Thursday, September 13, 2012

Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge: The Wrong Man

This week's challenge is incorporate one choice from each of three lists; subgenre, element and conflict/theme.  I let the random nature of the dice decide my fate here and the rolls provided me with a detective tale about imprisonment involving surgery.  Let's see how this plays out.

Chuck's blog is here -

The Wrong Man

It occured to me as the Pennywell Surgeon loomed into view that it often feels like someone is writing my life.  The situations I've gotten into, and out of, would fit perfectly in the page of some dogeared adventure novel.  It was exactly that fact that kept me from feeling fear as he tested the edge of a scalpel on his thumb.  After all, when you've escaped unscathed from a mobster's basement interrogation and put a bullet in the throat of a respected political assassin, knives tend to lose their power.

"Why can't I move?" I asked, testing my limbs for responsiveness.  The man leaned over the edge of the pine box he'd laid me in, the overhead light casting curious shadows across his bespectacled face.  He didn't look like a killer, certainly not one who'd kidnapped and harvested the organs from fourteen women in half a year's time.  He was pushing fifty with a receding hairline and patches of gray in his beard.  The papers had assigned him the nickname but my research had turned up the truth.  Walter Demroe, board certified neurologist and surgeon, had been very careful to keep his nocturnal exploits separate from his professional life.

"Simple anatomy, shamus.  I've clipped the tendons and ligaments that would allow you motion in your limbs." he said, as calmly as if he were lecturing to a class.  I felt my lips pull into a frown despite my effort to stay stoic.  He turned away and I could hear the clink of metal tools.

"Did you do this to your victims, too?  Left them paralyzed while you scooped out their innards?" I asked, the disgust rich in my voice.  I didn't need to know the answer.  I was stalling, you see, as I'd realized he'd missed something.  My right hand twitched as I struggled to move it.

"Some.  Others I used injected chemicals." he replied, a sigh punctuating this words.  "I'm rather surprised you even took an interest in this case.  They were whores and junkies, after all.  The police never gave them a second thought."

"They never gave me a second thought either.  Maybe that's why I felt inclined to dig."  My fingers balled into a fist, pins and needles shooting through my arm.  I could feel the weight of my pistol pressing heavy on my ribs.  I eased my hand slowly upwards.

"And dig you did.  I was content to let you stumble about checking bars and roughing up thugs but once you'd found my office I knew something had to be done." he said.  Light gleamed off a saw as he held it up, the teeth jagged and bent.  Another inch brought my hand closer to the weapon.

"So you set me up?  Used my ex-wife's cell phone to get me to the park.  Where is Marianne?" I asked, fingertips grazing the carved wood of the gun's grip.

"I'd imagine she's at home, sleeping off her night out with the girls.  Only a careless woman leaves her phone unattended when ordering drinks." he replied, pulling a pair of gloves off his hands.  He turned back to me, something gripped in his left hand, and found the barrel of my gun shaking in his face.

"Sorry, sicko.  Nobody's gonna take my organs."  It took all the strength I could muster to level the weapon and squeeze the trigger.  The hammer fell on an empty chamber.  CLICK.  I squeezed again.  CLICK.  My strength faltered and the gun slipped from my fingers, falling into his open palm.  He smiled, gleaming teeth almost monsterous in the dingy, yellow light.  He set the gun aside, opening his left hand and letting the bullets slip between his fingers onto my chest.

"I am not an amateur, detective.  I know my craft well enough to empty my victim's weapons.  Well enough to know your organs are riddled with rot and disease.  Alcohol and cigarettes and putrid diner aren't fit to transplant." he said, and this time it was his voice that held disgust.  As he hooked a hammer into his belt and hoisted the coffin lid I felt the bitter taste of fear.  I tried to move, to kick or punch but all I could manage was a strangled scream.

"No!  This isn't right.  My stories don't end like this!" I gasped, choking the words through gritted teeth.  He stopped, light flashing across his glasses as his smile faded.  In that moment his expression held only pity.  I hated him for it.

"Well, gumshoe, what you've failed to consider is that this isn't your story.  It's mine." he said as he pushed the wooden lid into place, plunging me into blackness.

As I drove the first nail in, I heard the detective scream.  Those screams continued until six feet of packed earth drowned them out.  I waited for a minute, trying to pick out his shouts from the wailing of the wind, then walked back up the path to the parking lot.  The park was my favorite spot, so empty and sprawling in the dead of night.

Brushing soil from my hands and tossing the shovel into the back of my truck, I smiled.  I flicked open the zippo, taking a moment to read the inscription.  I knew you'd ace the detective exam.  With love and faith, Marianne.  The flame danced excitedly until I snapped the lid closed.  A trophy of a different sort from this one.  There were days when my hobby felt like work but this...this was not one of those days.

Friday, July 20, 2012

When it Rains, You Get Wet

Well, I just received another acceptance for Retention.  Cast of Wonders hosts an audio webzine which will be podcasting my story in the near future.  The audio part is pretty cool, as is the fact that they are paying me 5 British pounds for my efforts.  I have now officially been paid to write, which eliminates my favorite excuse to not do it.

My wife will be spending the next two weeks wandering the wilds of Spain, which should mostly consist of partying by night and sightseeing by day.  This leaves me in charge of the homestead, a tragic turn of events for the cats.  They now have to seek me out in my rare off-time to beg for attention.  I think they're starting to get the point that when I'm at my computer I am too busy to pet them.  Cats are smarter than they look.  One of them even figured out how to twist the knobs in the bathtub enough to be able to drink from the faucet.  Super unsettling.  I'm going to lock up the knives.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge #2

This week's challenge is to take a classic fairy tale, fable or nursery rhyme and bring it out of the past.  It can be set in this century or beyond, which left me with a lot of setting potential to chomp on.  It took me a bit to settle on a story but I decided that the Pied Piper needed a modern retelling.

Chuck's blog is here -

The Price Gets Higher

"I call it Sweet Melody," Piper said as he dangled the plastic baggie over the counter.  "You can smoke it, inject it or snort it.  You won't find a smoother high."  The boy reached out and Piper let the baggie drop into his hand, crystals bouncing around inside.  The kid ran a finger over the sticker on the back side, a small gold flute on a blue background.

"How much?" he asked, straightening up and setting his face in a somber stare.  Piper smiled, noticing again how talk of money always made kids try to act older.  This one couldn't be but 13 but he was trying to project a businessman's aspect.

"The first bag is free.  Call it a sample.  Don't worry, though.  It's the cheapest drug out there." Piper replied, rising from his chair and walking around the counter with his usual bouncing step.  The boy looked uneasy, glancing through the shop window and back to the baggie.  Piper laid a hand on his shoulder, urging him towards the door.  "Go on.  Tell your friends."  As the boy pushed the door open and stepped out onto the street, Piper heard music from a passing car.

Take on me...take me on...

His eyes narrowed at it, a sneer on the corner of his lip.  That song was like an obsession to people these days.  You couldn't even go an hour without hearing that shrill refrain.  Piper crossed to the door of the shop and swung the sign to read 'Closed'.  Across the street he could see the brick facade of the Hamelin Arms projects.  He watched the children milling about the sidewalk, acid washed jeans and leather jackets and boom boxes.  As he made his way back to the stock room he paused to snatch a baseball bat from one of the shelves.  The tag, which read 'Piper's Pawn - $2.50', peeled away from the chipped surface.

The door swung inwards and the dim glow of an overhead light illuminated the figure in the center of the room.  The man was heavy set under workman's overalls, but the chain that bound him to the metal chair was the most prominent feature.  Piper let the door swing shut behind him, stepping over and kneeling next to the man.

"You know, Marcus, I find that this decade doesn't sit well with me.  The music, for one.  So lacking in any true effort,"  Piper said.  Marcus looked up, one eye swollen shut from a previous beating.  "Despite that, I do admire how easily this generation's children are taken in by a quick fix for their unfortunate situations."

"Fuck you."  Marcus spat, blood on his lips, though the words came out slurred.  Piper frowned, his lips narrowing to a line, and he stepped back a bit as he tested the weight of the bat in his hands.

"You did, my friend.  You and all the other parents in the Hamelin Arms."  Piper paused long enough to slip the tri-colored denim jacket from off his shoulders and toss it onto the desk.  Blood stains were always tricky to get out of denim.  "We had a very simple arrangement.  One that you and your people initiated."  Leaning back, Piper brought the bat in a sideways swing.  Marcus' knee snapped violently at the impact, followed by a howl of pain.

"Stop...please...we didn't..."  Marcus begged, his muscles tightening against the chain.

"You didn't what?!"  Piper shouted, dropping low to bring his eyes in line with his captive's.  "Expect me to survive?"  He jabbed at Marcus' chest with the bat.  "You made me an offer.  Twenty-five grand to get rid of the dealers that were hooking your kids.  What did you call them?  Rats...vermin...scum?"

"You don't understand."  Marcus interjected, but a quick right hook split his upper lip and choked him with the words.

"I fucking understand!  I killed a dozen men for you.  A dozen deserving men, but that blood doesn't just wash away.  I did my part and you screwed me."  Leaping back, Piper swung the bat high and sent Marcus' head to the side with a hollow 'thump'.  A moment later the anger was gone and Piper was smoothing out the wrinkles in his grey Polo.  "That's alright, though.  I have a new price and you have no choice but to pay it."

" can't..." Marcus said, his good eye wet with tears.

"I already have.  Sweet Melody is on the streets now.  Your kids will come to me one by one begging for more.  They will come with their minds clouded and their bodies screaming for a fix.  And when they do?  When they do, I will take them.  Do you have any idea what kind of money I can charge for a relatively healthy child?  Factories, drug dens, whorehouses...they will all pay."  Piper drew in a slow breath, resting the bat on his shoulder.  "But don't you worry, Marcus.  You're one of the lucky ones.  You won't be around to see it."

The bat did its work, accompanied by screaming, and the heavy brick and mortar of the building swallowed the noise.  It was the kind of music that Piper could really appreciate.

Friday, July 6, 2012

My Name Up In Lights

So, I'm published now.  Bleeding Ink Anthology - A Collection of Dark Tales went up on SmashWords as an e-book on the 3rd.  It contains a short piece of mine called Retention about a bullied boy's paranormal experience at the local retention pond.

I've always loved to write but I've also always had a small voice in the back of my mind that told me there was no future in it.  That I wasn't good enough to keep people interested.  Now that I'm published I can't really use that excuse because somebody somewhere was interested enough in what I write to include me in their collection.  Now, when I skip writing to get a few more levels in Skyrim I am really going to feel crappy about it.

I guess I owe you all some excerpts.  Here, feast your greedy eye-mouths on these.

In less than an hour I had to go eat a ghost.


The sign outside my door swung as it caught those breezes, chain creaking at the motion.  R.L. Hawkins, Spiritualist & Accountant.  I’d tried paranormal investigator before but people look at you funny if you don’t show up with a cart full of gear.  They expect the light show and the evp and all that.  It seemed to be more acceptable for a spiritualist to rely solely on the powers of the mind, which cut down seriously on my expenses.


“Happiness is as sure a killer as sadness,” I said. “It makes you soft.  You get content and then sadness hits and you’ve forgotten how to cope with it.”

Friday, June 29, 2012

Doing Things and Stuff

First, let me extend my gratitude to the masses who have answered my call and pledged funds to the Clarion Write-a-Thon.  It means a lot to me to be able to support the foundation and I will not disappoint my sponsors.  You guys rock.  Expect many excerpts in the coming weeks.

So, I've been watching Breakout Kings recently and its a pretty decent show.  One episode in particular got me thinking.  The plot revolved around the team's efforts to catch an escaped child rapist.  At one point they interview another child molester who knew the fugitive and I found this character to be particularly interesting for a bit part.

He was deeply troubled and admittedly guilty of his previous crimes but he presented himself as 'on the mend'.  That's an old term for 'getting better'.  He spoke about the efforts he had to make to avoid succumbing to his compulsions and that got me thinking.  First about how horrible it must be to live with a mental disorder that forces you to do something that you know is abhorrent.  The lengths you would have to go to justify the behavior each time you succumbed, and people with these problems inevitably falter before they seek out help, would be exhausting.  Secondly, I wondered the whole time if it is possible to present a pedophile as a story's protagonist.

Not a statutory rape style sex offender.  A genuine pedophile with deep-seeded psychological trauma that manifests in an irrepressible sexual attraction to children.  I know that Tim Dorsey has had success portraying a mentally unbalanced murderer as the 'anti-hero' in his books, and the success of Dexter is evidence that people can overlook a lot when connecting with a protagonist, but I am skeptical about whether people would be willing to follow the exploits of someone who abused children even if they were actively working against their disorder.  We can accept murderers as the vehicle for a story's progression but not child molesters.  On that note, would a murderer of children be less acceptable than a murderer of adults?


Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Clarion Write-a-Thon

As you should know by now, I am always looking for ways to improve my odds of actually doing some writing everyday.  This blog is one example which, as of late, has been sadly inefficient.  The truth is my work schedule has taken a drastic turn in terms of my time investment and I come home from my 12 hour days pretty beat.  As far as excuses go that one is pretty legitimate but I still hate waking up without having put some words down the day before.

You probably don't know about the Clarion Writer's Workshop unless you happen to be into writing yourself.  It is a six-week retreat where selected writers lock themselves away on a college campus and write until their eyes bleed.  There have been some notable attendees in the past, both on the teaching and learning side, and I hope to apply for it when it comes around next year.  This post isn't really about that, though.

Alongside the workshop, the Clarion foundation also holds a write-a-thon.  They apply the pledged money to funding the workshop and providing assistance to the lucky few who opt to give up six weeks of their lives in pursuit of their passion.  I am committing to the write-a-thon this year, which runs from June 24 to August Somethingorother, whatever makes it six weeks.  I'm shooting for 30,000 words during that period.  10,000 will be devoted to short works that I can refine for my application to the workshop next year, the remainder being used for my current projects (a 10k word story for an anthology of the sword and sorcery genre and a novel that's currently in the early planning stages).

So, if you have money to spare and would like to support the efforts of budding writers I would ask that you check out the link below and consider sponsoring me or one of the many writers on the list.  Additionally, if you are interested in writing, they are still in need of 17 writers (as of this posting) to participate.

Link here:

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Terrible Minds Flash Fiction Challenge: A Tree Far From Home

I've titled this post with every intention of creating more of these.  We'll see how that pans out.  Chuck Wendig is a writer who I became familiar with years ago for his work on Hunter: the Reckoning, a White Wolf tabletop RPG that ranks to this day as my "all-time #1, run-at-the-drop-of-a-hat" system.  He has a blog (link at the end) through which he hands out all kind of free awesome for people interested in telling stories.  Every Friday he puts up some kind of flash fiction challenge to keep the creative juices overflowing and I thought I'd start participating because a) I love writing flash fiction and b) I need something to keep this blog moving while I struggle with my own writing issues.

Chuck's blog is here -

A Tree Far From Home

"Charles Donovan Pierce, you put your respirator on this instant!"

The voice was shrill through the amplification speakers.  Charlie pulled the clear plastic cone off his belt and slid the straps over his head, tugging it through straw blond hair until he heard the soft hiss of a seal being made.  The smell of ozone faded as the device did its work, filtering out the elements that might be troublesome.  The taste lingered, though, like sucking on a penny that had been electrified moments before.

"Sorry, Ma." he said, his own speaker amplifying the volume.  Tearing his eyes away to look at her was so difficult, so unwanted.

"Damn right, you are.  We haven't been here a week and already you're traipsing around like you're on the back forty." Vivian said, her frown visible but twisted unnaturally by the plastic of her mask.  She crunched through the grass, her suit slick with moisture.

"It's just..." Charlie began, his mind struggling for the words as he turned back to the tree, it's bent form swaying so soothingly in the soft argon fog.  "It's so like home, ya know.  The grass, the trees...well, most of them."  His mother reached his side and motioned upwards with a sweep of her hand.

"What color is that sun, boy?"  Charlie didn't have to shift his eyes to know the answer.  He'd stared up at it for hours when they first arrived, amazed at shimmering light it created.

"Blue, ma'am." he replied, reaching out towards the twisted branches of the tree in front of them.  His mother's hand was on his wrist in an instant, pulling it back.

"Right, because this isn't Earth.  You don't know what is out here.  How dangerous it could be." she said, her fingers tightening.

"But, Ma, the scientists said it was ok to breathe here for an hour." he said, his eyes locked to the thin green foliage on the spidery boughs.  A quick tug pulled his attention back to his mother's face.

"I don't care what no scientist's say.  You don't leave the tent unless your father or I give you permission."  she said, her voice tight with anger.  Charlie's eyes seemed to focus at that, pupils constricting as fear of his father's anger flooded his body with hormones.  "Are we clear?"

"Yeah...yes, ma'am.  I understand." he managed between deep gulps of air.  Her hand slid loose of his wrist and she set it on his shoulder instead, the rubberized plastic of his suit rippling at her touch.

"We just don't want anything to happen to you, Charlie.  This isn't home.  We have to be more careful here."  A slow push turned him around and he spared a glance towards the tree as they started back.  It was strange...he couldn't see now why he'd found it so fascinating.  He smiled to his mother as she continued.  "We have a few more holes to dig before he can plant the supports for our habitat but once that's done I thought we might break out the ice-cream your father freeze-dried before the trip."

The tree watched them go.  It slowed the swaying of its branches and let the mist dampen them again.  The chemicals in its leaves ceased to mingle, breaking rapidly down into their respective components.  It was a missed opportunity, to be sure.  The boy had been so close, so deeply entranced by the pheromones.  A minute longer would have been all it would need to finally see what these new creatures tasted like.

The tree sighed, though it only appeared to shudder in the wind from the outside.  It had been new to this place once, too.  Fresh from across the blackness of space when it was but a child, eager to plant roots and entice prey.  The setback was of little consequence.  They would be back, poking the ground with their strange devices and it would be there waiting for them.  So eager to explore, these beings were.

It would sleep until then.  Sleep despite the gnawing in its roots, the pangs of undernourishment.  Hunger did not sit well with its kind, and it had waited so very long for a meal.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Not So Much About Writing

Not much to say on the writing front.  Still doing it.  Elder Scrolls Online has been announced.  That's cool, right?  Sure, I can see the issues with it but it's headed up by the guy who drove Dark Age of Camelot and that game was amazing.  What else...Diablo 3 comes out next week.  Dragon's Dogma drops the week after that.  So those will be fun.

Friday's suck.  I generally work on Fridays and there is usually a game in the evening so trying to get a post in there is a hassle.  For that reason, and my constant need to come up with ideas that are not directly related to my current project, I would like to start devoting Fridays to a serial pulp adventure yarn.  I can write it over the week alongside the novel and have it all prepared before Friday arrives, leaving me to simply post it up instead of working up an entry.  I envision it will play out in short weekly installments, between 750 and 1,000 words each.

It may begin this week but I'm not going to commit to that completely.  Next week I begin a new job which means fewer hours for writing.  Actually, it means the same number of hours for writing and fewer hours to screw around on video games and crap.  Shouldn't impede my progress if I can stick to my weekly word goals.

So, maybe a fun little tale of thrilling heroics and dastardly deeds this week.  Maybe not until next week.  We'll see how it goes.

Monday, May 7, 2012

I read pretty frequently, less so when my class loads are heavy but often enough to see a very common issue in a lot of books.  It is more prevalent in books which the author intended to launch a series but many single print novels suffer it.  It goes against the most basic writing instruction I received since I was young and it amazes me how often I find it.

Every chapter in your novel, just like every paragraph in your short fiction, must make progress in your story.  They have to involve some event that is significant to the development of the overall tale.  There are a lot of forms that this can take be it development of a character, elaboration on a plot element or even description of an important facet of the setting.  No matter what, there has to be something important about what your readers are seeing.

I am working my way through a book that I've had on the shelf for over a year.  It's a light bit of fantasy fare and the story is pretty good overall.  My problem has been getting TO that story, as the first third of the book involved two characters walking towards a city.  There were moments of importance here, with their conversations providing some exposition on the setting and some character development for the girl who is caught in a strange new world, but most of the time this comes across as heavy handed.  It definitely feels like they made this trek simply because the author wanted to information dump their setting on you.

I think it is important to never view your novel as a link in the chain of your (possible) series.  It is hard enough trying to ensure that your chapters provide the necessary information and balance that with keeping them interesting.  Thinking beyond the point where you type THE END on your current work is dangerous.  I am fighting this issue myself with Greenhorn because I have what I believe to be a solid idea for a sequel.  I haven't even written this material down in hopes that I can avoid clouding my judgement on what is important in each chapter of this first novel.

For those of you who are frequent readers, or at least as frequent as I allow you to be, I will have some interesting information in Wednesday's post (which will post on Wednesday come hell or high water...whatever that idiom means) regarding my intentions for Friday updates in the future.  Could be fun and exciting.  Could just plain suck.  Only way to know is come back.

Total Words: Novel - 12,900

Thursday, May 3, 2012

I've always found that the most difficult aspect of writing is keeping the motivation up.  When I've faced things like writer's block it is usually because I've hit some obstacle in the story or things aren't fleshing out the way I planned.  This leads me to doubt the whole process and makes it damn near impossible to keep hacking away at it.  When I do break through and the words flow again it is always refreshing, but getting to that point is draining.  I've dealt with motivation issues over the recent weeks and I'm hoping that the end of classes will help alleviate that, but that isn't the primary problem I am having with my current work, title Greenhorn as a placeholder.

My primary problem is that weird westerns aren't easy to research.  They exist, sure, but not in so great a number that you can readily grab one and see what the style is usually all about.  I am battling with the issue of how weird I want things to be and when, precisely, to introduce the elements of weirdness.  The story revolves around the pursuit of objects that are not only supernatural, but their use makes characters in the story supernatural.  There are 4 distinct characters who have supernatural ability at the beginning of the story but they aren't on-screen too often.  Recognizing and then investigating the 'weird' is the path our protagonist follows and I want the readers to experience it in bits and pieces like she does.

I've taken to seeding small hints in the opening chapters, allusions to some of the characters having an unnatural ability without actually portraying it full on.  Still, I am concerned that a slow build might not have the hook for the reader that a story like this needs.  I'm not a historical fiction writer by any means, and my Old West setting won't win awards for being accurate, so I'm wondering if I need to hit the weird harder and faster to grab interest.

Friday's update may also come a day late, as I work during the day and have a game to attend at night.  I've thought about discussing elements of my setting's weirdness on here but I'd hate to make too much information available and ruin the suspense.  Perhaps by next update I'll have come to a decision.

Monday, April 30, 2012

Instruments of His Will

Alright, this week is looking rough what with final projects due for class and twice the work I'm used to.  Here is a quick scene involving Bill and Rico from early on.  I have been toying with a prequel story involving how these two came to work for the books major antagonist.  Might put some of that up later in the week.

“These boots are too loose.” Rico shifted his weight from heel to toe as he said it.  Bill didn’t spare him a glance as he swept the blade of his knife across the dead woman’s dress.  Blood streaked the yellow cloth in uneven patterns.  Slipping the blade into the sheath on his hip, Bill turned to watch his partner sway.
“Might try buying yourself a pair someday,” he said, studying the shoeless corpse nearby. “Or kill someone who wears your size.”  Rico stomped his left foot a couple times to make sure the boot would stay.
“Used to get boots made at this little shop back in Rolin Creek.  Fit like a second skin.” Rico said, his voice heavy with the memory.  Bill grabbed the woman by the legs and dragged her off the road.
“Yeah, I know.  You can’t go back there because you’ve got an 80 dollar bounty on your head and a dozen angry brothers who are dying to collect.  Or was it husbands?  I can never keep your bullshit straight.” Bill stood up and stretched his back, watching the sun dip below the hills.
“90 dollars and it was both.  And it ain’t bullshit!” Rico growled back as he dragged the dead man over.  Bill didn’t actually doubt the truth of it.  Rico was half-mad when he wasn’t piss drunk, which was rare.  Twice he’d seen the man snap and twice it left someone dead who truly didn’t warrant it.
“Never mind that.  We better get to the south road and set up camp.  Boss says that new lawyer is supposed to ride through in the morning.”  Bill snatched his gun belt from the tree where he’d hung it and slipped it back into place.  The weight of the pistol helped put him at ease.
“Are we killing him or scaring him?” Rico asked, and his emphasis on the word killing making his preference clear.  Rico had always carried an obvious disdain for greenhorns and city slickers of all stripes.  Bill had asked him about it once and only gotten that they were greedy and spineless.  His own experiences with folks from back east were minimal so he didn’t really have an argument against it.
“Boss wasn’t too clear on that.  We will start with talking and see where it goes from there,” he said, turning to face Rico and closing the distance between them.  “Talk first, you get me?  Not like last time.”
“I got it.  I done apologized about that.” Rico replied, his eyes dropping to his new boots.  Bill was the only one who ever seemed to get that kind of reaction from him.  It had been that way since they first teamed up in Nevada nearly a decade back.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A New Tack

Yeah, it's been awhile.  I haven't called or written.  I am going to try to make posts here on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.  With the exception of situations where I cannot access the blog for whatever reason (such as last night), I should be able to keep to this.

So, writing.  It's been more difficult lately and I believe that would be true even without the distractions I've dealt with these last couple of weeks.  Two Fridays back I hit the 10k mark on the novel and it almost felt like a wall.  I've made small progress since then but I keep going back and changing things instead of moving forward.  In order to prevent a complete burn out I am working in a couple of side projects so we will see if that helps.

I had a story accepted for an online young adult publication.  It is a very short piece of a YA fiction about a boy and his ghost.  It feels significant to me because it was the first story I completed since I decided to start focusing on writing again.  It's nice to find it a home.  I'll direct you to that piece when the anthology is published.

Now, I know I promised some information on Rico and Bill but instead I think I'll do you one better.  Tomorrow's update will include a section of Rico and Bill interaction from one of the chapters.  First draft material, of course, but it should be fun.

Total Words: Novel - 11,750

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Back on Track

I know, I know.  It's been too long.  I never call, I never write.

Sadly, March was a difficult month to get things off the ground and the variety of crap I had to deal with has put me behind on my goal.  That said, I've gotten things back in running order over the last couple of days and can proudly declare a 5,700 word increase over my previous total.  There is still a lot more to do but at least I'm working steadily at it again.

This month is Script Frenzy, for anyone in the know about such things.  It's basically Nanowrimo with a 100 page script instead of a 50k word novel.  Since I've been making little headway with my side projects, I thought I might give SF a shot in my down time.  I am now 3 days behind on it but I think I can keep up.  Hopefully it will keep me from burning out on the novel.

Next update will carry the promised info on Rico and Bill, henchmen extraordinaire, as well as a synopsis of my script attempt for the month.

Total Words: Novel - 8798, Script - 0

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Delayed but not Dismissed

Sorry for the lack of updates.  The weekend was difficult with additional classes added to my schedule and a sick cat at home.  I haven't been able to work on the novel as much as I would have liked but I've made some progress.  I've put in another 1628 words today, and near that many towards that pulp submission I'm doing on the side.  That still puts me behind but I hope to be able to catch up over the rest of the week.

I rarely a story from beginning to end.  It's more like a puzzle for me, taking pieces and fitting them in where they belong.  Today I wrote a conflict scene from later in the book where two of the antagonist's henchmen assault our lawyer and her potential romantic interest.  Bloody stuff, but it definitely comes through on the promise of fists and bullets.  I like these henchmen enough that I've decided to open the novel with them.  Perhaps I will use the next post to detail them a bit.

Total Words: Novel - 3098, Pulp Short - 1500

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Day 1 - Slow but Steady

Well, I am now 1,470 words down on the novel.  That is a prologue plus a bit of chapter one and, while I tend to go pretty bare bones on first drafts, it seems to hold the info I wanted to get across.  Two of the primary villain's henchmen are introduced, as is our heroine, and it feels appropriately western.

I'd hoped to do some additional work on a pulp short story about aliens but I've been down with a migraine for most of the day so that didn't happen.  I'm also tossing around an idea for a story/novel set in the Caribbean but I probably won't do much beyond outlining that until early May, when my current work is well on its way to completion.

Total Words: 1,470

Friday, March 2, 2012

Onwards to a Grand Beginning

Well, I leave tomorrow morning for St John to get wedded and such.  My updates will likely be sporadic until the 15th, but I will try to keep in the habit of putting things up here.

Catch you all soon.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

What You Can Expect

My first attempt at a full-scale novel will be of the weird west genre.  You may be familiar with it through playing Deadlands or seeing movies like Cowboys and Aliens or Jonah Hex.  There are better examples out there but they're neither as modern nor as popular as those.

Rather than focusing on a gunslinger or an outlaw, I'm opting to focus my story around a lawyer.  One of the nations early female lawyers.  As such, I'm using Wyoming as the setting since it was the first state to allow females to practice law in 1869 which dovetails nicely with my desire to use 1875 for my tale.  As an aside, Wyoming was pretty forward thinking toward women as they were also the first state to allow women the vote, also 1869.

That said, the story will open with my lawyer's arrival in a frontier town called Mary's Rest and her attempt to take over running a law office there.  It will get weird pretty fast since I've never been a fan of slow-paced stories.  Expect all manner of unnatural phenomena and high-stakes adventure.  I've been in something of a pulp mood recently, likely due to my working on a side story of a pulp anthology (fingers crossed and all that) so this will probably be reflected in the novel as well.

Here is a short list of things you can expect me to dangle in front of your noses in the coming weeks.

A title for the novel.
Information on the protagonist and the townsfolk.
Strange events of a dark and unholy nature.
Fists a-flyin' and bullets...a-flyin'.  Hmm, should have thought that one out more.

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

To Start at the Beginning

It is very easy for me not to write.  There are so many other things I could be doing with my time.  I've decided to use this blog in an effort to keep myself on track.

Beginning March 15th, once all this wedding nonsense has died down, I will begin writing my first full-scale novel in earnest.  This means that, in order to have it done by my May 15th deadline, I am going to need to put in 1,000 to 1,200 words per day.  No breaks, no days off, no excuses.

I will be keeping a running total on this blog along with any insights I may uncover during the process.  Should I really get into gear, I may even be able to post some samples from this or other works I am doing.

I will post more information on the proposed tale tomorrow.