[taps microphone] Is this thing on?

Greetings, Programs!

Welp, I haven’t been very good about posting here lately, have I? Three months is…bad. But I’m still around, and still hoping to add more content to this space (as well as others…but nothing I can really discuss yet)!

So, what’s been going on of late?

First, I’m still working on The Savior Worlds: The Song of Forgotten Stars, Book IV. This one has been proceeding in fits and starts. I got off to a great start, and then I faltered as I ran into story problems, then I ironed those problems out and got going again, only to run into more problems and have to stop again. After averaging 1000 words a day through May and half of June, I stalled out completely for two weeks while I tried to figure out where things were going.

I’ve got it mostly figured out, though. Since July 1, I’m back to averaging 1000 words a day, and I hope to get this draft done no later than the 15th of September.

I’ll have more to say about this book as it evolves, but one difficult thing has been the nature of this series and the direction I’m taking. Each book has been markedly different from its predecessors in terms of scope and structure, and that is no different this time out. The overall tale of the saga gets bigger and bigger as it goes, and that’s hard to manage and still keep the focus on the characters. As I noted, though, I have a pretty good handle on the rest of this one.

Second, I’m starting the formatting process for The Chilling Killing Wind, which I intend to release into the wild sometime in September. More announcements will definitely be forthcoming about that, so stay tuned! I’m excited to get this one out and finally start diversifying my output beyond manuscripts in various states of polish on my hard drive.

Third, you may have noticed that I’ve changed up the appearance here, in keeping with my intent to post more regularly. I have a list of posts I want to write, which will help. This site will still be about my books and my writing, but I’m going to broaden the focus just a tad to basically focus on my thoughts on various aspects of storytelling as a whole. I’m excited to be doing this. There will also be additional tweaks on the way as I update the individual pages so that each series or set of books will have its own page.

More to come, so stick around! My immediate goal is to update this site on Thursdays each week, starting today. So tune back in and follow me on the social mediae!

See you ’round the galaxy!

 

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2018: You may fire when ready.

Hey all! 2017 is over, and 2018 is here. A bit of looking back and forward is in order.

2017

At first glance 2017 felt like a mixed bag to me, but when I really look harder, I got quite a bit done, even though a lot of it was work that isn’t likely to bear fruit for some time. I posted on this site a lot less than I intended, and I do hope to rectify that in 2018. But, to sum up:

:: I published Amongst the Stars! It’s out now! The first act of the grand adventure that is The Song of Forgotten Stars is complete!

:: I finished a couple of rounds of edits on The Chilling Killing Wind, which I intend to publish sometime in the first half of 2018. I plan to make one more pass through the book soon just to make sure that I’ve got it all the way I want it.

:: I wrote probably one-half of a new science fiction novel tentatively titled Orion’s Huntress, which is set in the same universe as Forgotten Stars but which has nothing at all to do with that story. I ended up back-burnering that story when I realized that a few aspects of it were problematic in various ways that require additional thought. But I started it!

:: I started the first draft of Forgotten Stars IV, whose title is The Savior Worlds. This is my current WIP.

:: I also wrote a nice amount on Byzantium’s Shores, my personal blog. I summed up my favorite pieces from 2017 here, so check that out! There’s also the usual balloon juice on my Tumblr and if you look me up on Goodreads you can see all the stuff I read last year.

2018

So what’s up for the new year? Well!

:: Finishing the first draft of The Savior Worlds. I’m not sure how long I expect this to take, but I’m hoping to be done with it by May.

:: Releasing The Chilling Killing Wind into the world. This will launch a new series for me, about which I’m kind of excited. (OK, a lot excited!)

:: Returning to Orion’s Huntress, once I have a better idea of how it fits together.

:: And finally returning to Lighthouse Boy, the two-part fantasy novel whose first part is already drafted. I’m going to edit the first volume (lightly) and then proceed to drafting the second, before I then go back at some point (almost certainly not until the latter half of 2019) and edit the entire thing.

So that’s where the various writing projects stand for right now. There are also a couple of completed drafts in existence that I need to put through a round of edits (a sequel to Chilling Killing Wind, and a stand-alone supernatural thriller involving a kayaking expedition on a mystical river) which has no real title at this time, but we’re in no hurry.

I’m also doing some experimenting with my writing processes this year. Tinkering with process is something that a lot of writers enjoy (at least until they “make it”, or so it seems–successful writers never seem to be as fascinated with process as the aspiring writers are), and I’m trying some new things in an effort to cut down the time I spend in front of a glowing screen. I’ll report more on that as things develop.

As always, I hope to post more frequently in this space, but I’m not going to promise anything. Until then, see you around the galaxy!

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Sunshine Blogger Award!!!

Oh wow, it’s actually been an entire month since I posted here last, hasn’t it? That’s terrible. Anyway, I’ll have a proper report up on how June went in terms of writing (short version: mixed bag) early next week, but for now, check this out: A fellow writer, Rebecca Chase, nominated me for the Sunshine Blogger Award! Huzzah!!

The rules are as follows:

The Sunshine Blogger Award is a “get to know the writer better” type of blogging exercise, with a couple of rules attached:

1. Answer all 11 questions asked by the blogger who nominated you.

2. Nominate eleven bloggers in return and write eleven (possibly fiendish) questions for them to answer.

You know, it’s funny — over on Byzantium’s Shores (my personal blog, for those who only know me through here), I’ve been blogging for so long that I remember when these types of blog-quiz awards were quite common. They’ve really fallen by the wayside with the rise of Facebook and Twitter and the like, but they’re still fun, so I’ll go ahead and answer these, pose my own, and nominate. Here we go!

1. What is your favourite song? Do you have a significant memory attached to a time you listened to it?

Oh heavens, it’s this question. Don’t you just hate when you ask someone this question and they get all dewy-eyed and say something like “Gosh, I just love music so much that I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite song!”

Well, guess what? Gosh, I just love music so much that I couldn’t possibly pick a favorite song! Although…I can pick a favorite song, just so long as we acknowledge that there are hundreds of others. For now, I’ll note the song “Last Dance” by Donna Summer. Here’s what I wrote on my personal blog about that song on the occasion of Donna Summer’s passing.

2. Where do you love to blog/write the most?

Upstairs, in my library, surrounded by my books.

But I do love writing elsewhere. I can write in cafes and in public libraries perfectly well, and I like to do so once a week, if possible, for the change of pace. I also want to try writing in a public park or something like that, but as of this writing my laptop’s battery is too old to live up to a sustained writing session without a cord. Luckily, though, also as of this writing, I’ve ordered a new battery! I don’t want to buy a new computer for at least another year if I can help it.

3. If you could make up a fear of something what would it be of and what would it be called?

Huh. Interesting. How about Pronunciphobia, which is the fear that you badly mangle a word in spoken conversation because you’ve only ever read it and therefore you don’t know how it’s said? Or Scrabble Expectations Syndrome. This is when people assume that you’re a great word-game player because you’re a writer.

And as a pie-in-the-face fan, I admit to barbasolaphobia. This is an unreasoning hatred of shaving cream. That stuff is terrible, folks!

4. Italian or French? (in whatever context you decide)

French! (We’re going with opera here. I love me some French composers. Hector Berlioz is my favorite composer of all time, and he wrote three wonderful operas. Then you have Bizet, composer of Carmen. Not that the Italians are any slouches, though. Verdi and Puccini are enough to ensure the Italian star in the operatic heavens.)

Oh, and salad dressing? Italian all the way. I’ve never been a big fan of French dressing.

5. What do you think killed the dinosaurs? (can be as creative an answer as you like)

Nothing. There never were any dinosaurs. Their bones were artificially created and seeded around the world by the aliens who put us here. Why? Because they’re jerks.

6. What is the strangest thing you’ve ever had to research for your writing/blogging?

Huh. I’m not really sure! I recently looked up how boiler explosions happen, because my current WIP features someone who died in one.

7. What can you hear right now? What would you prefer to be listening to?

Right now? Crickets and birds; the wind in the trees; traffic on the big highway that’s a quarter-mile thataway; the clackety-clack of the dog’s feet as he wanders about trying to signal us that he wants to go out for his walk!

8. What do you do when you feel you should be writing but are lacking in inspiration?

I usually grit my teeth and force myself to write. I’m a “Get the job done” kind of person. I don’t have a great deal of use for waiting for The Muse to show up.

9. What is your greatest achievement?

Raising the Daughter; staying married (no, we never came close to breaking, but we did have some pretty serious tests about ten years ago); finishing a book; learning how to use Scrivener (yes, this counts); learning how to format e-books in various formats!

10. If you could only eat one meal for the rest of your life what would it be?

As long as I can change the toppings in any way I want? Pizza. Or waffles. Or sandwiches, with as broad a definition as possible! I also can’t rule out nachos or burritos. Damn, this question is hard!

11. Who is your favourite author and why?

My favorite living author is Guy Gavriel Kay, whose historical fantasies are deeply emotional and filled with characters who are incredibly real. My favorite nonliving author is JRR Tolkien, because The Lord of the Rings is quite frankly a miracle of a book.

OK, time to tag a few people! And my eleven questions follow. Wheeeee!

Roger
Calvin
SamuraiFrog
Lynn
Briana
Brianna
Sara
AB Keuser
Rae
Faith

 

Questions:

1. What do you value more in a story: dialog or plot?
2. Describe the home planet of Lin-Manuel Miranda. (Come on, that dude ain’t human.)
3. If you enjoy watching any sports at all, which ones would you at least like to try just once?
4. Describe the most recent book to which you gave (or would have given) five stars.
5. Do you finish bad books? Why or why not?
6. How vexed are you when movies don’t match the books?
7. Describe your perfect hot beverage. In detail. I’m talking roast of bean or variety of leaves, additives like spices or squirts of citrus, vessel from which the drink is sipped, where you are sitting as you sip it, who is next to you, what music is playing.
8. Do you watch cooking shows? If so, describe your favorite.
9. Name a place you’ve visited that you thought you’d hate but you didn’t.
10. You know that hobby you had as a younger person that you miss dearly but you know you’ll never do it again? Describe it!
11. On January 20, 2017, the newly inaugurated President of the United States signs a law requiring all Americans to display a coffee-table book prominently in their home. Which one do you put out?

And thanks again, Rebecca, for the award!

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Stuff!!!

No updates in a few weeks! But it’s been a really busy month. Here are some notes on recent antics in my world:

  1. Remember, THE WISDOMFOLD PATH is out! I haven’t finished the Nook formatting yet, but I hope to have that done in the next few days. Got you copy yet? No? GET WITH IT, PEOPLE!!!
  2. I redesigned Byzantium’s Shores, my personal blog. The old template was looking increasingly clunky in my eyes, so I finally cleaned it up a bit. Also, now that NaNoWriMo is over and the book is launched and whatnot, I should be able to post more reliably there.
  3. We took a vacation in New York City! That pretty much killed my writing time for six days, but I figured that would happen, so I accounted for it. I did get some work done on the trip, enough so as to not completely lose momentum. I’ve been posting photos of the trip to Flickr, with blog posts over on Byzantium’s Shores annotating the journey. Follow along!
  4. Regarding NaNoWriMo: I am now 2-2 in my NaNo participation: two wins each of the first two years, and two losses the last couple of years. Ouch! I expected this year to be tough, but I was pretty much on target right up until the last day or two before we embarked for NYC, so I feel pretty good that I would have made 50000 words with no problem had that trip not happened. And NaNoWriMo, as much as I love you and look forward to you each year, I love travel with my family more! (And besides, the whole point isn’t to beat yourself up about making 50K anyway. The point is to show prospective writers how the whole “goal-setting” thing works.)
  5. What’s up now? Well, this month there’s Christmas and the new Star Wars movie (which I continue to believe should have been released next May, because Star Wars movies should always come out in May), and it’s time to start revising Forgotten Stars III, which I can already safely say is going to be a lot harder than reworking the first two books. The first draft isn’t exactly a mess, but I’ve had time to think a lot about certain aspects of that book since I finished the draft, and…well, there’s a ton of heavy lifting ahead, so much so that I’m a little worried about making next November’s hopeful release date.

That’s about all for right this second. More stuff to come, though! I actually have some posts already written and awaiting their loading here. Stay tuned, Stardancers!

Excelsior!

 

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Happy Pi Day!

(crossposted from Byzantium’s Shores)

Yes, today is Pi Day! I don’t usually do much to observe Pi Day, but this year’s is a special edition, since this is the only year in this century when the digits will line up so perfectly.

And how would a goof like me mark the occasion? Well, it would start with this:

And end like this:


Long live Pi, and pie!

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