Friday, February 21, 2014

Isn't It about Time You Got to Know Pradeep?

Well, I'm working on Fading Man, my latest post-apocalyptic adventure novel. I'm only about three chapters in, but it's shaping up to be a possible magnus opus. I know I said that about Shadows of Tockland, but there is something so profoundly significant and personal about Fading Man.

When I set out to write a novel, any novel, there is always some emotional subtext driving the story--or, more accurately, driving the author. Whether or not that emotion comes through in the story itself is never a guarantee. But I can say that if Fading Man ends up reflecting the driving emotions and mood of the author, it will cut pretty deep.

At the same time, the story has a certain beautiful strangeness. Just look at the chapter titles. The first three chapters are titled: 1) Admiral Vinegaroon, 2) Pradeep, and 3) All Places Are Bad Places. That should give you some sense of the strangeness.

In other news, Children of the Mechanism comes out very soon. Both the e-book and the paperback will be available on March 5. I am interested to see how people react to the story. It's quite a bit different than Mary of the Aether. I don't want to scare people away from it, but my wife's response after reading the first draft was, "this is really bleak."

Of course, it also has memorable characters, some really intense scenes, and I think it's ultimately a hopeful story (as I believe all of my stories are ultimately hopeful stories). But we shall see how other people feel about it.

As a final bit of news, I updated the Mary of the Aether page with a bit of temporary graphics for the fourth and final book, which comes out in September. If you've read the first three books in the series, then you can go click on the picture for Mary of Cosmos and read a sample chapter.

And that's all for now. It is super later (or super early, depending on your point of view). Good night/morning.

Thursday, February 13, 2014

Fading Man

So for a while there I was working on a new young adult novel called The Figment Tree. It's actually based on some characters I created when I was a child, though the storyline was significantly altered from my more simplistic childhood notions. It's a fun story about a sad young man living in a trailer park who befriends a nine-dimensional being. Yep, you read that right. And that's only the tip of the iceberg. It gets weirder.

Anyway, I think The Figment Tree has the potential to be a pretty good story, and there is certainly a compelling emotional subtext. However, after a stressful month, I was struggling to get back into writing it. Honestly, I was not feeling the tone. I needed to work on something that was more in line with my current mood.

So I decided to abandon The Figment Tree at around 24,000 words and start another novel that I've been thinking about writing for some time. It's called Fading Man, and it's actually based on a short story that I wrote back in the day.

You might remember that my novel Children of the Mechanism (which comes out very soon) is based on a short story I wrote in college called Stick Boys. Well, before I wrote Stick Boys, I wrote a short story called Fading Man. It was the very first short story I ever published, appearing in a long-defunct magazine called Starblade circa 1995.

Well, Fading Man the short story is now the inspiration for Fading Man the novel. I can't tell you much about it at this point, but I'm certainly digging the vibe a lot more. You've got to write what you're feeling, I guess. Anyway, here are some things I can tell you about the novel that you might find interesting.

It is set in the same post-apocalyptic world as Shadows of Tockland, though it is about completely different characters. No, Cakey will not be making an appearance, though if you've read Shadows of Tockland, you'll recognize some places and names. It is the story of a man with mysterious memories looking for a lost city. He is accompanied by a troubled woman named Eleanor, and lots of crazy things happen along the way.

So there you go. That's what I'm working on now. Even with all the SEO writing I'm doing these days, I should be able to hammer this one out because I'm really feeling it.

There you go.

I sleep now!

Monday, February 3, 2014

Two-Book February

Well, I haven't posted much lately, but there hasn't been much going on in the writing front in the last few weeks. But February is a two-book month, so here we go.

So the good thing is not only do I have two books coming out this month, but they are a couple of the best books I've written.

I've been in the midst of publishing a Young Adult series. It started with Mary of the Aether, which was the first novel I ever published. It came out in the summer of 2012, and for a while it just sort of sat around, selling a few copies here and there.

Last year, some cool things happened with Mary of the Aether when it was put on the recommended reading list for a regional conference called So Many Book, So Little Time. This got the book (and me) some attention for a while. As a result, I did a few writing workshops and special appearances at public schools in the area. That was fun.

The sequel, Mary of Shadows, came out last summer. Now, here's my honest perspective on both of these novels. Mary of Aether was my first novel, and the pacing is a little bit off. I think the characters are distinctive and believable, the setting is memorable, but the tension sort of ebbs and flows instead of building at a steady pace.

I correct this problem in Mary of Shadows, I believe. The tensions mounts consistently throughout, and once you hit about the halfway point of the novel, it's pretty intense all the way to the end.

Perhaps the one drawback of Mary of Shadows is that it has to introduce a lot of concepts and present a lot of information as an essential setup for books three and four. To be more specific, I am world-building and establishing a kind of multiverse as a context for the overall story, as well as establishing concrete rules for all of the magical stuff. None of this is supposed to be reflective of my actual, specific cosmological views. It just gives Mary's reality a sense of consistency.

Anyway, now book three, Mary of Starlight, is out, and all of the information presented in book two starts to pay off. Mary of Starlight is without question the most tightly plotted of the books. It is also quite epic, considering this book series began as just a small-town story with a dash of magic. Book three is quite a bit more intense than book two because it is able to springboard off the previous setup.

That's my feeling, anyway. Now, book four, the concluding volume of the series, which is called Mary of Cosmos, will end the series with massive epic-ness. It comes out in September. It's interesting how this series begins so small and ends so huge.The challenge of getting increasingly epic, of course, is trying not to lose sight of the characters and that small town feel. I think--I hope--I have succeeded in that.

Anyway, Mary of Starlight is the first novel coming out this month. It's already available as an e-book, and the print version should be out in a few weeks.

The second novel coming out in February is called Children of the Mechanism. I won't talk about it too much right now since this blog entry is already huge, but I do believe it is probably the best thing I've ever written. I say that relative only to my own works. I don't know how it stacks up against other writers.

It is, however, quite dark and bleak at times, and the characters go through an exhausting amount of suffering. I hope people will stick with it, though, because I think it's the kind of story that will linger. And, hey, even the editor said the last chapters of the book made her "very emotional."

Anyway, that'll be out in a few weeks, and now I shall end this very long rambling discourse.