Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Writing until My Fingers Melt

I'm pushing that daily word average a little higher. It's now hovering at just above 2,600 words. Children of the Mechanism has reached 31,400 words. I've got more free time than usual these days, because I am technically no longer employed, though I was paid through the end of May. I am taking advantage of those empty hours to melt my fingers on the keyboard.

It's funny because I remember a time when writing was a chore. I loved it. I had a constant compulsion to write. But it felt like work. I wrestled with the prose. Sometimes I had to pause and think about the wording. That no longer happens. I just breeze along without ever really stopping to think. During the downtime when I'm not writing, I spend time thinking about the next part of the story and where it needs to go, so that when I do sit down at the computer, I already know what's coming up.

And there you go. Now you know more about my writing techniques than you ever wanted to know. Live the dream!

Monday, April 29, 2013

The Mechanism is Growing

Well, I've written 28,800 words in 13 days. That's roughly 2,215 words per day, which is about double what I've averaged over the last three years. Even with a weekend trip to Silver Dollar City, I've still managed to peck out over 2,000 words a day since I started Children of the Mechanism. Not too shabby. It helps that I am already so familiar with this story and these characters. It's a story and a world that has existed in my mind for many years now, and I already know these characters so well.

I can't wait for people to meet Bik, Hen, Ekir and Kuo. I can't wait until they come face-to-face for the first time with the Grong. That may be the loveliest thing I've ever created in a story. And by "loveliest" I mean "kind of the grossest." At this pace, the first draft should be done in about another 27.6 days. As I said before, not too shabby.  

Thursday, April 25, 2013

The Garden is Now Accessible

Okay, Garden of Dust and Thorns is now available for Kindle and will soon be out on Kobo, Sony, iBookstore and Nook soon. Go check it out. Read the free sample here! Or click the pic to check out the Amazon page.

This particular book was fun to write, and I wrote it in record time (for me). It just seemed to rush right out of my brain, all packaged and ready to go. It's about an army trying to defile a magical garden, a girl using the powers of that garden to defend it and a couple of mysterious, mystical beings at war.

Now, go forth and read it, s'il vous plait! In the meanwhile, I will continue work on the next book, Children of the Mechanism. It am already over 18,000 words after a week, so it should be raring to go in no time.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Children of the Mechanism

Okay, I'm going to do something crazy. I am going to link you to a story I wrote fifteen years ago. Folks, it is not well written, and that's putting it mildly. It is a story called "Stick Boys." Now, this story appeared in a couple of places. First, it appeared in print in a now-defunct magazine called Lost Worlds of Science Fiction and Fantasy (circa 1997). I still have a few copies of it in a box somewhere. It later appeared in an online magazine called Aphelion (circa 1999), where it can still be seen to this day. Yes, I am going to give you the link to the Aphelion page where it appears, but I warn you to lower your expectations:


Now for some history about that story, and I only remember this history because I happened to be keeping a journal during the time when I wrote it. Fall of 1994 is the time, Reid Hall is the place. According to the journal entry, I watched a documentary about children in the Holocaust on CNN one evening. I don't remember the documentary, but I can only imagine it was bleak and sad. Anyway, affected by the documentary, I went on to write this short story, which I turned in as a Creative Writing assignment.

It was a revised version of the Creative Writing story that wound up in print and online. After the story appeared in Lost Worlds, the editor contacted me to say that readers had really liked it and wanted to see more stories set in the same world. So I attempted it. I wrote a second story (called Bugs on the Mechanism), but by the time I was finished and ready to submit it, the magazine had folded. Nevertheless, the world of Stick Boys stuck with me. Over time, I wrote other stories set in that world. The stories, in order, are: Stick Boys, Bugs on the Mechanism, The Master's Shadow and Feeding the Grong. Eventually, I took those four separate stories and attempted (back in 2007 or so) to craft them into a novel. I was not up to the task. I think I got about a third of the way through and gave up and later went on to write Mary of the Aether.

Ladies and gentlemen, I am now up to the task, and it is the next novel I am working on. I call it Children of the Mechanism, which is a title derived from the second of the four stories. I am writing approximately 2,000 words a day, so I should be done in another month and a half.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Another Book Cover, Another Book

Okay, so here is the cover proof for my next e-book, Garden of Dust and Thorns.

Menacing thorns in a brownish haze. Whatever could it signify? It could signify a Garden surrounded by a high wall of thorns and the army that marches out of the desert to defile it. That's what it could signify. Will Adhi find a way to defend it, or will the cruel Magesh succeed in his dreadful plans? I don't know. I guess we'll all have to read the book and find out.

It should be available in another week or so. Check the blog periodically for updates.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Garden of Dust and Thorns

I told you there is one more book on the way, and now it really is officially on the way. I should have the cover art in a couple of days, and when I get it, I will share it with you. What is this final e-book? Alrighty, let me introduce it to you.

Garden of Dust and Thorns

The Garden of the Old Planter on Haven Ridge is the last bastion of green and growing things in a world turned to dust. A beautiful place surrounded by a high wall of thorny vines, it contains and preserves every kind of tree, flower, fruit and animal. 

One bright morning, a thousand men march out of the desert, an army led by the cruel Magesh, seeking to defile the Garden with the blood of sacrifices. Armed with spear and sword, driven a terrible power and chanting the mysterious name, Deti Maranam, Lord beneath the Sand, they climb the ridge and take captive all those living in the shadow of the wall. 

It falls to a young woman named Adhi to take up the mantle of the Old Planter and defend it.

There you go. A fantasy novel full of chases, fights, battles, dangerous animal encounters, deceptions, magic, turgid emotions. I can't wait for people to read it. I think it's one of my better efforts.

This is will be the last novel I publish until August, when Mary of Shadows gets released. Now I can go to work on the next book. More on that one soon.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

One More Book

Well, there is one more book to go in my current phase of super-mega-book-publishing. It began with Shadows of Tockland, continued with Bloodstone and A Whisper in the Void, and it will conclude with one final book. And what is that book, you ask?

It is none other than the thrilling fantasy novel, Garden of Dust and Thorns. Yes, that's the title of it now. That was not always the title, but that is the title now. What is this Garden of Dust and Thorns all about? Well, it's about a garden hidden behind a high wall of vines, a garden surrounded by an entire world of dust and decay, and the people who live in the shadow of the wall. And it's also about the 1,000 armed men who appear in the desert one dreadful morning, ready to tear down the wall and defile the garden. "Whyever would they want to defile the garden?" you ask. Well, you will have to read and find out.

Oh, here is one potentially interesting detail. Most of the names in the book are of Tamil origin: Adhi, Kathiri, Magesh, etc. "Why are they of Tamil origin?" you ask. "Why not?" I reply.

I am currently self-editing the manuscript like crazy and should be done in a couple of days. Then it will be another week or two for cover art, formatting and uploading and all of that business. However, Garden of Dust and Thorns should be wonderfully available for purchase by the end of April.

After that, I will have no more books for you to read until August, when Mary of Shadows comes out. Sorry.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Listen to the Whispering

Well, you can now listen to the whispering in the void. The second volume of the Deep Water duology is available at Amazon and soon to be available at various other places. This completes the story and brings the reader right into the depths of Tesaria's troubles.

It's a fantasy novel, but it's not about elves and magical races of creatures, or world building, or the complexities of politics and power struggles. What it's really about is wandering through emotional darkness while coming to terms with grief. It's about how people try to make sense of their place in the world and in the universe during times of tragedy and hardship. That's what it's really about. It does, however, have magic and monsters and turgid emotions and pitched battles and chases and lots of good stuff.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Mary of Forever?

Well, the rewrite of Mary of Starlight is finished, and the manuscript is on its way to the publisher. That means there is one more book to go in the saga of Mary Lanham. It will end up being a four book series that looks like this:

Mary of the Aether - where we are introduced to Mary, Lightbearers, Lookers and Devourers
Mary of Shadows - where the battle between Mary and her enemies ramps up considerably
Mary of Starlight - where we reach a world-shattering epic point in that battle
Mary of Forever - the last battle and the conclusion of the series

Yes, the tentative working title for the fourth volume is Mary of Forever. I have already written the first paragraph, only because I didn't want to lose my idea for the opening scene. I don't intend to write Mary of Forever until later this year, after I've completed work on the Shadows of Tockland sequel.

In other news, I am working to simplify my web page. Fewer menus, less confusion. Now, it's just book titles. Go there, click on the book you want to know about and live the dream. Here it be.

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Free Samples are Good for One and All!

Everyone loves a free reading sample, right? Right. The online booksellers all do a pretty good job of offering the first couple of chapters for download. I've got free samples on Goodreads, as well. But I thought it might be beneficial and delightfully okay to put the first chapters of each of my books up at my own personal website, so that is what I've been doing.

Here's the thing. Let me be frank. I don't have a particularly high opinion of my own writing, however, I am convinced that Shadows of Tockland, in particular, is a better book than most people realize. I suspect that reading the blurb and looking at the cover (though it is quite lovely, in my opinion) don't do justice to the actual story contained inside. In fact, when I was writing it, I kept thinking in my head, this is my magnus opus. Now, by that I don't mean that the prose itself is the best in the world. In fact, I believe I have gotten quite a bit better at the technical aspects of writing since Shadows of Tockland. But in terms of the story itself, the characters, the building intensity, there was almost a kind of electricity in my blood as I wrote it. That's all I can say.

Now, maybe I'm overstating things, so let me dial it down a little bit and put it in a milder way. I believe that Shadows of Tockland (formerly called The Klown Kroo), if you haven't already read it, is a more powerful and compelling and memorable novel than you realize. Whatever you think of it right now, it is better than that. There are a few typos that slipped through the self-editing process that I need to fix (and will fix at some point), but I don't think they detract too much.

All of that is to say, if you're only going to read one thing I write, your wisest choice would be Shadows of Tockland (unless you are a tender soul, in which case the rampaging rubes and fighting might be too much for you) and the free sample is here.

Now, as to Bloodstone - Deep Water: Book One, let me say that the Deep Water books are probably my most intensely personal. Thematically, that story flowed right out of a certain time in my life, and my blood is on the page. If my emotional content while writing it managed to work its way onto the page, then it should be, ultimately, a rather exhausting experience (in a good way). But judge for yourself. Read the free sample here.

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Whispery Cover

Well, I just received the proof for the cover of A Whisper in the Void. And here it is:

Rather ominous, eh? Look at that giant, shifting shape in the water and compare its size to the surrounding trees. Whatever could it be? Something terrible, no doubt. Something absolutely monstrous. Oh, yes, people.

Dare I share the book's blurb? Well, maybe I'll share the short version of the blurb. That won't give away too much, particularly for those of you who haven't read Bloodstone. But if you haven't read Bloodstone, what in the world are you waiting for? You're here reading my blog. Why not go ahead and read the book? Click on this sentence immediately and make it happen.

Thankee. Now, here's the blurb for A Whisper in the Void:

The thrilling conclusion to the Deep Water duology. Jeren and Aleas continue their dangerous journey to the palace at Setheria, and with every step the dream grows worse. As Jeren learns to wield the magic of the bloodstone suit, he feels the corruption within his own flesh, and he worries about what he might become. The truth of the shared dream will be revealed, but will anyone survive the revelation?