Saturday, October 27, 2012

Pressing On

I passed 62,000 words in Thorn and Shadow. I just wrote a chapter of turgid emotions on the eve of a big, world-shattering battle. In other news, I did an interview on Mary of the Aether for an indie book website. Not sure when it will appear, but I'll post the link here when it does. I have another interview lined up for November with a YA book review blog. So there you go. That's the latest news.

And now, here is a random, unedited, first draft paragraph from Thorn and Shadow, picked at random:

She rounded a bend in the stream and saw a field of flowers before her ringed in stately palm trees. The water traced a course along the western edge. Coconuts littered the ground, and a small monkey was busy picking at one of them, trying to get it open. When he heard Adhi approaching, he looked up, uttered a plaintive sound and scampered up one of the trees. Pansies, petunias and blue bonnets formed chaotic swirls of deep purple and blue and yellow. Adhi was tempted to stop and rest a while, but she pressed on.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Of Thorns and Shadows

Well, I continue to plug away at Thorn and Shadow. I'm 56,300 words into the novel, a little over halfway. It's strange how I see myself returning to the same themes over and over. This is unintentional. It's like a kid who keeps picking at the same scabs. I can't help it. I find myself wrestling with the same thoughts, the same feelings, the same ideas. The particular stories are different, however, so it's almost like I come at the same things from different angles. I wonder if other writers experience this phenomenon. I assume they do.

I have written fourteen chapters. Here are the current chapter titles:

1 - The Shapes of Men
2- Scattered
3 - The Spirit of the Old Planter
4 - Volunteers
5 - Blood on the Roots
6 - Secret Places
7 - Of Water and Voices
8 - Light and Spirit
9 - The First Stirring
10 - Pursuit
11 - To the Wall
12 - The Clearing
13 - Dust
14 - Breaking the Wall

Not sure why I post chapter titles like that. It helps me to just keep track of where I've been, I suppose. Now, you might be saying, "Well, what is Thorn and Shadow all about?" It's about the Garden of the Old Planter on Haven Ridge, and the girl, Adhi, who is tasked with defending it from the thousand-strong army of Deti Maranam, Lord beneath the Sand. Adhi, by the way, in the Tamil language means "the start of everything."

In other news, I just received twenty more copies of Mary of the Aether. I will need them for the literacy event at the school coming up next week. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

What's Next for Promo?

What's next in the world of author promo for my first novel, Mary of the Aether? Things have been quiet for a while, no book signings or anything, but the next big event is coming up. A friend of mine works for a local school system, and I will be doing a literacy event at the junior high in a couple of weeks. The plan is to give a thirty-minute interactive presentation on how to write a novel. We'll talk about the story-germ, character development, common grammar mistakes, plot and the climax and resolution, all of that fun stuff, and then the kids get to do a little writing of their own. It's the sort of thing I would have loved at that age, but we'll see how it goes.

The library at the school has agreed to buy a few copies, and about a week after the first event, I will return to do an evening presentation for parents on getting published. We'll talk about querying, synopsis writing, self-publishing and indie publishers and all sorts of good stuff, and hopefully a few latent writers will get motivated. Afterward, I will set up a book table to maybe sell some books.

So there you go. That's the next big event. Anxiety? Of course, but what can you do? You just have to push through the anxiety.

In other news, I am at the halfway point in Thorn and Shadow. 50,000 words is upon me! I am enjoying writing it, and the story is just flowing nicely, all the pieces coming together and crazy things happening. There is blood, dust, rampaging bison, out-of-control tree roots. What more could you want?

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Best Time of Day for Writing

What is the best time of day for writing? I used to know the answer to that question. For years, I have done most of my writing late at night. In fact, it is often the last thing I do before going to bed, sit down at the computer and hammer out 1,000 words or so. The feeling of accomplishing a personal goal even helps me to sleep.

However, I also find that the internet, with its flash games, facebook, various trivia-laden websites and those accursed MMORPGs are all pretty strong distractions in the wee hours. Maybe it's because my mind is shutting down and losing concentration, as midnight gives way to morning. Not sure. But I do find lately that I write more effectively earlier in the day. I have even managed some healthy word counts in the morning, which once would have seemed terribly unlikely.

I also find that when I hit that 1,000 word goal earlier in the day, I get to carry that sense of accomplishment with me throughout the afternoon and evening. It's a good feeling to know that you have, in some small way, fulfilled your destiny on any particular day.

At the moment, I am still working on Thorn and Shadow. As I've gotten back into work and responsibilities, my daily word count has dropped back into the normal range from my lofty Moorcockian goals. Nevertheless, I am approaching 43,000 words, and almost at the halfway point of the story. I just finished the part of the story where a bear is about to eat people, so that should be fun to write.

And on that note, I go to bed!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Random Paragraph Time

I want to play a little game. I am going to select a random paragraph from each of my books and publish it here. I will be careful not publish anything that might be too revealing, but otherwise randomness is the order of the day. Here we go.

Mary of the Aether

Mary struggled to find something else to say. What he wanted, he could have. That was the truth of it. The magic that he longed for was right in front of him, and he didn’t even realize it. The beautiful coincidence did not escape her, and she felt a responsibility to share something with him. Her fear was that if she told him everything, he wouldn’t believe it; he might accuse her of concocting the whole thing in order to patronize him. She couldn’t prove any of it. The orb was gone, and the rusty box proved nothing.

The Klown Kroo

David stumbled across the room, his shoes crunching on glass, and took a seat at the table. He didn’t know if he wanted to cry or pass out. Maybe both. He swept the last bits of glass off the table and rested his cheek on the cool, polished wood. Annabelle was applying some kind of clear ointment to Karl’s cheeks, and he watched her with heavy lids. She had a lovely face, made all the more lovely by the flush in her cheeks and forehead. Her dark hair was tangled with sweat and plastered to her temples.

And now he did cry, though he wasn’t really sure why. Tears spilled down his face and dripped onto the tabletop. He wiped them away and quickly hid his eyes behind his hands.

“Karl.” Annabelle spoke softly. “Karl, you’re gonna be alright.”

Mary of Shadows

And so Mary Lanham walked away from her own birthday party, and eyes were no doubt upon her, and whispers were no doubt already going forth. Once again, Mary was the target of strange people, what could she be hiding? That was how the gossip would go, she imagined. She skirted the edge of the park to avoid most of the stares and headed for Main Street. Aiden was at her side, as always these days, and he took her hand and gave it a gentle squeeze—his way of letting her know that he understood her worry. They walked in silence all the way to Main Street, then crossed the road and headed up Neser Hill.


Finally, her voice trailed off into quiet sobs, and for a long time they heard only wind through the shattered door. Tendrils of smoke curled down into the cave, and Jeren smelled the stench of burnt stone. He picked himself up and moved toward the barrels, sliding them out of the way one by one until he revealed the huddled form of the girl, her face buried in the nest of her arms. He tried to give her the sandal, but she would neither take it nor look at him. He laid it down beside her and turned back to the gaping door. The ladder had broken in the fall and lay in pieces with the remains of the door, which meant they no longer had easy way up. He figured they might be able to stack barrels to form a kind of crude staircase, but then what?

A Whisper in the Void

“I was trying to leave,” Mithlen said, gesturing back toward town. “Too many crazy people down there, too many bad memories, so I loaded up my wagon and hitched the donkey and set off. Thought I might take the old river bridge, but I changed my mind. Turned into the field, and that dumb jenny, she stumbled in the ditch here. When the wagon turned over, it broke the straps on her harness, and she ran away with the bit still in her mouth. I caught up to her, but when I tried to bring her back, she kicked me. Half mad, that animal. But here I am.” He spread his hands out toward the scattered crates. “All my worldly possessions cast about like garbage.”

And there you go, folks. That's all my completed novels, published and unpublished, from the last few years. I'll hold off on Mary of Starlight and Thorn and Shadow for now, since they are works in progress. Which paragraphs intrigues you the most?