Posts Tagged With: It Happened One Doomsday

How to Turn a Short Story into a Book Series

Lightbulb Moment

DING! (That’s my lightbulb-moment sound effect.)

Believe it or not, IT HAPPENED ONE DOOMSDAY started out as a short story.

I was struggling with another novel, so I switched gears and wrote a fun little story about this awkward wannabe sorceress who ends up breaking the evil curse on a bad-boy hero with a muscle car.

It was half scary, half funny, and people seemed to really get a kick out of it. They kept asking me what happens next.

And I had to say, “There is no next. This is it.”

But I really got hooked on writing these characters, so I expanded it into a novella. My critique group was extraordinarily supportive. I kept bringing them new pages of rough draft as I wrote it, and we tossed all sorts of crazy ideas around.

I just kept expanding the story until it became a novel. The day I finished it, I called my wife to tell her, and she asked, “How does it end?”

And I said, “Guess.”

She said, “You know what would be really cool?” And she sketched out a completely different ending from the one I had just written.

Not just different. It was better, and ultimately it meant expanding the book into a series.

So with a sigh, I went back and changed the ending. And at that moment, everything clicked. I had the feeling that I was really onto something.

This ended up being the first book I’ve ever written that received offers from multiple publishers. My literary agent, Kristin Nelson, sold it in a multi-book deal.

I’ve already written Book 2, which should come out in the summer of 2017, and I have more stories on the way. Get free previews and short stories when you subscribe to my free author newsletter. >

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How to Make Writing Your Career: Word Cafe Interview with Yours Truly

Word Cafe author interview

Just for the record, the lace doilies were not my idea. Now you know.

Hey, this is cool. Join me over at Word Cafe for an interview where I reveal everything I know about:

• Building a full-time career around writing, as a novelist and a copywriter — and what a copywriter does, exactly.

• How my first book from a New York publisher actually started out as a short story — and how I grew it into a novel.

• The pros and cons of being a hybrid author (both traditionally published and self-published).

• What my fiction writing process looks like. (It’s both crazier and more straightforward than you might think).

• And, of course, my top piece of advice for writers.

Read the complete interview here. >

P.S. Also, I’m giving away a few autographed paperback books to my newsletter subscribers. Don’t miss out. Click here to subscribe to my author newsletter. >

Categories: how to write a novel, The Writing Life | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Coming in 2017: Dru Jasper Book 2

A Kiss Before Doomsday

Did you notice the red glowing tire tracks? Words can’t express how much I love this new cover.

So, this year I did something I’ve never done before. I wrote a sequel.

It was weird, because for the first time, I found myself writing a book with pre-established characters, relationships, settings, etc. Dru’s magic universe (or the “Druniverse” as I like to call it) was already firmly laid out in the first book.

If a story fact made things more complicated, it’s not like I could just change it. I had to work it out. For example, Opal doesn’t have magical powers, but now she’s caught in the midst of these epic magical struggles. What does that mean for her as a person? What does that mean for her friends?

Continue reading

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Beyond the Trope Podcast and Book Giveaway

Beyond the Trope podcast and book giveaway

Have you listened to Beyond the Trope yet? What are you waiting for?

Beyond the Trope is the most nerdly fun podcast you haven’t heard yet.

Click here to listen. >

By the way, not only is it oddly addictive, I also promised to give away a signed paperback copy of It Happened One Doomsday to one lucky listener.

On the latest episode, we chatted about all kinds of crazy stuff including, but not limited to:

* a Metallica mix tape that led indirectly to a book deal

* getting writing ideas at a party with Hugh Howey and Kristin Nelson

* what goes into a good book soundtrack, and that means the best Phil Collins “In the Air Tonight” cover you ever heard

* a guy named Mr. Angry (I’m not making that up) who built the car that inspired Hellbringer, the demon-possessed muscle car in my book.

Check out the Beyond the Trope podcast.

You can also listen on iTunes or get it on Stitcher.

More podcasts and giveaways on the horizon! Don’t miss it. Be sure to subscribe to my free author newsletter. >

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“A really great story!” –GeekyGodmother

Holy cow! I couldn’t be happier with this fabulous review from Canadian book site www.geekygodmother.ca:

“The characters are fantastic in what I’m hoping is only the first of a series. Dru doesn’t feel she has the great power of her heroes, but she uses all she has to help out those who do. She becomes the best backup she can possibly be. Her friend Rane, a very powerful sorceress, is outrageous, and hilarious. Same is true of Dru’s shop assistant Opal. She is all attitude, but she has Dru’s back. Greyson too is mighty fine, as Opal mentions many times. Even as he fights for his immortal soul, he is helpful, thoughtful and would love to be Dru’s other half… I really like this book and I highly recommend it. It Happened One Doomsday would make a great summer read.”

Read the whole review >

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I Should Be Writing podcast with Yours Truly

Mur Lafferty's, "I Should Be Writing: The Podcast for Wannabe Fiction Writers."Attention writers: You’re missing out.

If you aren’t already listening to Mur Lafferty’s, “I Should Be Writing: The Podcast for Wannabe Fiction Writers,” you need to drop what you’re doing and go listen.

In every episode, Mur talks about the writing process, problems every writer faces, and how to solve them.

The unstoppable Mur was gracious enough to invite me on her show to blab on endlessly about writing, crystals, muscle cars, and the original idea behind It Happened One Doomsday.

Listen to the show here.

Honestly, I think the best part of the conversation happened after we stopped recording:

We talked about how so many creative people get discouraged because they don’t realize that their struggles are universal. I told Mur that what she’s doing with her podcast is incredibly important. And that’s so true.

By the way, since this podcast came out, I’ve gotten plenty of questions about the MONSTER acronym I use to create monsters in my stories.

It’s a handy tool for thinking your monsters completely through. Here it is:

MONSTER — 7 keys to terrifying creatures

MIND: How smart is it? What senses does it possess?

ORIGIN: Where does it come from? What is it called?

NEED: What motivates it? What is it after?

SKETCH: What does it look like? How big is it? What color is it? How does it move?

TAKE ON: How can the heroes fight it? What hurts it? What scares it?

EAT: What does it eat? How does it eat?

RELATIONSHIPS: Loner or a pack? Belong to someone? Obey someone/thing? Rule someone/thing?

If you find that helpful, there’s more.

Get access to all of my free writing tips when you subscribe to my author newsletter. Click here. >

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“One hell of a ride!” –Foreword Reviews

Foreword Reviews

Seems like every reviewer has a different currency: five stars, five moons, five thumbs up (which for some reason makes me think of Sha Na Na).

Whatever they are, whenever there are FIVE of them, I sit up and take notice.

Which brings us to this exquisite “five heart” write-up from Foreword Reviews:

“The story unfolds in bold, cinematic strokes. Action sequences, particularly the final car chase, thrum with tension as Dru and her team streak through urban decay, mountains, high desert, and occult landscapes in sexy, demon-possessed muscle cars. Well-executed imagery and pacing make this a joyous thrill ride with a sense of peril.”

Plus, somewhere in there, they call Dru “adorkable.” Which is both funny and sweet. And so true.

Love it!

Haven’t read the book yet? Subscribe to my author newsletter and get a chance to win a signed paperback for free. >

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“Quite clever.” –Bookpushers

BookpushersHere’s another fantastic review, in case you’re wondering what all the buzz is about.

This particular review comes from the mysterious yet discerning E over at The Bookpushers:

“MacNaughton provided a very interesting twist on some myths about the world ending and the signs of the apocalypse. I really thought how he modernized some of them quite clever and loved the additional personality aspects, which went along with his modern twist.”

Don’t miss my next giveaway! Subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse in Muscle Cars

Hellbringer 1969 Dodge Charger Daytona

Don’t try this at home. Really.

True story: before I wrote this book, I was a professional prototype vehicle test driver.

So when I set out to write about the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse tearing up the highways in Christine-ish muscle cars, you can bet I had fun with it.

Check out this interview on MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape where I not only talk about cars, I also go pretty deep into the cool quirks of my characters, and what exactly Dru’s universe (or the “Druniverse”) is really like.

Plus, I share some cool insights about the “magic” properties of crystals (including how the pharaohs of ancient Egypt used to protect themselves against the evil eye).

And the surprise fan favorite character that everyone is talking about. Hint: this particular character has four wheels. (!)

Check out the interview here on MyLifeMyBooksMyEscape.com >

Don’t forget: free short stories and more in your email when you subscribe to my author newsletter. >

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Until we get lightsabers, here’s the next best thing.

Not a lightsaber, but an actual real-life shard of selenite.

Not a lightsaber, but an actual real-life shard of selenite.

In my book, Dru fights demons and creatures using magical crystals.

Here’s what’s cool: all of the crystals she uses are magically charged versions of actual, real-life crystals: quartz, amethyst, galena, pyrite, etc.

Being a writer who writes about crystals, I’ve naturally built up a modest collection of crystals over the years.

The towns in the Rocky Mountains are rife with rock shops and lapidaries, some of them little more than a room in someone’s house. If you know where to look, you can find some pretty cool stuff.

Here’s a picture of my biggest crystal find yet: a natural selenite wand. Because of its mineral structure, selenite is fiber-optic, which my lovely wife is demonstrating here with LED lights.

In the books, this wand belongs to Dru’s ultimate nemesis, an evil crystal sorceress bent on destroying the world.

Fun stuff! Especially because, hidden in the between all the fancy magic, there’s a little bit of science. Neat-o.

Did you know I’m giving away some actual crystals from It Happened One Doomsday? Enter to win by subscribing to my newsletter. Click here.>

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