The current state of Grim Curio & Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye

It’s been a while since I stepped away from all things blog and social media related. December 2018 came around and I felt like I needed to avert my gaze from the internet for a time. But I’ve remained busy, so today I’ll take a moment to share with you what’s been going on.

Grim Curio

Grim Curio is my current major work in progress, a novel about the refugees in the last city on left earth after three calamities ravaged the planet. Last year I sent it out to 15 beta readers, received excellent feedback, then set the novel aside for a while to get some perspective.

In that off time, I wrote Peculiar Case, but when that work finished, I returned to edit Grim Curio and have been hard at work ever since. The edits are going slow but well. After editing and reading the first quarter of the novel several times, I feel like it’s almost in a finished state.

So that leaves three quarters of the novel left to go. Here’s the kind of changes I’m making:

More explicit communication of themes

I’m being more explicit about my themes. There are lots of themes that touch on the current state of the world, but turn them on their head. I didn’t shy away from controversial topics in the earlier drafts, but now I’m making everything explicit.

Readers of the latest edits have really responded to this, and it seems the direct nature of the themes makes them take a second to think not only about the state of the world of Grim Curio but about the state of the real world as well, which is what I want. It’s entertaining but hopefully will shift something in your brain if I do my job right.

Seamless transition between narration and character thought

One goal of mine was to make the reader feel like they intimately understand the main characters. I want you to feel like you’re in their heads, but I also hate italics as thought markers in other novels, and I feel like jumping from narration to internal thought is jarring in most novels.

So I came up with a stylistic solution that I’ve never seen done before and I’m really proud of. In the current edit, I’m spreading this style of internal thought through seamless narration shifts throughout. It takes a lot of thought to make it work but it’ll be worth it in the end.

Adding scenes where there seems to be a gap in the story or logic

This is an obvious one, but occasionally the jump from one scene to the next is jarring. In the previous draft, the reader would need to piece together what might have happened to get from one scene to the next. This issue wasn’t prevalent throughout but there were definitely a few times where it pops up.

In most cases, a paragraph or two seems to solve the issue, but in one major case I’m adding an entire new chapter. As you might imagine, this is the most time consuming part of the edit as new scenes take several pass throughs and edits themselves in order to be brought up to snuff with the rest of the novel.

Removing some experimental narration

In the earlier drafts, I had many cases where I was trying something new. I wanted to create an atmosphere where the narrator could occasionally address the characters as if a character itself. While I enjoyed it, it was clear my readers we very split on these bits.

It was an experiment after all and it looks as if the experiment failed. So I’m rewriting these scenes to follow a more traditional style of narration. Perhaps another day in another novel I’ll be able to perfect this, but for now I’m cutting my losses and moving on without this element to the novel.

So that’s what’s been going on with Grim Curio. But there’s another novel I have up in the air, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it, so let’s take a sec to talk about Peculiar Case.

The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye

I had planned on documenting the publication process of this one and I dropped the ball when I stepped away from the internet. So here’s what’s happening with that.

Last year I published Peculiar Case on Patreon before I sending it out to publications. I learned something through that process. Apparently, publications consider having something published on Patreon as “previously published” and most won’t accept it at that point.

Currently, it’s still readable to patrons on my Patreon page. For now, I’ve stopped sending it out to magazines. I have two options with it, self publish or keep it in my back pocket until after Grim Curio is published so I have a nice follow-up novel. I’m leaning towards the latter.

So Peculiar Case is out there for you to read if you want to be a patron, but for publishing purposes, I’m holding off for the time being while I strategize my publishing career. It’s a bummer, but I think to wait, in the long run, will work out to my benefit.

Attempt #1 – Publishing Peculiar Case

Hello dear reader. It’s been a while. I’ve been away from the internet for most of the holidays. It wasn’t exactly planned, but it wasn’t terrible either. Hope you had a great holiday season, happy new year, and and a general good go at things.

As for me, I have news about my recent novelette The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye. I finished writing it early December and shared with beta readers and Patrons, but now I’m taking the next step and reaching out to publications!

I just submitted Peculiar Case to Asimov Magazine and I’m hopeful it’ll find a home in one of their upcoming issues. You never know how these things will go, but I’m feeling great about this story. Publishing it in a reputable place will help me achieve one of my many goals of 2019.

Specifically, I want to expand my fan base and make my next novel, Grim Curio, a best seller. I’m hoping Peculiar Case is able to take me a step closer to both those goal.

Seth Godin said something along the lines of, “Don’t go looking for agents, write something so compelling that they come looking for you.” That’s my mentality right now. There very well may come a time where I actively search for agents, but till then, I hope to publish Peculiar Case somewhere where it will be noticed and unable to be ignored.

So that’s what I’ve been working on the past month. Cross your fingers for me. And if you’ve read any good books lately, be sure to let me know in the comments.

Now in early access, The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye only on Patreon.com/SCBarrus

Announcing Early Access feat. The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye

Early Access is here, and it’s on Patreon now! For the past year, I’ve been working on a way to deliver Early Access stories to you so you can read and support my work before it’s published. Today is the day where it all comes together.

Starting with my brand new novella The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, you can read my upcoming works before anyone else. In fact, the entirety of Peculiar Case is available in early access right now. Read it today!

The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye

A distraught client comes knocking in the dead of night seeking Willem, a detective specializing in supernatural anomalies. Her employer, a wealthy recluse with macabre sensibilities, suffers from an otherworldly disease—ghostly blue parasites live in his eye.

Willem set’s to work at what may become the most dangerous case of his career. With the help of Dr. Florence, a gifted surgeon and Willem’s infatuation, they seek to save their client’s life. But things are worse than they feared, and soon it is they who will need to be saved.

If you want to start reading The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, jump on in. Or read on to learn more about my Early Access progra.

What is Early Access?

Early Access is a new feature I’ve put together on Patreon—it’s how you can read my upcoming works before they’re published. They’ve gone through several rounds of editing, including a developmental edit, beta read, and a round of high-tech machine-learning-fueled proofreading.

While Early Access works will have several free to read parts, to gain access to the entire story you’ll need to be a Patron, which you can become for only $1. Great news, that $1 will also earn you my complete library of ebooks! That’s 2 published novels, 3 short stories, and 1 Early Access novella. And if you stick around, there are 2 more novels planned for Early Access in 2019.

Become a patron today.

That’s all from me today, but I have more cool things to announcing in the coming months, so be sure to stop by my blog often to make sure you’re always in the loop.

My Publishing Goals for 2019 — How I plan to get 6,000 dedicated fans

Lately, I’ve been contemplating my goals and the steps I need to take to accomplish them. I’ve been reading lots of books on psychology, success, and becoming a thriving artist. One thing I’ve learned is, if you don’t define your goals, put them out there, and define the steps that will lead you to success, then it likely won’t in the way you imagine happen.

So I’ve once again updated and redefined my goals, and now I’m putting them out into the universe to see what happens. My goals are lofty, but I know they’re achievable if I work deliberately.

In the coming year, I have one major goal and several sub-goals that will help me achieve it. Let’s start with the big one.


What I’m listening to while I write this post:


6,000 dedicated fans

When I say dedicated fans, I mean the people who eagerly await my next release and jump on the opportunity to buy my next book. That’s a high number and will be difficult to accomplish. But it’s also a deliberate number.

I’ve read that an artist with a following of 6,000 fans should generate enough income to survive off their art. While I likely wouldn’t quit my job at this point, it would set me up financially to invest in polishing my writing, marketing, and packaging far more than I can now.

Originally, I was thinking of setting my goal lower. 6,000 dedicated fans is a lot, after all. But I’m taking some of the advice from 10X Rule by James Clear which argues that you should set goals 10 time higher than your initial estimates.

I think that’s a smart plan, so I’m setting my primary goal for 2019 high and taking deliberate actions to accomplish it.

What follows are my sub-goals that will support my primary goal of 6,000 dedicated fans in order of priority.

Regular release schedule

The past two years I’ve been working hard on preparing for regular releases. I have several projects in the works that are starting to see the light of day in one form or another.

To keep this sustainable, I plan on alternating release from full-length novels to short stories or novellas then back again. The end game is to maintain a cadence of releasing something every six months or so.

This will take a lot of work, but I think with the alternating formats, it will be possible. In fact, I’m currently set up to release 3 books in 2019: The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye, Grim Curio, and The Gin Thief: Episode 2.

Build a robust creative team

Of course, publishing content is my top priority. You’re not a novelist unless you publish novels. But building a “creative team” is just as important. Art isn’t created in a vacuum, and I don’t intend to be a solitary author who rarely emerges from the shadows.

I want to create a thriving community of like-minded people. People who actively participate in the creation, production, and distribution of art. And before I sound too snobby, I’m really talking about everyday readers like you. 

There are several ways you can participate. To be a part of my creative team, you first need to sign up and make it official. There’s really no commitment, just a desire to read, review, share, or finance my art and in return receive special access and cool rewards.

Fix back catalog issues

I have a few wrinkles I need to iron out in my back catalog. The two big one have to do with Discovering Aberration and The Gin Thief.

Discovering Aberration is held back by an awkward intro and editing issues. I attempted to fix them a few months ago but went overboard on my edits. So starting in about two weeks, I’m going to tackle this problem once and for all! It’s driving me nuts.

Next, I have The Gin Thief: Ep 1 that’s been waiting for a second episode for years. I’m not happy that this has taken so long, but I’ve talked about reasons in the past. Now I’m talking about solutions. It’s time to get a move on, and in the early months of 2019 Episode 2 will be written.

Early Access

Part of my new release strategy is to release Early Access content regularly on Patreon. Patrons help me finance things like editing and cover design. In return, they get ebooks, Early Access content, and more.

The Peculiar Case of the Luminous Eye is the first work to hit Early Access. It’ll have a proper announcement in the next week or two. As long as I keep the quality of my Early Access works high, I think I’ll be able to attract fresh blood.

Offline experiences

Most authors focus their marketing efforts online, and as a result, it’s easy to drown in the noise. Of course I’ll use the web as best I can to get the word out about my work, but I believe offline experiences are more important now than ever.

In 2019 I plan on offering offline experiences whereever I can. These may come in the form of mailers, printed and signed Early Release chapters, etc. I want to create cool things that you can touch and interact with.

1,000 Patrons

My first instinct was to write 100 patrons. Attracting patrons is hard as hell. But I need to aim higher than that and work smarter at it. If 1,000 of you offer your patronage at any level in return for free books, Early Access content, and even surprise gifts, I’ll be able to afford extra polish on my releases.

Next year, I really want to schedule a Sci-Fi / Fantasy convention tour so I can meet you in person. Conventions are where I’ve always been the most successful at selling books and attracting fans, so this would be massive. I don’t know if I can finance this on my own, but with enough patron support, I will definitely be able to.

What’s the end goal?

6,000 dedicated fans is a tall order, but it’s just a step on the road to my lifetime goal. By the time I die, I want to be considered one of the best writers of my generation. I want to be known for pushing genre conventions, embracing literary elements, and having created more than one masterpieces. I want my fiction to affect the world.

That’s lofty, I know. But other people have done it before me. Why not I? It’s always been a dream of mine to labeled among the best storytellers. So every year, I need to take steps toward making that happen.

2018 was all about improving my writing. 2019 will be about spreading the word. And 2020? Who knows. All I know is the struggle will continue, and every year I’m getting one step closer.