Williamsburg Book Festival 2022 Appearance!

Come see me at the Williamsburg Book Festival in Williamsburg, VA on October 1! I’ll have an outdoor booth and, depending on the weather forecast, maybe a DOG WITH ME!!! Come see a dog! If I can have a dog with me, weather permitting, it will likely be Aggie The Fierce Rottweiler, the cover dog of First Watch! Maybe she’ll even paw-tograph your copy of First Watch that you buy at the Williamsburg Book Festival!?!!

No promises. Many possibilities. You’ll have to attend to find out!

2022 BOOK FESTIVAL

Spring 2022 Author Appearances!

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!

Fredericksburg Independent Book Festival! Oct 2!

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/

AND HERE IS A LINK TO THE MAP!!! https://fredbookfest.com/map/?fbclid=IwAR3-4RGlt-2Yy0o4eRaIrdSZDmJ9hSE4czU_dNUdfKXXo1jAkXSs2nsJ5zM I’m booth I2! Right in the middle of the actioooonnnn!

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!

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.

Brackets

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.

First Watch is at the editor’s!

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!

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.

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??

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.

post3