December 3 and 4 is approaching faster than you think! Come experience a really unique festival that combines Viking- and Victorian-era winter festivities – plus gentlemanly duels, kids in shield walls, and VENDORS LIKE ME!
I’ll be there signing and selling my books!
Here are the schedules for each day. I’ll see you next weekend at my booth!
Come see me and purchase my books and/or get them signed this Spring season at the following events:
Marscon 2022. Williamsburg, VA. March 18-20
I’ll be there on the Saturday, March 19, only! Be sure to come by the HCS Publishing booth to get a copy of my books or a copy of the other AMAZING books released by our publishing house. CLICK HERE for more info on the event!
Bacon’s Castle Village Faire. Surry, VA. April 30
The TAPS ghost hunters did an investigation here! If nothing else, come visit the Castle and learn about its history. It’s a really cool place where I’ve done several photo shoots for my dog, Riley. I’ll be at this event in 18th century garb (as befitting the Castle’s history and my books “Hollow Thunder” and “The Loyalty of Dew”) selling and signing all 4 of my books. My father will also be here selling his handmade wooden boxes! (Listed as Lagerstein’s Lumber.) CLICK HERE for more info on the event!
Manassas Viking Festival. Manassas, VA. May 14
IT’S BACK!!!! Come celebrate the TRIUMPHANT return of the Manassas Viking festival! I’ll be there in Viking-era garb (appropriate for CERTAIN EVENTS in my novella “First Watch”) selling and signing my books, and my father will also be there selling his handmade wooden boxes! It’s like I drag him along or something. CLICK HERE for more info on the event!
Hello, dear readers! I posted about this upcoming book festival a month or so back, but I figured I’d just throw a line out there to remind y’all and maybe catch a bite or two. I’m vending at the Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival in VA on Oct 2, 10-4! Here’s a link to their page: https://fredbookfest.com/
Please come visit and say hi and maybe buy a book or two so that my 3 hour journey at 5 AM is freaking worth it! That’s SO EARLY. If you have a book of mine already and you want me to sign it, this is a great, FREE, opportunity for that to happen!
UPDATE: I thought you guys might want to see photos of my booth, so here they are!
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!
Honestly, I know you’re more excited about the second one. 😛
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.
When I’m writing, I commonly leave myself brackets around words that I either need to go back in the typed document to fact check, or that I need to find a synonym for. In the pictured case below, it’s a fact check. I hand write my drafts and my first line of editing is when I type my written sections up, usually a chapter at a time. Do you do this? If not, it might help! For me, it gives me permission to keep writing and not stall my progress with a word check.
Okay, dear readers, guess what! Yes, that’s right, the draft for First Watch is officially in my editor’s hands/mailbox/email inbox/shared Google file/it’s getting looked at. I’ve asked for her help with identifying spots that need answers or embellishing, which for those that don’t know is called “editing for content.” Basically I’m 10k words short of my goal, which averages to about 40 pages. While I still have a chapter or two to write to wrap up this story and lead into the next, I don’t think that will take 40 pages. So I’ve enlisted my editor’s help (hopefully) with expanding the current stuff a bit.
I’m an independent or self-published author, so you may be asking: why is word count important? I saw an e-book the other day with 9 pages in it! 9!!!! Well, it’s because I still have goals or expectations for myself, and ideally I’d like First Watch to be as long as its predecessor, Civil Dusk, which was about 40k words. Right now with the indexes for First Watch I’m at about 30k words (a smidge over, but whatever, we’re estimating.) This is technically FINE for a novella….my OCD just wants the book to be about as thick as the other book. That’s all. I blame the OCD.
So, at this point that duty is in my editor’s and beta reader’s hands. I just need to draft up the last chapter (or two), craft a blurb for the back, convince my cover designer to add “Book 2 of Civil Dusk” to the design (sorry Dave!) and….that’s it? Order the test copy and then some stock and hopefully (IDEALLY) have everything done and in my hands by May 8.
Why May 8? Because (as of RIGHT NOW) that’s the date of the Manassas Viking Festival in Manassas, VA. And, as of RIGHT NOW, that festival will be happening this year. Hopefully. Knock on all the wood. First Watch features Viking history and Nordic gods pretty heavily, and I intend for it to be done in time for release at this festival.
SO! Put it on your calendar. May 8, 2021. Manassas, VA. I’ll see you there with fresh copies of First Watch and Civil Dusk, ready to be signed!
Civil Dusk is set MOSTLY on the island of Rousay in Scotland’s Orkney Islands. It goes other places too, like the underwater palace of Finfolkaheem and the vanished island of Hether Blether. This novella utilizes many of the stories which are a uniquely Orcadian blend of Norse and Celtic/Pictish folklore in a wondrous romp of magic and finding one’s self and waterhorses and selkies and witches and trows and you probably have NO CLUE what I’m talking about anymore so let me let the professionals ramp it up for you.
YEAH, THAT’S RIGHT, I HAVE A PROFESSIONAL KIRKUS REVIEW ON THIS ONE.
To quote that review directly, AHEM:
“An Orkney Islands fisherman with a hidden past encounters magic in Ordway’s fantasy novel.
This fast-moving work, shaped by Norse and Celtic mythology, opens by defining the term that gives the book its name: “The time of evening when the sun is six degrees below the horizon, when the light is still enough for you to see things…and for things to see you.” What protagonist Hugh Reid sees upends his life forever. After struggling to control his fishing boat during a storm at sea in 2018, he returns to his home on Scotland’s Orkney Islands, wondering at the unusual violence of the waves and the haunting song that he heard in the sound of the rain. But although the islands are steeped in tales of the supernatural, Hugh is impatient with people who believe in them—until he’s visited by a trow, “an ugly, stunted thing with pale, wrinkled flesh and gleaming, yellow eyes,” who guides him to a buried object of power, which the trow says he will need in a world-threatening conflict to come. Ordway cleverly draws on Orkney’s many traditional legends as she catapults Hugh into an epic adventure. The story involves a titanic struggle for dominance between the summer goddess, known as the Mither o’ the Sea, and the demonic winter spirit, Teran. A seaweed-maned water horse called a Nuggle, a goddess-channeling witch, selkies, and sorcerous Finmen make appearances, as do hidden places reached via a mysterious fog, an undersea kingdom, and a magical stone; the story also reveals the secrets of Hugh’s origins. The interplay between the various characters doesn’t always match the quality of the story; for example, the number of times that characters “smirk” becomes distracting. However, the author’s vivid depiction of otherworldly elements, the sea itself, and Hugh’s gradual acceptance of his true identity make for a rollicking read. At the conclusion, Hugh has an encounter with one-eyed Norse god Odin that teases a potential sequel.
An often clever mix of myth and legend in a contemporary setting, featuring a relatable protagonist.”
So, Civil Dusk is the story that I WANTED to write. Hollow Thunder was my proving ground to see whether I could write, get edited, and publish a novel. Box checked. The Loyalty of Dew threw a few more ideas on the tail of that and wrapped up some questions left hanging in HT. It’s the story I was obliged to write. But Civil Dusk is the one I’ve wanted to write for soooo loooong and I’m so very pleased with it. It’s about 187 pages, which means it’s about half the length of HT, which means I told the story that wanted to be told – and I told it WELL, thank you, just look at that Kirkus Review – and nothing more. No fluff in Civil Dusk. It’s Insulation Free.
I’m presently in the final stages of working on its sequel, which will be called First Watch and which should be released in Spring 2021 if everything continues going to plan. And we’re not gonna stop there. I already have ideas brewing for a third book in this series, with all the potential for more.
I’m gonna shut up now and leave you with the purchase link again, because you have reading to do!
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.
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??