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!
So, in case you haven’t guessed already by the several book reviews I’ve posted recently in this blog, I am tackling a new writing project. In the past years I’ve really become quite practiced – and, according to my friends and some Internet strangers, quite skilled – at gardening. I’ve made some posts here and there about random strategies and tips for gardeners, but these have all been teasers really. Today – YES, TODAY! – I will start lending my voice to the first real work of nonfiction that I’ve ever written. I’m going to write a ghardening book.s
I’ve left the typos in the last bit up there because, honestly, it’s how I feel about it right now. I’m headbutting a thick wall of Imposter Syndrome. I’m, what, 35?! I’ve been gardening for….well, thanks to my mother it’s honestly been a lifelong interest, but solid actual WORK IN THE DIRT it’s been…..maybe…I want to be generous to myself and say 21 years? On my own in my own space, 8 years. And here I am, about to write a tome that will seek to not only introduce new folks to the joys of gardening and all the different things it entails, but to also change the minds of The Older Folks about certain things they Think are right and actually aren’t. Who the hell am I to do that? What the hell gives me the authority?
Short answer: the dying world and my passion for preserving it not only for future human generations but for future wild generations. There’s a saying my mother shared with me recently: “We are only borrowing this world from the next generation.” But that’s not true. We are the Stewards of this world for the next generation(s) – parenthesis because if we don’t start trying to heal the world then science says there aren’t going to be a lot more generations – AND for the other animals, insects, single- and multi-cellular organisms, plants, bacterium, etc! with which we share this ridiculous marble. We aren’t the only ones here! And we need to stop pretending that we can exist without the other ones that are here.
So I’m gonna write a gardening book. This means Nine Hundred Leagues (my third book in the Civil Dusk series) might be on hold for a little bit, but don’t worry, I am absolutely NOT dropping it forever. I’ve just got something to do first.
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!
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.
Good morning, dear readers, and welcome to a new series I’m doing that will spotlight each of my books in each entry. I realize I link them in the “BUY MY BOOKS” page on the website/blog here, but there isn’t much else about them. So maybe y’all have ignored the “BUY MY BOOKS” page, and you know what, that’s a shame because I’d like you to buy my books. I said it.
Hollow Thunder is my first published novel and it is the longest at around 80k words. This length makes it a properly novel-length work, which TO BE HONEST was one of my driving goals in writing it. I wanted to prove to myself and to the world that I could write a BOOK. And for me, that meant something at least 80k words.
With e-books and indie/self publishing becoming such a big thing these days, I daresay that “BOOKS ARE 80K WORDS AT LEAST” mindset is probably out-dated. But I don’t care. That was my goal, and I achieved it with Hollow Thunder.
I’VE NEVER TRIED TO DO THAT SINCE.
Wanna know why? Well, dear readers, it’s because in order to get that length I had to do some major fluffing in certain parts of the story that have, honestly, suffered for it.
The story focuses on a group of Revolutionaries in a world inspired by and generally like the Williamsburg area of the 18th century. Their crew includes a werewolf and a psychic, however, so some liberties have been taken. (REVOLUTION JOKE, HAHA.) Early in the story they attempt to assassinate the Governor of the Colony and are surprised to see somebody else there already taking care of the job. These insurgents frame our main characters for the murder, and from there the plot focuses on how they escape the framing (or not, in one case) and how they get revenge on the insurgents while still securing some kind of success in their original goal of taking control of the Colony.
If you want to know more, as always read the book. I’m not keen on spoiling too much. It’s an enjoyable romp with intrigue, just a little smidgen of romance, and a whole lot of cultural, storytelling, and world-building errors I’ve since become very aware of. I’m not the proudest parent of this book, I’ll be upright and honest with you. I’ve learned a lot since I wrote and published Hollow Thunder. It’s still GOOD, sure, and definitely worth a read. But “Civil Dusk” is MUCH BETTER as far as actual storytelling goes, and we’ll get to that one soon.
That said, give Hollow Thunder a look. Just don’t take it too seriously.
The cover art was done on commission for me, and is inspired by a vision the psychic character has that becomes a critical plot spur for him. The wolf is our werewolf, the lady is one of the prominent main characters, the three saplings behind them represent three of the other main characters, and the noose is a symbol of death. And that’s all I’ll give you, because anything else would be major spoilers! Look who’s holding the noose. That’s it! No more! Go read the book!!
Next up, it’s sequel “The Loyalty of Dew”, which I’ll write up next week! If you have read Hollow Thunder and you have any questions, feel free to post in the comments below and I’d be happy to reply.
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.
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.
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??