Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Spewing Words Daily

Okay, so I've been working on Thorn and Shadow for ten days now, and I've managed just over 20,000 words, which means I've averaged 2,000 words a day. Now, that is way behind Michael Moorcock, but at least I've doubled my old average. Not too shabby. At this rate, Thorn and Shadow will be finished in about 50 days.

When I say "finished," I mean "first draft complete." Of course, many more days of rewrites would follow. Nevertheless, I will have completed a novel in record time, if I can pull it off. The story has a nice thrust to it. It starts off with tension, and that tension just builds and builds and fairly quickly crazy, wild things begin to happen. This makes the story easy to write. I know where it's headed, and there's not a lot of drag along the way.

So there you go. The daily minutiae of a writer. Aren't you thrilled?

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Surviving Round Two

I survived the second book signing. The first hour was pretty slow and uneventful, to the extent that I began to believe the whole event would be a bust. Nothing is more "fun" than sitting at a table, staring at people and waiting for someone to notice you. But things finally picked up in the second hour, and I sold a good number of book. Actually, I sold all of the copies that Hastings had on hand, so they put a few more books in the system.

And there I am, surviving round two with a smile on my face. Actually, it's not so bad. I build up how awkward it is before the event, but I had an okay time. It's always good to see people, sign things for them and shake some hands.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Another Book Signing

It's good to know people. You know what I mean? Because when you know people, and you are having a book signing, people who know you are likely to show up. That makes the book signing slightly less awkward, because the people who already know you also know what to expect. Here's the thing, I'm just not a salesman. Sitting in the front end of a bookstore at a little table while customers roam around me is a strange experience. I have never worked retail for a reason, folks. I don't know whether to greet people, make eye contact, wave at them or what.

All of that is to say, if you come out to my book signing tomorrow (Saturday, Sept 22), don't be put off if I appear a bit socially awkward. I really am glad you're there! I might make eye contact, I might say strange things, but I will be excited, I will sign your book, I will even shake your hand, if that's what you want. So come on down. You might even get a free bookmark and magnet, because...heck, why not?

The specifics: Hastings in Fort Smith, Arkansas on Rogers Avenue from 2pm to 4pm (6800 Rogers Avenue, behind Chick-Fil-A and across the street from the hospital).

Some pictures of me being socially awkward will make an appearance on this very blog after the event. I know you can't wait...

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Where Things Stand

Okay, I thought it might be a good idea to recap where things stand with my various novels. So here is a brief rundown.

Mary of the Aether - my first published novel, YA Urban Fantasy, came out in July, currently available as an e-book and trade paperback through Amazon, Nook, Fictionwise, Whiskey Creek and a few other sites, as well as some local bookstores.

Mary of Shadows - the sequel to Mary of the Aether. I have already signed the contract with Whiskey Creek Press. It comes out next year.

The Klown Kroo - A post-apocalyptic science fiction novel about a ragtag troupe of clowns trying to survive in a world being driven mad by a parasitic brain worm. Yep, that's the story, folks! And my proofreaders said this was their favorite of everything I've written. I sent forth some queries a couple months ago and have yet to hear back.

Bloodstone - The first volume of a two volume fantasy series about a boy and girl who set out to save the island nation of Tesaria which is being ravaged by dream sickness. This is, without a doubt, the novel that I have the most emotional investment in. The first volume is Bloodstone, the second is A Whisper in the Void. I wrote it as one book, but it came out at over 200,000 words, and a kindly literary agent suggested I might have a hard time getting such a large novel published as an unknown author. So it became two, and there was kind of a natural breaking point in the story to make it happen. I queried some publishers, and one responded with an enthusiastic request to read the manuscript. They have received the manuscript and should get back with me in a couple of months.

Mary of Starlight - Third volume in the Mary/Aether series. I've written 47,000 words, twelve chapters, but I'm taking a break to work on something else for a while.

Thorn and Shadow - And this is the thing I'm currently working on! A fantasy novel about a sacred garden in the midst of a vast desert, and the people who watch over it. Magical and troubling things are bound to happen.

So there you go. That's where my writing adventures currently stand.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Word Counts

15,000 words a day, ladies and gentlemen, is more than I can manage. That is what I learned over the last few days. I was on a retreat in Florida, so I had plenty of downtime. Sunday and Monday, I worked almost non-stop on Thorn and Shadow, and I only managed a little over 10,000 words total. Oh well. 5,000 words a day is not bad, and if I ever do this writing thing full time, I'm sure I could push past that. We shall see.

In the meantime, please enjoy the very first rough appearance of the opening sentences of Thorn and Shadow:

The shapes of men materialized out of the dust clouds, bodies wreathed in loose cloth of black and gray. Hoods and masks hid their faces, but they moved with purpose, marching in ranks. Though the distance was great, Adhi saw the glint of polished blades, of long silver spears and curved scimitars, catching the heavy rays of the lowering sun as it sank beneath the dunes.
“Have they come to behold the garden or to murder us?” Kathiri asked, poised on the edge of the low wall. “What do you think, little sister?"


Sunday, September 16, 2012

New Novel

I couldn't do it. I just couldn't do it! I had an idea for a new short story, and I worked on it a little bit on the laptop during a plane flight to Florida. But the constraints of the short story format were too much, and the idea was too rich and interesting to me. I have to explore it more fully.

What I'm trying to say is that I have started work on a new novel. The working title is Thorn and Shadow. I'll get back to Mary Lanham and her adventures afterward, but for now it's time for Haven Ridge and the Garden of the Old Planter. I've managed to write 3,400 words in the last couple of days.

Now, here's the thing. Up until now, my daily writing goal has been 1,000 words, but the other day I read that Michael Moorcock often wrote 15,000 words a day. I feel challenged by that. I doubt I can manage 15,000 words, what with another career and all, but I'm sure I can aim much higher. What about 5,000 words a day? Can I ramp up to that? We shall see.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Break Time

So I've been working dutifully on Mary of Starlight, writing about 1,000 words a day. The story stands at just over 47,000 words, but I'm thinking of taking a little break from it. It's not as if I need to hurry and finish it, after all., since the previous book, Mary of Shadows, doesn't even come out until next summer. Yep, that's right. Next summer. Oh well.

I will either work on some short stories or another novel. I think the break will give me a fresh approach to Mary's continuing saga. I know generally where the story is headed and how things will turn out, but getting there is becoming a bit of a slog. If I purge Chesset from my system for a while, I might come back with renewed energy.

A whole mess of strange short stories sounds like the way to go. Brace yourselves.