new and because of your humor. So this is probably no help at all, but I have to agree with everyone else: just be you.

  8. You have a great sense of humor and I enjoy reading your blog. Personally, I just skimmed your writing workshops but I have no aspirations to write. You have a true talent and if others benefit from your wit and experience then give ’em what they want. Blog about whatever you want to, good and / or bad. We’ll read it, I promise.

  9. Blog about whatever you want. Or don’t. It’s your thing and I will buy and read your books regardless.

    I wanted to say I’m sorry about the wheelchair need – I got catapulted into one a couple of years back – and wanted to tell you that if you are in Colorado, or adjoining Northern Colorado, there is an excellent thrift store called good health will, up in Greeley and Loveland, and they often have shockingly inexpensive manual and power chairs in conditions ranging from literally brand new to huh it will tide someone over, along with all sorts of other mobility aids. Best wishes.

    • Yeah, I got hooked up here through what is essentially a long-term rental place. I paid $25 bucks for a really top-shelf push-chair (part of my problem is chronic dizziness, so having a power chair that I just steer into people, walls and traffic is not ideal) and I keep it as long as I need it, ie, forever (sigh), with the understanding that I bring it back to them when I’m done with it. So I’m set and trying to feel positive about it. I mean, yeah, I am getting out more, but walking less and it’s the kind of cycle that just feeds itself…the less I walk, the less I’m able to walk. The more I try to walk, the more I fall and the greater my odds of injury.

  10. Blogging, IMHO, is rambling on about whatever you want to whenever you want. You could re-write the phone book and we would find it interesting. There’s little pressure in what you NEED to write. Rather, we just rather you write something/anything 🙂

  11. I’d like to second Sanguine_Hearts comment. As an amateur writer, I would love to know about your experiences in writing and, especially, publishing.

    I know these comments keep telling you to write “whatever” – which is pretty vague, I know – but it’s so true. I love your sense of humor and the tone of your posts. You make everyday things amusing and fun to read about.

    You say you’re very busy keeping up with your writing schedule, and I believe you, but have you read any good books lately? Or maybe want to share some all time favs? I think that could be a good prompt for some of your posts. I read a LOT so I’m always looking for something to pass the time with until I get my next R. Lee Smith fix. 🙂

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