Monday, July 22, 2019

Getting another project off the ground

Over the last couple of years, many readers have inquired as to which book I'm writing, and which books -- if my WIP happens to be part of a series -- they should re-read or catch up on in time for that WIP's release in ebook or print form.

As you already know, my book production has slowed to a crawl over most of the last two years, since the Fall of 2017. I lost a lot of time due to a pair of radio shows, and those shows really slowed my roll. You can't really get into a groove when you write for three days, take a day to drive half an hour, do an hour radio show, and then drive home and collapse, then write for two days and take another day for a show. You just can't.

At least I can't. Your mileage may vary.

And with the exception of The Jaclyn Johnson Experience's long-awaited release back in May... I can't tell you how much of a relief it was to get something out in 2019, especially not having released anything in some 15-16 months before that.

But there is more coming on the horizon. It may be in the distant horizon, but it's coming. The first book in the Glorious series is currently at my editing crew. I think there will be some work to do on it when I get it back at the end of the American soccer season, but I'm not really worrying about it until then.

The erotic thriller I penned? I truncated the thriller aspects and just made it an erotic novella. It's at a group of editors now, and I suspect that will be out in due time.

Yet... there's more.

Over the last couple of days, I've spent some time brainstorming out a new book that'll be part of my Ricky Madison series -- you know, The Long Crimson Line and Persuaded By The Reflections. I don't have a title just yet, but I have five pages, printed, of plot, character sketches, and thoughts for Ricky to encounter during this tale. Generally, Ricky novels are 90,000-100,000-word behemoths, and I think it's fair to say this one will be, too.

In reading over my outline -- which right now is jumbled and really in no particular order -- I have to say that I'm actually impressed. I really like how this story came together, all done in a few days. Moving my fingers across the keyboard like lightning as I let my thoughts flow across the screen. It was almost too easy to let things come to my mind.

I found there will be a couple of redundancies, such as characters' mothers who have no idea what's going on with their sons -- which is, when one thinks about it, realistic. It's something that Ricky might expound on in thought. We'll see. I don't think that it's a bad thing to have a redundancy such as these. You don't necessarily run into two people who are exactly alike... but sometimes you encounter similar traits and things in different people. It happens, and I think -- at least what I have written now -- that's how this novel will play out.

My hope is that I'll get started on it either this week or next, and we'll see how far I get. I'll still have soccer to cover, so the thought of plowing through this story is out -- and I doubt that I get to do something like that again. The days of 3,000 words per day are long gone. I'm not going to rush this book, and my hope is that it'll be just as gritty as Persuaded is.

Even so, the fact that I've managed to get another project off the ground -- one which I think will be so much easier to write than Glorious -- is pretty remarkable.

Thursday, June 27, 2019

Jaclyn Johnson box set now available, on sale at a low introductory price... for now

Early in May, I released THE JACLYN JOHNSON EXPERIENCE, a box set on ebook only to all online retailers. Right now, it's priced at the low, introductory price of $4.99. Five bucks for nine books, plus a novella and a few never-before-seen short stories tied into the world? Really, it's an unbeatable bargain.

How long will I keep the price at $4.99? Right now, I haven't decided. I had originally said that price would remain in effect until Mother's Day. That was last month, and it's still priced at $4.99. I could keep it there until the Fourth of July, but again... I want as many eyes on the box set as possible, and who knows how many shares, retweets, etc. that I'll get. I want many people to purchase this set at $4.99 before I raise the price. After all... it's a bargain. Legal thievery. And all that. People should easily one-click a nine-book box set at that price.

And that cover is absolute fire.

Seriously, there are flames in the cover. That's just how fire it is.

I'll take a few questions now.

Q: Why just ebook? Why not an ink-and-paper version?

A: The answer is simple: I've always been about producing low-cost books for consumers. I know it's their money and they can spend it how they want, but I don't want people to drop a ton of cash on me. Back when I originally published The Obloeron Trilogy, back when it was just a trilogy, it cost readers upward of $30 for a trade paperback book, with the fonts uber-tiny to make sure the costs were kept to an absolute minimum... and it was still $30. That's just how it is in the indie world. This is a nine-book endeavor, plus a novella, plus some short stories. This would be upward of $100 for three separate thrillogies -- if that's a word -- editions, because there's no way to get all nine in one. No way at all.

Q: If I have all nine books separate, why would I get the box set?

A: Do you have the novella? I know you don't have the shorts. This edition gives you everything. And it's only $4.99 that you weren't using, right?

Q: What will happen if you decide to write another Jaclyn novel? It wouldn't be the complete collection then, would it?

A: At some point, I will write another Jaclyn... just not right now. I have an outline/plot treatment that's been stewing for some time. Maybe I will get to it in a couple of years, after the Glorious series is done and dusted, or after I get fired from the soccer job. And then again, I could start a whole new JJ series, just not under the AGENT moniker... which is how I had planned to do things seven or eight years ago, but I was talked out of it. We'll see. My mind might change by then.

Q: Can I have it for free?

A: Sure! I'm sure it's up on a pirate site by now; download to your heart's content. But please be sure to tell 10 people about it, because that would be so nice.

Q: And where can I get it should I want to get it by legal means?

A: Very simple. It's available on Kindle (US/UK), Nook, Kobo, and Apple iBooks. If you're in another country outside of the US/UK, you can always click the link and easily pop in your Amazon extension (.de, .ca, .au, etc) in place of .com or

Q: What are you working on now?

A: Right now I'm a few days away from giving Glorious Slip -- current working title, may revise it -- its third-draft read-through. The hope is that I have nothing to do to it and that I can ship it off to Kim by the Fourth of July for her eyes, as well as to Bruce for re-title suggestions. Once that's done and dusted, I can get started on the cover -- I have to give Kent a call -- as well as the second book in the series. I'm hoping to get that started in August, but if not, October is a more reasonable time frame to get it underway. I'm also halfway through an erotic thriller that I will release under a pen name. Just need to work on the transition from the erotica part to the thriller part.

Thanks for your support!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

A little flash fiction for you

A few months ago, before I started the stretch run in GLORIOUS SLIP, I needed to get my fingers back into fiction mode after X amount of time away from it. This flash fiction piece was the result; I had seen a cartoon on Facebook depicting this scene, and I figured it was a good exercise to get the writing muscles re-attuned.

Hope you enjoy.

Copyright 2019, Sean Sweeney


Death Meets An Alien

Passing the TV, Bob flicked the porn off as he returned to his bed, feeling plenty lighter in his groin. He had just left the bathroom, content with his clean-up abilities for the present, the tissues wadded and sent to his septic tank. Traces of his seminal fluid remained on his skin, matting the thin hairs between his groin and navel to his body. He didn’t care about that; the cleaning job was to make sure that his baby-making goo didn’t coat the inside of his underwear and turn it into a crusty mess; the rest, he figured, would come off in the shower tomorrow morning.

“Ah, lesbians are like plumbers,” he said as he slid under the covers again. “They never cease to help clear my pipe.”

Bob’s head hit the pillow a heartbeat later. As soon as he closed his eyes, the scenes from the porno replayed over and over again as he drifted off, a dreamy smile tracing along his lips. He saw their bodies collide together, their legs scissoring as they mashed their groins against the other. He didn’t remember anything else after the duo separated and approached him; two pairs of breasts, full and fake and coming to rest alongside each other, came crashing down across his conscious self before sleep claimed him.

The heavy clunk of metal against the wall jolted Bob from his heavy slumber hours later, the breath catching in his throat as he jerked from the mattress. He didn’t make a move for the slick goop lingering in the corner of his eye, focused he was on the open door and the darkness beyond it.

“Hello?! Who’s there?!”

No answer came. Bob ground his teeth together.

“I’m calling the police!” he shouted.

“The police won’t help you.”

Bob felt the blood draining from his face, replaced by cold clamminess. The voice came through high-pitched and Arctic, and with such force that it felt all the air in the room had departed. He couldn’t help but notice just how his body shivered from hearing it; he clenched his buttocks almost on instinct, as if preventing his bowels from voiding its contents into his jammies.

The creature slipped into the bedroom a moment later, and Bob didn’t hear his floorboards shifting under the being’s weight. He heard nothing over the sound of his blood thundering in his inner ears.

But the being’s voice sliced through the din with utter sharpness, with the force of a razor grating against Bob’s nerves.

“I have come for you, Robert Wellington,” it said half a moment before the door closed of its own volition. “Your time has reached its end.”

Bob tried to speak. He did his best to pry open his jaws and let sounds flow, but the fright at the being’s presence — a long black cowl shielding its face from anyone’s gaze, along with the scythe it held in one bony hand — reverted him to mere babble. His throat felt as if a python had slithered across and held him within its mighty grasps, for his breath felt choked. His chest ached from the fierce beating his heart gave the inside of his sternum. He continued his lengthy shiver, even as he did his best to shrink underneath the heft of his comforter.

“Why?” Bob squeaked. He thought he had shouted the word, but it came through his lips like a whisper.

“Do not ask why,” the specter of death hissed. “Accept.” It moved forward, easing itself toward Bob’s left foot. It lowered the scythe, almost bringing it parallel to the bed. “Accept. Your soul is mi—”

Crack. The door flung itself open again, the knob driving into the wall. This time, the angel of death spun to see who dared intrude; Bob glanced that way and saw rays of bright light streaming into his room — along with fog rolling and rising.

Bob blinked.

What the f—? he thought, his mind spinning.

The fog cloud grew in size and density until it filled the threshold to Bob’s bedroom. Bob blinked again, then glanced at the specter; it kept whatever served as its gaze fixed on the doorway.

Can I get away? he wondered. Its concentrations are now elsewhere; surely I can slide out of bed, open a window, crawl out, and shimmy down the drainpipe. And without making a single noise.

The thought disappeared as eerie tones resembling a long, throaty whistle purred from the hall. The resonance made Bob recall the times he watched War of the Worlds, right before —

He sought out the bedclothes and grasped them, hard, until the cartilage in his knuckles popped.

Then, Bob stared deep into the fog as it shifted, and through the vapor stepped an extra terrestrial, an alien, its ovoid head and beady black eyes seeking one thing — him, its own gaze landing right on him, almost immediately upon entry.

“Robert,” it said, its voice almost sounding computerized, “we have come to take you away from Earth. The information you have garnered for us resides in the probe we inserted into your rectum the last time—”

Bob wanted to scream.

“Which Robert are you looking for?” the specter of death interrupted, gliding toward the alien.

The alien, to its credit, blinked its eyes and turned to face the specter.

“Gilbride. He lives here, right?”

Bob blinked as the alien pulled what looked like a map from hammerspace; the being wore no pants. All extraneous sounds save Bob’s racing heart and that of the paper unfolding disappeared.

“See, our information led us here. Robert Gilbride lives here.”

“No, no,” the specter rebutted. “He doesn’t live here any longer. I took his soul ages ago.”

“Are you sure?”

“Quite positive. Once you’re mine, you’re mine. No ifs, ands, or buts about it.”

The alien threw up its hands, almost in defeat.

“Rats. You didn’t happen to retrieve a probe, did you?”

“That,” the specter replied, “is not in my purview.”

“Damn it. That information is critical to our intended invasion. But onto other matters: Since you are so in-the-know, do you happen to know where Evelyn Bulfinch lives?”

“Why yes, she’s in the next town. Double chimney, satellite dish. Colonial home. Scheduled for reclaiming in October 2025.”

Bob noticed the alien almost grinned when the angel of death gave the month and year.

“We’ll have her back well before that,” it said. “You have my guarantee.”

The alien then crossed its thin arms against its chest and raised its head toward the ceiling. It shimmered into nothingness, almost as if it defragmented itself. The fog cloud fizzled away, and the supernatural light retreated, leaving everything dark — almost too dark for Bob’s liking.

Then, the specter spun again, facing the bed, and Bob knew this was it. The end of the road.

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Second draft was -- surprisingly -- enjoyable to write

By a general rule, I do not like to do massive changes to a story once the first draft is written. I just don't. Pulling at a plot thread leads to unraveling, and soon I have a mess on my hands. I prefer to make cosmetic changes -- i.e. grammar, word choice, punctuation, expounding on certain thoughts -- and let the book go from there.

Of course, there are exceptions to the rule: I obviously made massive changes to THE OBLOERON SAGA a few years ago; I re-wrote the opening to MODEL AGENT, but didn't do a massive re-tooling of the book. I believe that I'm going to do something similar to TURNING BACK THE CLOCK this summer, and get it out in time for the book's 10th anniversary -- not to mention the 100th anniversary of the Black Sox Scandal and the Sale of Babe Ruth -- in October.

But I couldn't do that with GLORIOUS SLIP. There were some egregious errors -- stuff that just wasn't realistic -- in the first five chapters (well, from Ch. 2 to Ch. 5, and into Ch. 6) that just needed changing. I couldn't let them stay.

And to my surprise, the second draft as a whole was actually pleasurable to write. I believe that it was more pleasurable than writing the first draft. I actually felt more alive during the second draft than I did pulling teeth for the first.

Now don't get me wrong; the first draft read well despite the problems, but now I believe that the book is absolutely solid and I don't believe I'll have much to change when I re-read the book in June. Of course, I could be wrong and that there will be loads to do, putting the kibosh on me working on TBTC's 10th Anniversary edition.

If all goes well and we get a cover that is fire for this book, it is entirely possible that this book will be available for September 2019.

Again, and I keep saying this... I can't wait to show you the book.

Saturday, February 16, 2019

First draft to GLORIOUS SLIP finally done, on to the second draft

Phew. That took a while, didn't it?

This past Wednesday afternoon, I put the capper on the first draft to GLORIOUS SLIP, the first book in my planned men's adventure time travel series. The draft checked in at 189 pages, and at 81,850 words, it is my shortest full-length novel. And with the exception of THE QUEST FOR THE CHALICE, my first novel (part of THE OBLOERON SAGA), the 15 months it took me to complete the first draft was the longest I've ever needed to do so.

Take a bow? Not quite yet.

On Friday, I dove into the start of the second draft, added about 101 words to the prose, tweaking the first chapter and a half. I stopped after coming to a part which will need all my attention in the next few days: a massive re-write of a 1,900-word scene that just doesn't make sense to anything resembling a realistic happening -- or realism, period. I suspect it shouldn't take me more than a few days to straighten out, but there are some other threads attached to this scene in the next chapter or so which also need re-writing; you pull at one thread, and the entirety of the project falls apart, right?

That can happen, but I don't think that will necessarily happen here: this activity should oh-most-definitely turn the start of the narrative to titanium.

So why did it take me so long to write? You have to remember something: when I started this novel back in November 2017, I ran into some issues that I didn't foresee whatsoever.

There was The Great Root Canal post Thanksgiving, which took me out of service for a couple of days (seriously, so many dental issues that took up a lot of time between then and this past Christmas... 13 months of driving back and forth to my dentist in Holden, about 45 minutes or so each way).

There was the fact I really couldn't get a handle on this project; I wanted to tell a complete story, like I always do, and I wanted to do so in a completely different voice, so it made the writing feel like I was pulling teeth.

I also had two trips to my hometown every week to do a pair of local sports radio shows, which also demanded on my time, especially when it came to teams that I didn't cover personally; I couldn't write afterward, because those trips and shows took a lot out of me emotionally.

And in April of last year, I took on a wonderful dream job: on top of covering the local high schools, I started covering the New England Revolution soccer team, and even though it's considered part time, I threw myself into it like I always do. All of those things wrapped into one, unfortunately, and it meant GLORIOUS had to go on the shelf. I did get a little written during the tail end of the World Cup in July, but that was it for the first draft until the offseason began -- and even then I was still busy with high school sports until December. And even then, with me taking some time off from the high school sportswriting because the newspaper owed me so much money from November alone, it was still a challenge to open the file and get some words in.

With the Revs spending the preseason in Spain and now in Florida, and with what appears like no streams of the matches in sight, I resolved at the end of January to get the first draft, at the very least, completed by the start of the regular season on March 2. That's accomplished, yes, but I'm not giving the story time to breathe like I usually do; I feel that with the time I have afforded to me, I should at the very least try to get most of the book's issues sorted -- which, like I always say, are in the first half of the book.

Will I get the full second draft completed by the start of the regular season? Probably not. Maybe; I'm not counting on it, though. I should be able to crank the re-writes out this week, and then there's some additions to the story that I came up with a couple of weeks ago: some Doc Brown-esque letters by the protagonist to his parents that wouldn't be delivered until after he had disappeared, so I have those to write. If I get the second draft finished by then, fantastic. If not, it won't bother me until June, when the Revs have a few weeks off due to the Gold Cup. I don't suspect that there will be too much to re-write in the second half of the novel, but you never know.

In all seriousness, I don't want to rush such an important book. It's the first in a planned trilogy, with a lot of the action happening in books two and three. This is a set-up book, to hook the readers and get them to buy books two and three, whenever I get to write them (and if something else gets in my way, it may be a few years before I get the opportunity to sit down and churn out the pages). I'm going to take my time with these re-writes and revisions (read: small tweaks, such as grammar or expounding on other things), and make sure the book is pure fire before I send it to Kim for her edits. I may send it to Bruce, too. He's a history buff, and I'm sure that he'll have things to contribute, advice-wise.

I really can't wait to show you the first book. It's going to be some time, though, so please be patient with me.

Thanks for your time, as always.