Saturday, December 29, 2012

Mary of the Aether Giveaway

Goodreads is giving away five paperback copies of Mary of the Aether, so if you don't have one, this is your chance. It runs until January 10, so hop on over there and enter to win. Right here.

In other news, Thorn and Shadow is now at a publisher, under consideration. Cross them fingers, friends.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

First Nibble

Well, the first publisher I queried about Thorn and Shadow has expressed interest in reading the whole manuscript. That bodes well. The actual comment was "You have caught my interest," so that's always good to hear. I will try to get the manuscript in the best possible shape this week while a bunch of crazy holiday activities are going on, so I can send it to him before I leave town for another trip next week.

My wife has been reading the manuscript, and she is making far fewer scratch marks than usual. That also bodes well. When proofreading for me, she marks typos and writes little notes in the margins when she spots trouble or plot holes or clunky prose. Thorn and Shadow appears to have far fewer of all of the above than my other manuscripts.

And there you go, people. Maybe one day you, too, will be reading about the thorn that pierced the shadow.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

What is Thorn and Shadow?

Well, what is Thorn and Shadow all about? Let me give you a bit of a blurb. Here it is.

The Garden of the Old Planter on Haven Ridge is the last bastion of green and growing things in a world that has turned into a vast desert. A young woman named Adhi lives in a small village in the shadow of the Garden wall. One day, she spots a massive army of men with swords and spears marching out of the dunes, approaching the ridge, driven by some terrible power. Soon Adhi finds herself at the heart of a conflict over the fate of the Garden and the whole world.

There you go. That's the blurb. As an added bonus, you will see men fighting bears and elk and bison and leopards. What more could you want?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Thorn and Shadow is Done

Thorn and Shadow is done. And when I say done, I mean pretty much, for the most part, done. My wife is going to read it during the annual family drive to Disney World and give me some feedback, so that may be incorporated into the mix at a later date. However, other than that, the story is sort of and mostly and fairly well done.

The story of Adhi and the Garden of the Old Planter clocked in at 87,492 words, 22 chapters plus an epilogue. After the Christmas holiday, I will put on the final coat of varnish and begin the process of querying publishers.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Eyes Glazing Over

There comes a point when I'm in the midst of rewriting a novel where I've read the darn thing so many times that the words just turn into a jumble of nonsense. Names and adjectives and he said and they said, it all just runs together, and I can no longer read the thing. Suddenly, it just seems like an absolute mess, and I can't make heads or tails of it.

Not sure that makes any sense, but the point is, there comes a point in rewriting where you just have to walk away for a while, because you have over-saturated your mind with the text. I believe I am at that point with Thorn and Shadow. I've gotten there with all of my novels at some point in the rewriting process. I rewrote Mary of the Aether twelve times, and the high number of revisions was partly the result of not stepping away and getting a fresh perspective.

So there you go. Over-saturation, folks. It can be a killer. Put your manuscript down for a few days or weeks and come back to it with fresh eyes.

Friday, December 7, 2012

The Klown Kroo - A Random Sample

Last time, I gave you a random sampling of Mary of the Aether. Well, look, I am in the business of giving free samples to people, so today I would like to give you a random sample of another novel. You see, I may be on the verge of publishing my post-apocalyptic novel, The Klown Kroo. Fingers are crossed, luck beads are ensconced in the silver cage, but I should find out soon.

Anyway, to that end, I thought I might offer you a random sampling of The Klown Kroo at this time. So here it is. It is a tale of parasitic infections, rampaging hordes, clowns, tyrants and juggling and knife fights and rubes. See, it has every good thing.

Here is your sample, folks.

          The crowd began rocking the trailer back and forth, the axles squealing as if in pain. Annabelle stumbled into the makeup table, scattering jars and pencils and rags. The cooler on the shelf tipped over, spilling half a dozen bottles onto the floor.
          “Open the door,” Telly said.
          Karl opened the door, and a sea of leering, diseased faces peered in. Bodies were pressed up against the back of the trailer in a heap. Dirty faces, stained clothing, toothless mouths. Arms reached through the open door, fingers clawing along the frame. Telly took a step back to avoid the grasping hands and began swinging away. The shillelagh thumped off arms, hands, stomachs, legs, and with each blow, the crowd’s frenzy intensified.
          “Karl, help,” Telly said.
          Karl had ducked behind the door to avoid the hands, but he stepped out into the open now and raised both fists. He had big hands, rough knuckles.
          “Come get your money’s worth, rubes,” he said, and began punching into the crowd.

And there you go, folks. Maybe someday soon this delicious tale of circus antics, enraged sick people, armies and crumbled Arkansas towns may be an e-book that you can read and sigh and swoon over.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Mary of the Aether - A Random Sample

Haven't read Mary of the Aether yet? Well, that'll make reading the sequel a bit complicated, don't you think? Maybe the book's blurb is not compelling enough. Well, let me offer you this bit o' story from a later point in the novel to encourage you in every way, shape and form to finally check out Mary of the Aether. We're talking about an eventual four book series here, folks, so wade in.

           A gentle clanking sound roused her sometime later. She recognized it as the sound of the loop handles on the dresser drawers rattling. She opened her eyes to find that she had drifted into a light sleep, tossing and turning on the bed so that her face was now pressed against the wall and one leg dangled off onto the floor. The room appeared brighter, as if Aunt Carole had snuck in while she slept and plugged in a dozen lamps and turned them all on, but the light had a soft, shimmering quality quite unlike the unnatural glare of a bulb.
           Mary rolled over, nearly toppling off the bed in the process, catching herself by snagging the edge of the blanket. Light filled the room like smoke, but it appeared heaviest in the space above the dresser, where a glowing mass like a miniature sun blazed. Mary held up her hand to block it out, but the light shone through her hand as if she were made of clear glass.
           “What…what is it?” she gasped, sitting up.
          The mass of light convulsed, and a shape appeared in the center of it.

Well, now, isn't that random and weird enough to make you want to read the rest of it? Available as Kindle, PDF, html and paperback. All appropriate links at my website - HERE

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

So Many Ideas, So Little Time

Torn! I can't decide what to write next. I still can't decide, people. I worked a little bit on Mary of Starlight. Then I went over and wrote about 500 words of Oumings in the Dark. Can't decide which one to focus on. On the one hand, I do want to finish the Mary saga. On the other hand, it'll be a long time before Mary of Starlight ever get published, so what's the hurry?

Here's a sample of Oumings in the Dark:

As Muz pulled back, reaching up to snag the edge of the curtain, a face materialized, like a pink monster breaking the surface of a still pond. It slipped out of the net of purple wisteria, a contorted demi-man of some kind, mouth fixed in a rictus of agony or rage, a scraggly beard on sharp cheekbones and cleft chin. His eyes were devil eyes, Muz thought, bloodshot and glistening with some ugly madness. Human faces were already strange enough to the Ouming, with their small pointy features and fat lips, but this was something else altogether, some hateful thing.
                Startled, Muz lurched backward and fell off the stool. He just managed to fling the curtain over the window before he fell, clattering to the wood floor with a thump and a cry. He lay there for a minute, afraid the terrible face might suddenly poke through the curtain and enter the house. But it wasn’t the monster face that roused him, in the end. It was the harsh voice of Master Torbin from the study.
                “What are you doing in there?” he said, his voice echoing down the long hallway. “Are you dropping my things? Did something break?”

Does that sound like something worth finishing, or should I continue with the mystical, magical Aether adventures? Someone tell me! 

Monday, December 3, 2012

Mary of Shadows - Sneak Peek

Fans of Mary of the Aether, it's still going to be quite a while before the sequel comes out. Mary of Shadows is slated for summer 2013, but I thought I might give you a tiny sampling from the first chapter, so please enjoy.

            Humid summer heat lay on Chesset like a damp blanket, plastering hair to faces, shirts to backs. Aunt Carole’s makeup ran down her face in long, multi-colored trails. The presents had been opened, but really, what do you give a Lightbearer? Some perfume and lipstick from Kristen, who had been goading Mary into, as she put it, fancying herself up for a while now. A nice card from Aiden with a sweet little note scribbled inside, accompanied by a silver charm bracelet. And, wonder of wonders, a cell phone from Aunt Carole—Mary was the last of all her friends to get one. All of the gifts were now safely tucked back inside one of the gift bags and sat at the end of the bench. Only cake with too-soft icing and melting ice cream remained.
            “Fifteen years old,” Kristen said. “Isn’t that the age that you’re officially supposed to go wild?”
            “Now, let’s not even suggest it,” Aunt Carole said, fanning herself with a magazine.
            And then, as if Aunt Carole’s words were the cue, the screaming began. It came from the far side of the park, a man’s voice but high and cracking. A figure stumbled out of the line of trees, hunched over, a man clutching his face. He wandered into the park, past the swing set and monkey bars, past wide-eyed children and a pair of Corgi dogs on leashes who couldn’t decide whether to bark or whimper. The man’s eyes were covered, but he stumbled right toward the picnic table, as if seeing it in his mind.

And there you go. There's a tiny morsel from the first page of the first chapter of Mary of Shadows, and it's all I can give you for now. The book comes out next summer from Whiskey Creek Press, so keep checking this blog for more bits and pieces until then. In the meantime, be sure to read Mary of the Aether.