All About Eve...

Writing like crazy on three items at the same time. And then, as if there was nothing better to do, I would stumble tonight on the TV over "All About Eve". It had been a while since I last saw that one and I was immediately riveted again. Witty dialogues, wonderfully atmospheric, carefully staged and incredible cast. I am usually not a nostalgic, but 'they don't make movies like that anymore!'

 Wikipedia "All About Eve" under Fair Use Policy

Wikipedia "All About Eve" under Fair Use Policy

So what is going these days? My rom-com chick lit start-up novel got the treatment a second round. I put in a lot of work in order to complete and edit and then decided to stop once more. The story is good, but not good enough yet. There are three women who in the course of the story will fall in love with three men. That is the easy part. But I have not figured out yet how to make the three fall-in-love cases unique. So far all three cases are pretty much the same. The male is the dominant one, making the female realize that her way is the wrong way and that she should put trust in steady relationship. Once is fine. Two maybe with a little variation acceptable. But three in one book in one fifth act is too much. As I ran out of ideas and lack the right tactic, I decided to shelf the book for now. 

What happens in the meanwhile? The next Teen Monster Hunter novel is in the making. Teen Vampire Hunters is going well, I am not measuring yet, but all chapters are defined and in place, so it is all a matter of writing and sticking to the formul. The first Teen Monster Hunters book was indeed the first one, introducing the main characters and the story format. But Teen Vampire Hunters will be the first one out of the regular story stack that will be sequence agnostic, meaning: you can read them in any order you like. There will be no overlap and no development that makes it necessary to stick to a sequence. All in "the formula". 

And then there is the German translation of "Teen Monster Hunters". Mostly to the benefit of my youngest son and his school peers. One of my books is always an appreciated gift or token, so the German version will go well with the locls. And maybe gives me opportunity to organize a reading one of these days, locally.

Cover to Cover - Why I needed "Teen Monster Hunters" darker!

Saturday had been creative change day.

Closed the story line on another RomCom romantic comedy  (What do you think about the tagline: "Three friends, one startup, one vow: no romantic distractions. Yeah, right!")

Decided what to write next, continuing the Teen Monster Hunters series with the next 50K word novel, working title "Teen Vampire Hunters".

Cover TMH1 800px.jpg

Changed the cover of Teen Monster Hunters. What? Why? I felt, the cover was too bright and cartoonish. I like the cartoon concept, to the extend that it will be a recurring theme for the next books and novella short stories. But for monster hunting story, the color scheme and cover should be slightly more edgy and scary. 

Teen Monster Hunters V2 Alex Ames 800px.jpg

Before and after. What do you think?

Edit, Edit, Edit! All in the name of "Good"!

I hope, I do not complain too much about the editing process as such. It is simply a brutally boring work but it needs to be done. Received back the edited version of my newest Young Adult novel. Grammar and spelling I already approved mostly unseen. Writing in a non-native language gives you almost no argument NOT to accept these type of errors. That took ten minutes. 

What takes ten days is the content edit: Rephrasing, rewriting, logical error. See below one of the many examples. 

 Typical edit for rephrasing

Typical edit for rephrasing

What brings me through this phase is good music in the background. Yesterday it was a rediscovered Gerry Rafferty's City to City. Tonight William Fitzsimmons's Derivates enriched by Halloween, Alaska. Enough, I shouldn't write blogs, I should edit my manuscript!

Rerun — Tom Clancy's Hunt for Red October — Thirty Years Later

Flashback 1985. I was much younger than today and started my adventure into reading books in English. Fueled by a stack of Sixties and Seventies classics from Perry Mason via Modesty Blaise to Alastair McLean and Hammond Innes, I browsed on day through Time Magazine and found the review of Tom Clancy's Red October. When I bought the paperback it was a fantastic read. It redefined the genre of military and thrillers, mixing latest technology with high paced adventure, fitting the sign of the times alongside "Top Gun". Clever twists and suspense made the book a fantastic read.


Fast forward. Can you believe it, I am thirty years older? Rereading Red October this winter after taking a long Tom Clancy hiatus. When he died recently I made the effort to recheck the catalogue and rediscovered the reboot of the Jack Ryan universe. I purchased the most recent book, not even written by Mr. Clancy but by Mark Greaney, and was hooked again. A very clever generational development where the hero is still Jack Ryan, but now the son, whereas old Ryan was once more in a second term as President. The president-twist had been the reason why I had abandoned the series altogether. That was a little stretched, right, a plane crashing into the Capitol during the State of the Nation address, catapulting interim Vice-President Ryan to the top chair... I had struggled through Executive Orders but then sworn off the series.

Well, that were the Nineties, pre-9-11, but sometime Science Fiction is overtaken by reality. Many years later, it turns out that the franchise is still working with some back to the basics. This sort of serial reboot happened a lot of times with many of the serial heroes I am following. Patricia Cornwell tried this with Kay Scarpetta, though it has not convinced me fully so far. Jonathan Kellerman had a stretch of very weak Alex Delaware novels, but bought the series back on track by concentrating on cases and the buddy relationship. Stuart Woods has moved Steve Barrington from a cul-de-sac story-line into enjoyable reads, too. Maybe a topic for a different post, anyway, who am I to argue, I am not in the double figures serial space. Yet.

Back to the topic at hand: So I decided to re-read Red October, too, the book where it all began. How does it hold up after thirty years of upheaval, left wing terrorism, right wing terrorism, iron curtain break-down, Russian revolutions, Russian economic development, 9-11? I must say, pretty good! The story of course builds on the cold war blue vs. red paradigm, which feels outdated, but, hey, the Russians are still the bad guys, right? They are no longer in Afghanistan, which is now the US playground, but now they muscle themselves into Ukraine and other states. But the submarine defection, the high-tech hunt, the clever twists and deceptions, all are still absolutely believable—well, in the definitions of the Clancy-verse.