On To the Next!

I’m happy to announce that I’ve started drafting the third book in the Civil Dusk series already! In this story, tentatively called “By Appointment Only,” Hugh meets with the spirits of Skara Brae to get his dian-stane fixed. They tell him to journey to New Hampshire in the USA, where descendants of theirs journeyed and built a settlement 4000 years ago. But how will he find it in a country to which he’s never been? Perhaps a local guide can assist!

Stay tuned for a completely unique story that’s already a page-turner! And in the meantime, get your copies of Civil Dusk and First Watch; links in the Buy My Books link above!

FIRST WATCH!!!!! (DOG PIC!!!!!!!!!)

Honestly, I know you’re more excited about the second one. 😛

HEY READERS!!!!!!

First Watch is in the hands of my beta reader and my fact-checker! Editing is DONE. Cover art is DONE. Back blurb is DONE. ISBN purchase is DONE. Here’s a teaser from Chapter 1 along with the Rottie that inspired those descriptions. Stay tuned for release info!!! Can you tell I’m excited? I’M EXCITED! Every time I read back through this document it’s so DAMN GOOD.

First Watch update!

I am officially past the halfway marker in writing First Watch… I’ve got 21k words typed! My goal is around 40k like the first book in its series, Civil Dusk. Appropriately, the plot is coming to the big climax and I just drafted the big reveal. I’m so excited! Publishing goal for First Watch is Spring 2021.

Cooking up Style

Okay, we all know those ice breaker questions are stale and overdone. But I’ve come up with a new one that I reckon you, dear readers, should be able to dazzle. So: how would you describe your writing style, in terms of food prep?

Are you classic and traditional, like a steak dinner? Are you edgy and fresh, like a quinoa poke bowl with sriracha? (Foodies, is that spelled right?) Answer in the comments with description and bonus points if you put a picture with the food too! I need dinner ideas!

For me, I rather think I’m a Velveeta meal box with ground bison, served with a glass of cabernet sauvignon and followed by a cup of fresh ground coffee:

This is because my style is unassuming, yet surprisingly rustic and entertaining, made up of influences from other authors but uniquely my own. Plus, give it time and it gets poetic.

There’s an App for That!

In a previous post I’d wondered whether WordPress had an app for post creation. I didn’t look into that until about 15 minutes ago…. And guess what! They do!!

I hope this will mean that I’ll update this blog more often. No guarantee, of course. Accessibility is only one part of the cure to procrastination. 😉 Dog pic for the boost! Haha! Really, though, Aggie and Riley are just tucked in waiting for 2021.

Big ol’ rambly post

One of my favorite things about writing is that Moment when Inspiration Strikes. I’ve been struggling with a plot problem in First Watch for several months, and it’s made me NOT want to write because I knew once I reached that point I’d have NO IDEA what to do.

So I’m wicked pleased to announce that I’ve solved it and am now extremely excited to write again!

Thanks to a Facebook post by Mystic Moon, a local shop, I’ve learned that when hag stones break it’s a sign that it had saved a life. Readers of my novella Civil Dusk will know that Hugh, the main character, is bound to a dian-stane, which is really just a BIG hag stone when it all boils down. (Nonreaders can grab a copy of Civil Dusk here: buy my book on paperback or Kindle.)

Followers of my Facebook will know that the Wild Hunt features prominently in the plot of First Watch, which is the sequel to Civil Dusk that I am presently drafting and will endeavor to release sometime in 2020.

Readers of this blog will be wondering where the fuck I’m going with all these cues, and hey, guess what: that’d be telling! Unless you enjoy massive spoilers in a novella that isn’t even published yet, you’re just gonna have to wait. And if you do enjoy massive spoilers, please comment on this post and I might divulge SOME STUFF because I’m legit really excited about this.

Or you can just go explore the posts in the various things I linked above and piece it together yourself, because I’m sure I’ve leaked some critical plot stuff somewhere in there. What else have you got to do, anyway?

I guess the main reason I’m writing this post (besides to take the opportunity to toss in some shameless plugs, because OBVIOUSLY) is to define writers’ block as it affects me. When I get writers’ block, it manifests as either ZERO idea of how my plot is going to get from where it is to The End, or to the next scene, or whatever; OR it’s because I’m missing a scene idea to bridge Where We Are to The End. Basically, I don’t know where the story’s going, so I can’t write it. This problem likely arises because I don’t outline.

Why don’t I outline? Well, it’s simple: I get REALLY EXCITED about the ideas I do have, and so I just want to Get Writing those ideas. So outlining takes time, time which I could be spending Writing The Ideas, and so The Ideas get written and the outline doesn’t happen. It didn’t even get Capitalized. So my writers’ block moments are, ultimately, my own fault.

And I’m okay with that. This method of haphazard spurts gets shit done, obviously: I’ve published some books. It’s just not very efficient, and I get that, and it makes me a little unpredictable as far as release dates, and I get that too.

How does your writers’ block manifest? Is there something that triggers it? Are you dealing with it? Can you punch it in the face? DO YOU KNOW ITS NAME??

Signs You Might Be A Writer: PENS!

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1) You carry an extra pen just in case your current pen mysteriously dies.
2) You have a favorite pen and, let’s be honest, your other pens know which that is.
3) You’ve read the word “pen” too many times at this point and are wondering if it’s actually a real word.
4) You never ever lend your pens when someone asks for one, even if you currently have it in your hand and when they ask “do you have a pen I can borrow” you look them right in the eye and say “no.”
5) When you come across a nice pen in the wild (store, bank, etc) you steal it without the slightest bit of shame.
6) You own a Really Nice Pen that you intend to never ever write with, on account of how nice it is and you don’t want to spoil that by using it.
7) You’ve written with a quill just to see what it was like.
8) You’ve written with a fountain pen just to see what it was like.
9) You’ve been driven into a mad panic because you briefly misplaced your favorite pen and you’ll never write again despite the 15 extra pens you have waiting in reserve – and it’s fine because it was behind your ear or under your leg in the couch/chair the whole time, thank the Muse.
10) You’ve thrown away a pen with plenty of ink in it still because the little clip thing broke and who really has time for that in their lives.

Marscon 2020

Great Crikey’s Ghost, how could I have been so remiss!

This weekend (Jan 17-19) is Marscon in Williamsburg, VA! HCS Publishing will have a table there with SO MANY BOOKS to sell and SO MANY OF THE AUTHORS to sign them! It’s exciting! It’s thrilling! It’s the only convention I can reasonably help out with because the others are too much of an expense for me personally!

What I mean to say is: there aren’t enough exclamation marks in the WORLD to express how much you should take this last-minute news and freaking come see me at Marscon 2020! This weekend! January 17-19! In WILLIAMSBURG, VIRGINIA!

THE DETAILS: http://www.marscon.net/wp/

Inci-fucking-dentally, SCOTT LYNCH is the Writer GOH this year! Yeah, THE Scott Lynch! It’s like our little local convention is stepping into the big kids pool. So freaking proud.

Several of our HCS Publishing framily (that is NOT a typo, thansk WordPress. Crap, that one was. *Thanks WordPress) will be featured in panels! Talking about stuff! AND THINGS! And then we’ve got Valentine Wolfe doing performances! If you haven’t heard Goth chamber music, you’ve been under a fucking rock because – I mean, it’s very unique and amazing and you should hear this shit. Because it’s incredible. AND we’ve got our toes in the costume contest with one of our members judging the entries! GET THEE TO MARSCON!

ALSO HCS Publishing will be officially launching our latest short story anthology, which was filled via a competition that I got ELIMINATED from, so you know we ain’t no joke about judging! “Dark and Stormy” authors will be there, most of them for their FIRST EVER convention, and if you don’t come knowing this then you’re a freaking MONSTER.

Yeah. Let that marinate. I’ll see you this freaking weekend in Williamsburg at MARSCON 2020.

Determination

Previously, my books have taken years between them for the writing process to occur. I’d set goals and organize little trackers to, in theory, help motivate myself by seeing the progress as it happened. And, to a degree, these worked: books were written and subsequently published. I’ve got 3 out, y’know. But then I read a summary of survey results regarding Writing Habits of the People That Actually Do This For A Living (And Don’t You Want To?) (my title, not theirs) and it seems that people who make a living with their books have published over 20 titles.

As a person who works in retail, this made a lot of sense to me.

So I’ve become more determined to get the series started by “Civil Dusk”  populated as quickly as I can while still maintaining a particular sense of quality. To that end, I made a goal for myself: I’d write 1.5 pages every day until First Watch was complete. Ideally, I’d like it to be fully drafted and edited by the end of August 2020, so that I can get all the cover work and last bits done in September for publication in early October or late September.

My math is laughably WRONG in this case, but whatever, that just means First Watch will be done waaay ahead of schedule if I stick to my goal. And so far, dear readers, I’ve been tempted to stray. I finished the first chapter as scheduled, and typed it up, and then TOOK A DAY OFF FROM WRITING.

MISTAKE, dear readers, MISTAKE.

My muse shattered. I lost inspiration for a whole second day. I knew generally where chapter two was going but had no impetus to write; until my day job boss gave me the next day off on the one stipulation that I WOULD WRITE. He’s super cool. 😉 Maybe he was sick of hearing about my writing woes. Whatever.

So according to my goal I now had 4.5 pages to write to catch back up to schedule. And I DID IT. And then, the FREAKING MAGIC HAPPENED: my muse didn’t pass out! I kept going! I drafted an entire chapter in ONE FREAKING DAY! It was a first for me and my writing.

And it taught me something. I needed structure, and I needed to be determined enough to actually keep working at the writing thing until it was fluid enough to keep writing without me. (Writers know what I mean by this.) Guess what? I’ve just done TWO MORE PAGES tonight because I sat down and stared at the page and jotted notes and stupid things down until the writing started. I meant to do 1.5 pages tonight; I GOT 2 DONE.

It’s exciting. Summary, as presented by my dog Aggie: be determined enough and you can do it, even if the task at hand is fitting your 62 lb Rottie self down into a bed meant for a 20lb dog TOPS. Yeah, you know there’s a photo.

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