I'm excited today to have author John Hartness on my blog to share his thoughts about writing. He's written a great book on vampires who *gasp* aren't rock hard ab'd, uber suave and sexy but have great heart. He has a great sense of humor so make sure you grab a copy of his book, Hard Day's Knight.
** The Book **
Children are missing. The police are stumped. Halloween is coming, with an ancient evil on the horizon. The vampires are the good guys.
This is not your ordinary fall weekend in Charlotte, NC. Vampire private detectives Jimmy Black and Greg Knightwood have been hired to keep a young client from being cursed for all eternity, but end up in a bigger mess than they ever imagined.
Suddenly trapped in the middle of a serial kidnapping case, Jimmy and Greg uncover a plot to bring forth an ancient evil into the world, and enlist the help of a police detective, a priest, a witch, a fallen angel and strip club proprietor to save the world. This unlikely band of heroes battles zombies, witches, neuroses and sunburn while cracking jokes and looking for the perfect bag of O-negative.
** To Buy The Book **
Tech Tools for WritersBeing a geek, and writing books for geeks and about geeks, (vampire geeks, but geeks nonetheless) I use a lot of cool toys for writing. A few of these are frivolous, a few are vital to my process, but they’re all worth a look-see, especially for the gadget geek in your life who happens to write.
I write using a piece of software called Scrivener. It’s a word-processor and so much more! Like the old food processor commercials, it slices, it dices, it even makes Julienne Fries! Scrivener has a couple of features that make it stand out from the other word processors around, at least for me. First is the corkboard layout feature - the way I set things up all my chapters become little notecards on a corkboard, and I can move things earlier or later in the book just by dragging and dropping. I’m an extremely visual nerd, so this is a huge help to me.
Another thing I love about Scrivener is the sidebar, also full of notecards. This lets me put character details that I’m terrible about remembering into the sidebar, and then import them into the next book. So no more confusion about whether my main character is 6’ 3” or 6’4”, or whether his partner drives a 1967 or 1968 GTO. Excellent for a seat of the pants kinda guy like me.
Then there’s the export feature - Scrivener makes ebooks in the formats most often used by Amazon and Barnes & Noble, so all I have to do is drop the cover in and press “compile,” and my ebook is complete! That means that I’m no longer paying someone $150 per book to format the work for digital publication, and that makes the $45 for the software smell like a huge deal.
Another big thing for me is my iPhone. It certainly doesn’t need to be an iPhone, but could probably be any smartphone. I use it as a digital voice recorder when I’m driving, and I drive quite a bit. This lets me not lose story ideas, because I’m a big flake and would forget my head if it weren’t attached.
Evernote is a piece of software that does the same thing, only in written form. Evernote is a note-taking device that syncs web, phone and computer all together, so that all my to-do lists sync together and tell me just how behind I really am on any given project! But really, it’s where I can jot down quick notes on my phone or iPad, then recall them when I’m sitting at the computer later. Evernote and the voice memo function on my phone are life-savers when it comes to not forgetting those fleeting moments of inspiration that invariably happen when I’m out driving, or somewhere that I don’t have access to a computer, or even pen and paper.
Then there’s my headphones. It’s sometimes hard to get adequate separation from the world, so I use a pair of nice noise-cancelling headphones when I write. I originally bought them for plane rides, but they’re pretty good when the wife wants to watch a loud movie in the next room while I want to write and listen to Bela Fleck or Joe Satriani, neither of whom are in her standard playlist. So I just put on my headphones and the world goes away for an hour or two.
What do you use to write that’s outside the norm?
Next stop on the blog tour is Readergirls
** About The Author **
His first novel, The Chosen, is an urban fantasy about saving the world, snotty archangels, gambling, tattooed street preachers, immortals with family issues, bar brawls and the consequences of our decisions. He followed up The Chosen with Hard Day’s Knight, a new twist on the vampire detective novel and the first in a planned series of at least five books. The second book of The Black Knight Chronicles, Back in Black, landed in March 2011 and has enjoyed immediate success. John has been called “the Kevin Smith of Charlotte,” and fans of Joss Whedon and Jim Butcher should enjoy his snarky slant on the fantasy genre. His next novel, Knight Moves (Black Knight Chronicles Vol. 3) is due out in the summer of 2011. He can be found online at www.johnhartness.com and spends too much time on Twitter, especially after a few drinks.