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How to Write Two Books at Once

Step one: train yourself to become ambidextrous. Step two: train your eyes to look both ways at the same time. Step three: train your brain to embrace cognitive dissonance. And voila!

Maybe that might work for you, but I've found another strategy. I write every day, but I don't always have time to work on both novels the same day. Lately, I've written five episodes of AGROTHARN during the work week and two episodes of Murders on weekends. That's averaged out to 6K a week, almost as good as that 1K/day regimen I had going for a while, way back when.

It's helped that both books aren't in the same genre, even though they both have elements of comedy. AGROTHARN is sword & sorcery in space while Murders is post-WWII amateur sleuthing. AGROTHARN is written in third-person with multiple points of view, but Murders is first-person from the limited POV of the sleuth. The writing style of AGROTHARN is very loose and shot from the hip, while Murders is more formal and old school; thus AGROTHARN is easy to pick up and draft during breaks while Murders takes more time and effort at wordsmithing. Lastly, every episode of AGROTHARN is prompted by four story cubes, while Murders was originally based on a novella I wrote thirty years ago, but now has emerged as its own monstrous entity.

To summarize, in order to write two books at once, I've needed them to be very different, and I've needed the process to be very different. Yet, at the same time, it's helped that they're both comedies, so I don't have to take either one too seriously. Crafting the tale is serious work, but the path along the way has been chock-full of foibles and follies, and that's worked well for the humorous tone of each book. 

I'm shooting for 75K with AGROTHARN, and I'm over halfway there. 50K is the goal for Murders, and I've got about 6K left to go with that one. When I finish it, I'll either start on the sequel to Dust Freaks & Demigods, which is more action/adventure with less comedy, or the sequel to Double Murders are Twice as Bad. We'll see what the muse and the funny bone can agree on.

AGROTHARN Gets a Nice Review

"A fun blend of Conan the Barbarian and The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and sci-fi. When AGROTHARN, an Interstellar Semi-Barbarian, and his faithful Triceratops, Fred, encounter a trickster who has not only stolen his never-ending pot of porridge but broken it as well on the orders of AGROTHARN's long-missing (and thought dead) mother, he goes on a journey to find his mom. Along the way they encounter a T-Rex bent on avenging the death of his father, a group of alien hunters stranded on the planet, and talking trees. The story is broken up into serial format and is not complete; I look forward to reading the rest of it."

Introducing: Shadowland Theatre

Just in time for Halloween, a dozen (and counting) short stories from the darker, creepier side of life. 

I drafted these tales during StoryADay a few years back, and I haven't known what to do with them since. I don't really have the patience my younger self did, submitting stories to publishers and waiting for responses; as a result, this batch has suffered a bit of neglect while I've worked on other projects.

I've been having a blast with Kindle Vella this year—two novels written, and two in progress—so I decided to create an anthology series along the lines of The Twilight Zone, The Outer Limits, and Black Mirror. Short, perplexing standalone episodes of science fiction, horror, and fantasy guaranteed to stay with you long after you've turned out the lights for the night. That's the description, anyway.

Judge for yourself: the first three episodes are free to read right here.

Gonzo Western + Casablanca = ?!

Amazon     Apple     Audible

Gonzo: Bizarre. Freewheeling or unconventional, especially to the point of outrageous. Absurd, yet realistic in context with plot elements.

"A most unusual and entertaining story." 

"Wild, whimsical and like no other." 

"Really annoying. The characters are just strange." 

"Very well-written with great characters." 

"What did I just read!?! Made almost no sense!"

Amateur Sleuth

It's no secret that I like poking fun at various tropes, and I've written parodies in more than a few genres. But I've never tackled the "amateur sleuth" mystery before, and I've never written two novels at the same time—until now. While I'm still posting episodes of AGROTHARN regularly, I'm also writing my first Inspector Broekstein Mystery, Murders at the Manor, and posting one chapter at a time on Kindle Vella. Here's the blurb for this spoof-of-sorts:

"What would you say if I were to tell you I believed ... that in the heart of every man and woman alive, there lies the potential for ultimate evil?"  So begins a mystery of murder, jealousy, and revenge, as old friendships are tested and new alliances form. When a wealthy heir invites half a dozen people to his newly inherited estate, all hell breaks loose, and it will be up to the quirky, lovelorn Inspector Willem Broekstein to find out whodunnit.

Read the first three chapters for free right here.

Production Wrapped

This project has been in the works for a while, so I'm very pleased to announce that all of the audio files have been uploaded in record time and approved, and we're just waiting on the quality control folks to give us the green light. Then my brand-spankin' new audiobook will be available from Audible and Apple!

Last year, I signed a contract with another producer, but things didn't pan out. I wasn't sure I'd find a suitable replacement, but as soon as I heard John Warren Hart's audition last month, I knew I had the voice(s) of Trouble on the Range. He really went above and beyond to bring these characters to life.

Free Audiobook: Haiku + Microfiction = Maikro




Be the first to enter one of these Audible codes:

KYMSUCUYJSSTA
LL62TF9DHYQDW
MTFL8CXXRUN9F
SD4NYQUHFLRGA
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AGROTHARN vs. the Story Cubes of Doom

This month I'm giving myself a little exercise: writing an episode in my AGROTHARN the Interstellar Semi-Barbarian serial every day using story cubes. This is an activity I used to have my creative writing students do, and they really enjoyed it. Appearing on the Alternate Futures podcast back in April reminded me how much fun—and how much of a challenge—it can be to include four random things in a story; but thanks to that experience, I came up with a crazy new character I never would have met otherwise.

You can check out the first six episodes right here, and if you're interested in trying story cubes with your own writing, here are a few online versions I'm using: Story DiceStorygen, Story Constructor.

Novel #16

Finished writing my sixteenth novel this week, and it's my shortest yet: only 53K. The first draft was 30K, so I put some extra meat on its bones this time around—mostly situational comedy and quirky characters doing their thing. The more absurd, the better. I realize not all funny bones are created equal, so some folks will love it and others will hate it. That's okay. I enjoyed writing this thing and sharing each chapter with my first and favorite reader. A fun summer write/read.

All 26 episodes are now available via Kindle Vella, and I plan to keep them there for at least a few months or so. When I eventually pull Uncommoner from Vella and release it wide in eBook, paperback, and audio, I'll be using the cover art I've included with this post. Pretty snazzy, eh?

Check out the first three episodes for free right here.

New Short Story: Dark Delights


Dark Delights
by Milo James Fowler
Copyright © 2022 Milo James Fowler

They stand at the water’s edge, three forms as still as statues, as small as elves from another world, another time. Their eyes glow like pinholes in the darkness, twitching this way and that as they track their quarry across ripples and slick mud.

Grandmother watches from a distance, smiling to herself, praying they remember her teaching. Hopeful they will.

Emery reaches out as the golden beams of dawn’s first glow cut across the earth. She grasps her tin sieve with tiny hands and bends at the waist to catch the dark delights that slink her way. They stretch from the silhouettes of trees and large rocks, growing in size as they slither.

All Content © 2009 - 2022 Milo James Fowler