Six Years

Sitting in my finished walkout basement on 3 November 2014, I received a text message from a friend: “Are you doing anything for NaNoWriMo?”

Unsure if he had mis-typed or was having a stroke, I asked for clarification. “National Novel Writing Month,” he typed. I had never heard of it, so I looked into it: the challenge to write a 50k word novel in the month of November. Hmm. I’ve always had a weakness for irrational deadlines…

Twenty-three days later, I had an awful manuscript of about 52k words. Awful. But still, I had seen something while creating it. I caught a glimpse of entire world filled with interesting people. I wanted to know more. So I kept typing. And typing. To-date I’ve been blessed to write down seven novels, one novella, one short story collection, and one children’s early reader. And my American Imperium Trilogy will be released in just a few weeks, followed by audiobooks in the early months of 2021.

What an amazing half-dozen years I have had. And thank all of you for reading along. Cheers!

NaNoWriMo 2018

Nope.  Not me.  Right around 2130 of Halloween, I send the third-pass edit of Foes & Rivals to my talented copyeditor, at the same time taking a vow I’d write nothing, original, in November.

I now turn to implementing her edits to Friend and Ally while she processes its sequel.  I don’t think I’ll have F&A ready for the Local Authors Fair on 17 November… maybe “limited edition” proof copies?  Like Niven’s first edition of Ringworld, where the Earth rotated in the wrong direxion.

Besides DayJob, Husband/FatherJob, and WriterJob of 173k words in 7 months, I am so, so tired.

“Code: Tiger”

Yes, it’s been a-while.  I’m a lousy writer and terrible person.  For those you not out on a date with your current or future spouse, here’s a treat:  3600 words of a battle just about to start.  Being Veterans/Remembrance Day, I have Nichole look around at one point, recalling the living so that she will be able to recall the dead, fighting to save their homes and families.

When I write the battle at L&C bridge – which should go quickly, I’m not one for battle scenes – there’s a moment with Nichole and Joe at the end of it, then back to the City.  At that point, I’ve all the raw material, about 80k words, complete, and just need to edit it into a coherent novel.  By Christmas.

If any hot strawberry-blonde girls want to gift me US$500 for the cover for this book, I’ll use your image, if you do.  Otherwise, I’m having to sell a kidney.

Continue reading ““Code: Tiger””

Milestone and millstones

Today, Saturday, was the semi halfway point between both my girl’s birthdays.  We all, plus my mother-in-law (we sat far apart) went to a nominally Japanese steakhouse.  I bet I spoke more anime-Japanese than the staff.  Still and all, good time, good food.  Eldest Daughter is now Sweet Sixteen.  She said there’s a boy she’s fond of.  I said I have rifles about which I feel the same.  We have one another’s measure.

I’ve broken 50k words.  In and of itself, that means nothing, but recall I was raised on NaNoWriMo’s “50k words in November!” so it kind of sticks.  What’s happening at that word mark is below the fold.  I’d guess another 8-12k to kill everyone, er, wrap things up.  Following that, as I said in a previous post, editing will consist of adding material to make the modules I’ve written, over so much time, link to one another.

Will Deonne in two sentences completely changed how I write horror (it works, now), but I know I still suck at action/fighting.  Anyone have any ideas as I head into the final Act?

Continue reading “Milestone and millstones”

Curtain falls; curtain rises

NaNoWriMo passed yesterday.  As I expected, I was no-where near finished, much less to 50k words.  Which is fine:  I’ve many other things pressing for my time, and I’m finding the characters engaging and the genre a good challenge, so I don’t want to rush.  Still:  deadlines.  So, I think I’ll set Christmas as my writing stop-date.  As I’m guesstimating that this one will be a little longer than my first two – maybe 65k words – that’ll give me January to… hang on, something just came in on my ‘writer’ email….

Oh.  It appears my one-hour panel, ‘Creative Writing and Self-Publishing’ for Ohayocon 2017, in Columbus, Ohio, has been approved.  Sure be nice if I could give a more current example than 10-month old Echoes of Family Lost.  Hmmm.  January 15th….

‘Scuse me:  I need to go make some coffee for tonight.  I’d best see how Maya gets her memory back so she can start killing people again.  Cheerio!

Dogging My Steps

Good news:  second biopsy on dog came back as a polyp.  No cancer.  Bad news:  second biopsy on dog came back as a polyp; so it might regrow like some tanjed weed if the surgeon didn’t get it all, branch-and-root.  *sigh* Time will tell.  Otherwise, Lucky Star is doing fine.

Accepting the fail of another NNWM is relaxing:  my pacing of writing is much more like what I was doing over the summer with Defiant… about 500 words a night with the occasional ~1200 word burst.  The story is much less forced and much more like my usual pedestrian* style.  I’m happier about that.  Not that I don’t have an hard deadline:  I finally got round to seeing the longer trailer for Ghost in the Shell.  Never read the manga, never saw any of the animated movies.  So, a show about machines and what it means to be a person.  Nope, I got nothing on that.  Better have Cursed Hearts published before that comes out!

*No, really.  I actually have Chris and Cat wandering around UCSD campus… Continue reading “Dogging My Steps”


Or, rather, I made it past 10,000 word count.  I’m not going to make it to 50k by the end of the month, though.  My wife was kind enough to point out that, two years ago when I wrote “The Fourth Law” in 23 days, I was also working part-time.  I’d forgotten that part.  The whole husband/father plus day-job thing (putting aside my dog getting his sinuses trenched out) is a little nerve wracking..

It’s not all bad news:  no matter when I finish (mid-December, hopefully) I do plan to finish; I’m finding the dynamic between Chris and Cat very engaging.  I’ve laid down some plot markers that won’t be picked up for some time… one, not till the last scene.  After some great advice from Friend Will about horror scenes, I’m looking forwards to Maya’s next victim.  Of course, that won’t be for awhile:  I needed (and found) a way to put her in a box, so to speak.  Otherwise, she takes the next flight from Japan to San Diego and kills my other characters.  Over at 13k words.  Fortunately for my story, she’s a typical Oriental woman when behind the wheel.  Bye, bye for a bit, Maya!

I’ve a little time before making dinner, so I’ll see if I can get Chris enrolled in his classes.  That should generate some secondary and tertiary characters, which is good.  I’d like a scene at La Jolla beach, but I’ve already called out Chris’ scars from his modifications….  That’s it!  I’ll do it at night!  Everyone goes to see some bioluminescent algae bloom; perfect!  When he steps into the water, the light moves away from him (metaphors up to ’11!’).

And right there is how this happens.

Dis Ease

Wife and daughters in Mason, Ohio for a swim meet.  I stayed behind to retrieve our pup post-surgery.  Prior to that, I went looking for shoes (once every 5 years; failed.  Ordered from ebay), 3 loads of laundry, put towels everywhere for incoming dog, mulched leaves in backyard, restocked at foodstore.

Then, got dog.  Drive home, carrying dog about.  Early dinner, convince dog to take meds hidden in pork, short walk, bed.

Oh.  What didn’t happen?  7500 words, that’s what didn’t happen.

Continue reading “Dis Ease”

Writing Horror

I don’t think I’ve a hand for this, either.  I had my wife read the part I just wrote, in italics, below.  She wandered off muttering “I like your romance, better.”  As if I can effing write romance stories!  She praises me with faint damns.

The taxi sat silently in its parking space at the small lot at Okadama Airport. The driver’s side seat was fully reclined, allowing Maya more easy access to the driver’s brain. After finding clothes and money at Neuroi, she’d taken the rail south into Sapporo city. At the main rail station, she’d wandered about until locating the cab station and asked a driver to take her to the airport. Arriving at Okadama, it matched nothing in the memories she’d eaten. The driver said the big airport was an hour to the south, but she’d not been specific! Would she like to pay for a drive there, too?

She’d reached around from the back seat and crushed his windpipe. Maya thought about the next step, ignoring the gurgling as the man slowly choked to death. She scowled slightly; had she not killed him, he could have driven her to the other airport! Ah.

She would learn to drive a car.

She left the vehicle and looked about. There: a small bamboo patch. She inspected and rejected several shoots until she found one of just the right size. Returning to the back seat of the car, she shut the door and dropped the driver’s seat back. He was almost dead.

Maya tore out his left eyeball. With a sharp drop of her right fist, she rammed the bamboo tube through the back of his eye socket. Oxygen deprivation kept him from fighting back more than feebly. Wrenching the shoot up and left, she put her mouth to it and began sucking his brains out.

See what I mean:  clinical.  This isn’t an horror story, it’s an autopsy report.  I don’t know what to do to ‘scare’ the reader.  Yes, yes:  I chose something outside my comfort zone to push me as a writer, but maybe I shouldn’t have done that in combination with NNWM!  The other half of the story, with Chris and Cat, is coming along nicely:  romance!  Well, sort of.  Too much exposition, but cleaning that up is what December is for.

Official Word Count:  9032.

NNWM – Jumpstarting

I say jumpstarting as I’m taking a still-born idea from over a year ago and using those characters and location as a rough framework for this novel.  Re-writing and re-editing (yes, I know:  editing is for December; but if I didn’t do it now, I couldn’t have used any of that material) gave me about 1,000 words, gratis. There was a NNWM Write-In here at the Licking County Public Library – although I’m the only one here – and in the past 90 min, I was able to add another 1,000.  Good first day.  It’s my typical “start the story in the middle” approach, and even then, I’m jumping about with flashbacks.  Still not quite got the hang of horror writing, but I’m sure I’ll work something out.  The closing of what I did today is below the fold.

Continue reading “NNWM – Jumpstarting”