So now that I know that after Monster Hunter Vendetta, the next MH book from Baen will be Monster Hunter Alpha (i.e. the Earl Harbinger novel), I’ve had to get my butt to work. Luckily for me I managed to beat Dragon Age: Origins last week, so that wasn’t calling to me and it looks like Call of Duty: MW2 will have to wait for a bit. (you know that you’ve had to do a lot of writing when you meet a bunch of fans in Arizona and one of them says that they haven’t seen you on Xbox Live in like two months! Sorry, Hyrum, I will return!)
I wrote pretty much all day on Saturday. My wife (who is far handier than I am at this kind of thing) is finishing our downstairs bathroom, so she’d occasionally call me to lift something heavy or to hit something with a hammer, but other than that it was pure writing fun. I don’t do well at the whole home/car repair thing. Basically my wife says that when it comes to that kind of thing, my ratchet is twice as tight as a normal person. So for example, a repair problem that would be a 1 for most people is a 2 for me. A 5 turns into a 10. etc. If something is really difficult it usually ends up with my car catching on fire inside the garage, tearing the driver’s side door off, and then being rolled out into the street and left to smolder. (that is actually a true story).
Good thing that I’m good at writing and accounting or I would have starved a long time ago! I managed to get 5,000 words done, which isn’t bad. I tend to start slow at the beginning of the novel, but then it tends to come faster and faster as I get into it. Usually by the time I get to the end of the story, I can do 10,000 words on a Saturday and 2,000 words a night during the week.
I took a Facebook break and saw that Brandon Sanderson was at my local Barnes & Noble doing a signing. I know Brandon pretty well, as he was the first person to really give me good solid advice on the business of writing. Since then I’ve done his Writing Excuses podcast. He’s a great guy, and for being Mr. Super Author, really humble.
Now I’ve never got into WoT. I read the first one when I was in high school. The first time I met Brandon was at a Con where he was the guest of honor and I was a dude with a self published book that had just gotten picked up by Baen. He had a table and was signing books. It had just been announced that he was going to finish Robert Jordan’s mega epic.
Brandon had been surrounded by about twenty hardcore WoT fans. It was more like an angry mob. They were absolutely grilling him. “Are you going to do this?!” “What about so & so?” “You better make the such and such do that one thing!” They were absolutely brutal. I came up afterward, introduced myself, and said that I felt kind of bad for him, because if he screwed this up, these people were going to actually murder him.
Here we are a while later, and he is #1 on the New York Times bestseller list, and the reviews are universally good. Brandon pulled it off. He managed to make the vast majority of the Jordan fans happy enough that they didn’t burn his house down. Most of the reviews I’ve seen have been some variation of “More happened in this book than in the last 3 Jordan books”. The only people he hasn’t made happy are the internet cranks, but come on, nothing makes those guys happy. I know, I’ve read their reviews of MHI.
So I headed down to B&N. Brandon has been on a mega book tour for the last book in the Wheel Of Time epic, and I know that he’s been getting literally hundreds of people at his signings. This one was relatively quiet, but then I remembered. It was the BYU vs. Utah game. The whole state shuts down for that. The least effective signing I had ever done was at that very same B&N on a Saturday where both BYU and Utah were playing big games.
I ended up selling half a dozen books myself, because as I walked up, Brandon pointed at me, told everybody who I was, and pronounced my book awesome. So I took a crowd of people over to where my section. (Luckily this is my local B&N, so they keep lots of my stuff in stock, which made me look even more cool). There was even a kid who was about 12, who came over and said “You wrote Monster Hunter! That is the best book ever!” Which was really good for my ego.
Paul Genesse is another local author and friend of mine. Paul showed up too, so the three of us grabbed a quick dinner afterward. Paul’s an extremely talented writer, but unfortunately for him he originally was picked up by a small press, with lousy distribution, zero marketing, and now they’re dropping their whole fantasy line, even though Paul is their bestselling writer with two books into a three book series. He has some other projects in the works though, and I’m positive he will find another publisher.