Seacombe Island Is Here!

cover of Seacombe Island

It’s here! My novel Seacombe Island has been published and is for sale on Amazon!

I began the novel as a 2011 NaNoWriMo manuscript. Since then, I’ve rewritten and edited most of the chapters several times and added a few characters that the zero draft didn’t include. Somewhere along the way I had put it aside while I finished graduate school, but the amount of work wasn’t ever really the issue. The big problem was that I had trouble developing the main character, Thomas Ashton. I had supporting characters who knew who they were right from the start, but not my protagonist. He was playing his cards close to his chest and refused to confide in me.

And so I put the manuscript aside and let the problem stew for awhile. Eventually I began sorting out some of the themes and gaining a better sense of what the driving forces were behind my characters. As I went through and edited some of the bits that were really irritating me the protagonist’s personality became clearer, and the more I delved into his backstory, the better I understood him.

What really helped me sort out some of the backstory was writing a short story based on the Seacombe Island world, “Hekatite,” which was published in the Smoke and Steam anthology this spring. Even though Tom isn’t in the short story, Edward Grey and Tom’s friend, Samuel Grey, are. Writing about them and figuring out what they were up to, and how it would affect Tom in the future, gave me a guideline and was a lot of fun.

I hope you enjoy Seacombe Island!

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Bacteria Wars

This has been a rough spring. Not only do I have allergies that turned into a sinus infection earlier this month, but I then I developed a lingering cough that I thought was bronchitis, so today I went to the doctor and it turns out I have strep throat. Well, the bacteria might be making me sick, which is pretty unfortunate since I just joined a gym, but they are not stopping me from writing. I am wondering if I should spray my keyboard with disinfectant. Nah. It would probably short-circuit, and then I’d have to write by hand. And I can’t read my own handwriting after the first paragraph!

Additionally, one of my cockatiels was unwell and so I took both of them to the vet. Poor little things, they both had blood drawn, and while Peachfuzz powered through it like a champ, Zim screamed his head off during the entire exam and then he bit the vet — twice. Guess who’s a favorite at the animal hospital?

Progress on the second Corrugated Sky anthology is going well. We’re revising our first drafts and hope to publish the book early this summer. I’ve completed my last encyclopedia entry on Ray Bradbury, although I have a few things to tackle for the editor to clear up some rough patches and fill in a few gaps. I’ve submitted a chapter proposal for an academic book on the First World War, and with most big projects off my desk I can turn to editing my novel for one last time.

I’ve revisited my thought process about how many words/hour editing should count for and decided that the 1,000 words per hour is really not unrealistic. I was toughing it out at 750 words an hour, but I was kind of cheating myself given the amount of work I was putting into the editing process. I’m happy to say that I am now ahead in my weekly word-count goal by more than 5,000 words, and I intend to stay there.

Stay well, stay pollen-free and bacteria-less, and I’ll see you on the next page!

The Final Week

With Thanksgiving just gone it’s only five days remaining for this year’s NaNoWriMo. I’ve just passed the 40,000-word mark and it’s been a battle to keep up with the writing. I didn’t do any writing on Black Friday, and it wasn’t because I went out shopping. I sat and watched TV most of the day and ignored my computer until 4 o’clock in the morning, when I woke up and realized I wasn’t going to fall back asleep any time soon.

I could work on my novel but instead I’ve been redecorating the blog with some holiday-themed background paper and sorting through some art supplies. I’m pretty much doing whatever I can besides working on the novel. I have 10,000 words to go and five days, so that’s not too bad. I just don’t know if my story will be resolved in anther ten thousand words, but all I can do is try. That’s what NaNoWriMo is for, right?

It Begins

november-noir
So I was talked into doing National Novel Writing Month again this year (I did 2011 and 2012). The idea was to write a noir story. I have a working title, Killing Palatino, and about 2100 words of prose that I’m really not very happy with. I think this story is going to be rough going, but I understand it’s just a draft and a lot of what is happening on the page is going to be edited within an inch of its literary life before the novel sees the light of day.

This year, instead of pantsing the whole book, I decided to write a brief outline. I had two weeks to get it done. Then one week. Then a day. Last night I sketched in a very short outline on a single-page plot sheet and decided it was enough to get moving on. Hey, I pantsed two whole books so if I have even the barest minimum of an outline to work from that should be enough, right? We’ll see.

At any rate, I’ve met the word-count goal for today and updated my word count on the official website. I think I’m going to play with cover ideas for the finished book in case that helps get my creative juices going. If that doesn’t work, I’m going to go work on my crochet project or clean the bird cage or factor quadratic equations. Because I can.