Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Don't Get Too Excited or You Might Burst into Chunks

So I just finished the first pass through my latest novel, Fading Man. That means revisions and rewriting, which means fixing typos, filling in plot holes, deleting unnecessary or repetitious text, adding things here and there. I also added an epilogue to tidy up the story a bit. The ending was too dark for my taste, so the epilogue gives a little burst of light right at the end to send the reader skipping merrily on his way.

As it turns out, 2014 is shaping up to be a rather prolific year for me, in terms of writing and publishing novels (if not so much in terms of sales or publicity). I have already published two novels this year. First came Mary of Starlight in February, the third volume of my young sdult series. Then came Children of the Mechanism in March, a science fiction story. In September, the fourth and final volume of my Young Adult series, Mary of Cosmos, will come out. And then hopefully by the end of the year, Fading Man will also come out (assuming I get the revisions done in a reasonable amount of time).

That's a whole lot of writing and publishing in between bouts of playing MMOs. I'm not sure what I'll work on next. I've got a couple of novels sitting in a folder that I've started. One of them is a young adult novel about a kid living in a trailer park who one day befriends a strange super-dimensional being that lives under the trash in a corner of his bedroom. Yep, you read the right. It's called The Figment Tree, and I've already written the first 20,000 words or so. The second novel is perhaps even weirder. It's about a boy who lives alone in a giant gray house with a sentient robot toy. Outside of his bedroom window, he sees only endless fog stretching out forever. That one is called Voices in the Gray House. I've only written the first chapter of that, but it's based on a short story I published a few years back. We'll see if I feel like finishing either of them. I always have to work on something that lines up with my current mood. I'm weird that way.

Anyway, let me give you a tiny sample of each of the novels I've either written or published this year, just so's you'll get a taste of 2014. Here we go.

Mary of Starlight
Chapter 6: A Sea of Blue and Red

         Pain stabbed into Mary’s shoulders and down her back, that old familiar pain, and with it, a great wave of exhaustion washed over her. A million twinkling lights filled the black canopy around her. Stars like she’d never seen before, the great hazy trail of the Milky Way, constellations she had no name for, and the sliver moon resting in the midst of them. She would have sailed up there forever, two hundred feet above the earth, with the wind in her face, and her hair whipping out behind her, but she could only fly for so long. She needed rest, so she cast her gaze to the dark landscape below and looked for a safe place to land.
          She was in the middle of nowhere on the eastern edge of Texas. She had passed a tiny one-stoplight town some miles back, but there was nothing now but a hint of trees and hills. On the horizon, she saw lights, a kind of shifting haze of red and blue, very far away but beautiful and strange. She knew what it was, of course. How many times had she seen such lights? Police cars, possibly other kinds of emergency vehicles, stopped somewhere up the road. Mary came down gently in the middle of the empty highway, touching down on the asphalt so softly that she did not make a sound.

Children of the Mechanism 
Part Four: Feeding the Grong

          Kuo sank his hands into the meat trough and scooped up a large mound of the damp, gray paste. He brought it up to the lid of the trough and dumped it into the plastic bucket on the floor between his feet. Some of it slopped onto the floor, but Kuo was careful to pick up every little bit and flick it into the bucket. The grease ran between his fingers and dripped onto his feet, tickling his toes. When the bucket was full, he grabbed the rope handle in both hands, set his feet farther apart, and rose. The bucket was heavy, but Kuo was strong. The only risk was losing his balance.
          Kuo turned, saw the line of feeders moving across the room, saw the Watchers beyond them with their mouthless faces and bent arms. Oh, the Watchers were always nearby, weren’t they? Always staring, staring, staring, and sometimes Kuo thought he knew what they were thinking. They looked past the other feeders and fixed their black eyes on Kuo alone.
          “I know what you’re doing,” Kuo muttered. “I can read your minds. I know you’re playing the game with me.”

Mary of Cosmos 
Chapter 1: The Long Awakening

          It took five days of healing to get her right eye open, another three for the left. Five more days passed before her hearing returned, and the first sound she became aware of was the creaking of her shattered bones coming back together. She had the unfortunate pleasure of listening to the bones mend over the next two days, and only then did she manage to raise her right arm. She held the hand over her head, trying but failing to flex her fingers. The ring finger and thumb were still broken, pointing in wrong directions. It took another couple of days to fix that. And finally, a week after her fingers mended, her spine came back together and she managed to sit up.
          She had fallen a hundred feet and slammed into the side of an oak tree. That single blow had shattered most of her ribs, snapped her spine and broken her right arm in three places. It had also sent her spinning wildly another thirty yards into the forest, until she finally hit the ground and rolled, fracturing her skull, eyes sockets, breaking her legs and feet and her other arm. After that excruciating ordeal, she had finally come to rest under the low branches of a pine tree, buried under a mound of debris that her tumbling had kicked up.

Fading Man 
Chapter Thirteen: Break It All Down

          Joe hurried to catch up to the others, though his back and ribcage still hurt from the fall. But the terrible sounds blasting out of the open vent suddenly quieted, as if someone had covered the hole. Joe glanced back and saw a misshapen lump squeezing itself out of the opening like some formless flesh struggling to be born. The shape shifted and revealed a crooked head, shiny gray skin swelling out of what might once have been a human face. A single eye, pale as a chip of ice, rolled about until it found Joe. Then the gray skin parted to reveal a toothless mouth, as red and angry as a wound, and the scadgling began to wail. The mournful sound carried out across the river and filled the empty lands beyond.
Joe drew the .38 out of his pocket and pointed it at the scadgling. It ceased thrashing, and the wailing sound faded out like a siren running out of batteries. The wound-mouth closed, but that single eye kept staring.
“Don’t follow us,” Joe shouted. “We don’t want to hurt anyone. We just want to leave.

So there you go. A delicate sampling of everything I have thus far either written or published in 2014. And which one, O Reader, piques thy interest most? In other news, here is a recent interview I did with Ten Minute Interviews. Go check that out for no particular reason, if you don't mind. I mean, you read all the way to the bottom of this blog entry, so you're clearly someone who is willing to read long, rambling things. And I applaud you for that. I truly do.

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